GOT Diamond QUESTIONS? Lets start with grades!

There are many factors that determine the grade of the diamond, which determines how much it is worth.

These factors are broken down into a grading system called the four c's:

 
Diamond clarity: is a quality of diamonds relating to the existence and visual appearance of internal characteristics of a diamond called inclusions, and surface defects called blemishes. Inclusions may be crystals of a foreign material or another diamond crystal, or structural imperfections such as tiny cracks that can appear whitish or cloudy. The number, size, color, relative location, orientation, and visibility of inclusions can all affect the relative clarity of a diamond. A clarity grade is assigned based on the overall appearance of the stone under ten times magnification.

Most inclusions present in gem-quality diamonds do not affect the diamonds' performance or structural integrity. However, large clouds can affect a diamond's ability to transmit and scatter light. Large cracks close to or breaking the surface may reduce a diamond's resistance to fracture.

Diamonds with higher clarity grades are more valued, with the exceedingly rare Flawless graded diamond fetching the highest price. Minor inclusions or blemishes are useful, as they can be used as unique identifying marks analogous to fingerprints. In addition, as synthetic diamond technology improves and distinguishing between natural and synthetic diamonds becomes more difficult, inclusions or blemishes can be used as proof of natural origin.


Inclusions
    Clouds
    Feathers
    Included crystals or minerals
    Knots
    Cavities
    Cleavage
    Bearding
    Internal graining
    Pinpoint
    Laser Lines

Blemishes
    Polish lines
    Grain boundaries
    Naturals
    Scratches
    Nicks
    Pits
    Chips
    Breaks

The diamond grading scale is divided into six categories and eleven grades.The clarity categories and grades are:

Flawless category (FL)
diamonds have no inclusions or blemishes visible under 10x magnification.

Internally Flawless category (IF)
diamonds have no inclusions visible under 10x magnification, only small blemishes on the diamond surface.

Very, Very Slightly Included category (VVS)
diamonds have minute inclusions that are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification.The VVS category is divided into two grades; VVS1 denotes a higher clarity grade than VVS2. Pinpoints and needles set the grade at VVS.

Very Slightly Included category (VS)
diamonds have minor inclusions that are difficult to somewhat easy for a trained grader to see when viewed under 10x magnification.

The VS category is divided into two grades; VS1 denotes a higher clarity grade than VS2. Typically the inclusions in VS diamonds are invisible without magnification, however infrequently some VS2 inclusions may still be visible. An example would be on a large emerald cut diamond which has a small inclusion under the corner of the table.

Slightly Included category (SI)
diamonds have noticeable inclusions that are easy to very easy for a trained grader to see when viewed under 10x magnification.
The SI category is divided into two grades; SI1 denotes a higher clarity grade than SI2. These may or may not be noticeable to the naked eye.

Included category (I)
diamonds have obvious inclusions that are clearly visible to a trained grader under 10x magnification. Included diamonds have inclusions that are usually visible without magnification or have inclusions that threaten the durability of the stone.
The I category is divided into three grades; I1 denotes a higher clarity grade than I2, which in turn is higher than I3. Inclusions in I1 diamonds often are seen to the unaided eye. I2 inclusions are easily seen, while I3 diamonds have large and extremely easy to see inclusions that typically impact the brilliance of the diamond, as well as having inclusions that are often likely to threaten the structure of the diamond.



Diamond Color: A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond is perfectly transparent with no hue, or color. However, in reality almost no gem-sized natural diamonds are absolutely perfect. The color of a diamond may be affected by chemical impurities and/or structural defects in the crystal lattice. Depending on the hue and intensity of a diamond's coloration, a diamond's color can either detract from or enhance its value. For example, most white diamonds are discounted in price when more yellow hue is detectable, while intense pink or blue diamonds (such as the Hope Diamond) can be dramatically more valuable. Out of all colored diamonds, red diamonds are the rarest. The Aurora Pyramid of Hope displays a spectacular array of naturally colored diamonds, including red diamonds. Diamonds occur in a variety of colors — steel gray, white, blue, yellow, orange, red, green, pink to purple, brown, and black. Colored diamonds contain interstitial impurities or structural defects that cause the coloration, whilst pure diamonds are perfectly transparent and colorless. Diamonds are scientifically classed into two main types and several subtypes, according to the nature of impurities present and how these impurities affect light absorption:

Type I diamonds have nitrogen atoms as the main impurity, commonly at a concentration of 0.1%. If the nitrogen atoms are in pairs they do not affect the diamond's color; these are Type IaA. If the nitrogen atoms are in large even-numbered aggregates they impart a yellow to brown tint (Type IaB). About 98% of gem diamonds are type Ia, and most of these are a mixture of IaA and IaB material: these diamonds belong to the Cape series, named after the diamond-rich region formerly known as Cape Province in South Africa, whose deposits are largely Type Ia. If the nitrogen atoms are dispersed throughout the crystal in isolated sites (not paired or grouped), they give the stone an intense yellow or occasionally brown tint (Type Ib); the rare canary diamonds belong to this type, which represents only 0.1% of known natural diamonds. Synthetic diamond containing nitrogen is Type Ib. Type I diamonds absorb in both the infrared and ultraviolet region, from 320 nm (3.2×10-7 m). They also have a characteristic fluorescence and visible absorption spectrum (see Optical properties of diamond).

Type II diamonds have no measurable nitrogen impurities. Type II diamonds absorb in a different region of the infrared, and transmit in the ultraviolet below 225 nm (2.25×10-7 m), unlike Type I diamonds. They also have differing fluorescence characteristics, but no discernible visible absorption spectrum. Type IIa diamond can be colored pink, red, or brown due to structural anomalies[4] arising through plastic deformation during crystal growth—these diamonds are rare (1.8% of gem diamonds), but constitute a large percentage of Australian production. Type IIb diamonds, which account for 0.1% of gem diamonds, are usually light blue due to scattered boron within the crystal matrix; these diamonds are also semiconductors, unlike other diamond types (see Electrical properties of diamond). However, a blue-grey color may also occur in Type Ia diamonds and be unrelated to boron.[5] Also not restricted to type are green diamonds, whose color is derived from exposure to varying quantities of radiation.

Grading white diamonds

The majority of diamonds that are mined are in a range of pale yellow or brown color that is termed the normal color range. Diamonds that are of intense yellow or brown, or any other color are called fancy color diamonds. Diamonds that are of the very highest purity are totally colorless, and appear a bright white. The degree to which diamonds exhibit body color is one of the four value factors by which diamonds are assessed.

Grading the normal color range

Refers to a grading scale for diamonds in the normal color range used by internationally recognized laboratories (GIA & IGI for example). The scale ranges from D which is totally colorless to Z which is a pale yellow or brown color. Brown diamonds darker than K color are usually described using their letter grade, and a descriptive phrase, for example M Faint Brown. Diamonds with more depth of color than Z color fall into the fancy color diamond range.

Value of colored diamonds
   
Diamonds that enter the Gemological Institute of America's scale are valued according to their clarity and color. For example, a "D" or "E" rated diamond (both grades are considered colorless) is much more valuable than an "R" or "Y" rated diamond (light yellow or brown). This is due to two effects: high-color diamonds are rarer, limiting supply; and the bright white appearance of high-color diamonds is more desired by consumers, increasing demand. Poor color is usually not enough to eliminate the use of diamond as a gemstone: If other gemological characteristics of a stone are good, a low-color diamond can remain more valuable as a gem diamond than an industrial-use diamond, and can see use in diamond jewelry.

Fancy diamonds are valued using different criteria than those used for regular diamonds. When the color is rare, the more intensely colored a diamond is, the more valuable it becomes. Another factor that affects the value of Fancy-Colored diamonds is fashion trends. For example, pink diamonds fetched higher prices after Jennifer Lopez received a pink diamond engagement ring. Extremely low grade quality has not stopped creative merchants, such as Le Vian, from marketing Dark Brown diamonds as so-called "Chocolate Diamonds".

Fancy-colored diamonds such as the deep blue Hope Diamond are among the most valuable and sought-after diamonds in the world. In 2009 a 7-carat (1.4 g) blue diamond fetched the highest price per carat ever paid for a diamond when it was sold at auction for 10.5 million Swiss francs (US$9.5 million at the time) which is in excess of US$1.3 million per carat



Diamond Cut: Diamond cut is a style or design guide used when shaping a diamond for polishing such as the brilliant cut. Cut does not refer to shape (pear, oval), but the symmetry, proportioning and polish of a diamond. The cut of a diamond greatly impacts a diamond's brilliance; this means if it is cut poorly, it will be less luminous.

The most popular of diamond cuts is the modern round brilliant, whose facet arrangements and proportions have been perfected by both mathematical and empirical analysis. Also popular are the fancy cuts, which come in a variety of shapes—many of which were derived from the round brilliant. A diamond's cut is evaluated by trained graders, with higher grades given to stones whose symmetry and proportions most closely match the particular "ideal" used as a benchmark. The strictest standards are applied to the round brilliant; although its facet count is invariable, its proportions are not. Different countries base their cut grading on different ideals: one may speak of the American Standard or the Scandinavian Standard (Scan. D.N.), to give but two examples.

Diamond Carat:The carat is a unit of mass equal to 200 mg (0.2 g; 0.007055 oz) and is used for measuring gemstones and pearls. The current definition, sometimes known as the metric carat, was adopted in 1907 at the Fourth General Conference on Weights and Measures, and soon afterward in many countries around the world.The carat is divisible into one hundred points of two milligrams each. Other subdivisions, and slightly different mass values, have been used in the past in different locations.


  • Q:Does my diamond have to be a certain size in order to sell it?

    A:No. Unlike most diamond buyers and pawn shops, Phoenix diamond buyers buy diamonds of all sizes, shapes, cut, or clarity. Although diamonds are usually paid by the carat, or size, a larger diamond would be worth significantly more than a smaller one.
  • Q:How is the price determined for my diamond?

    A:When buying a diamond, several factors are taken into consideration. These factors are grouped into something called the four C's; carat, color, cut, and clarity. These characteristics of the diamond are graded on scale. Usually, the scale used to grade is set by GIA (Gemology Institute of America). GIA holds the best reputation for being the most accurate in grading diamonds. A reputable gold buyer will be educated, and even certified by GIA to appraise your diamond while taking these factors into consideration.
  • Q:If my diamond has paperwork, should I bring it with me?

    A:Yes. It is always a good idea to bring any paperwork that you have for diamond with you when you sell. Not only will the paperwork give the buyer a better idea of the general quality of the diamond, papers could provide a starting point for what the diamond might be worth. Keep in mind that often paperwork appraisals are for insurance purposes, and therefore have an extremely high market value markup. This means that in raw material, your diamond could be worth less than the number written down. This also occurs because of high rate jewelry stores inflate the cost of their diamonds. Sometimes, the markup from jewelry stores can be up to 500-600%. For this reason, it is always a good idea to go to a diamond buyer that is certified with the BBB and has a history of honest business practices. As far as the actual information about the diamond, most diamond buyers will take that at face value. The only paperwork that can be fairly reliable is issued by GIA(Gemology Institute of America).
  • Q: What is the difference between a Moissanite and a diamond?

    Moissanite originally referred to a rare mineral discovered by Henri Moissan having a chemical formula SiC and various crystalline polymorphs. The crystalline structure is held together with strong covalent bonding similar to diamonds that allows moissanite to withstand high pressures up to 52.1 gigapascals.Colours vary widely and are graded in the I-J-K range on the diamond color grading scale.Moissanite was introduced to the jewelry market in 1998.It is regarded as a diamond simulant, with some optical properties exceeding those of diamond. Its lower price - and to a lesser extent its ethical production - makes it a popular alternative to diamonds. Due in part to the similar thermal conductivity between moissanite and diamond, it is a popular target for scams; however, an electrical conductivity test (with a check for birefringence) should alert any buyer to fraud. On the Mohs scale it is a 9.5, with a diamond being a 10. Because of its hardness, it can be used in high-pressure experiments, as a replacement for diamond (see diamond anvil cell). Since large diamonds are usually too expensive to be used as anvils, synthetic moissanite is more often used in large-volume experiments. Synthetic moissanite is also interesting for electronic and thermal applications because its thermal conductivity is similar to that of diamonds.
  • Q: Can I expect to get anywhere near what I originally paid for my diamond?

    A: This depends on the carat size, cut, clarity, and the color of the diamond. Most stones are graded on a nationaly recognized scale set by the Gemology Institute of America. Unfortunately, many jewelry stores mark their diamonds up 500-600%. However, a licensed and certified diamond buyer will be educated enough to take all the factors a diamond carries into consideration. It is important to find a diamond buyer that has a solid reputation of paying fair market values. Feel free to ask questions about the price you are given and about the quality of your diamond.
  • Q:What if my jewelry is broken or missing stones?

    A:Your jewelry is still worth money even when broken or damaged. This type of jewelry is referred to as scrap gold and is usually used for melting down into bricks by a gold refiner. It is a good idea to separate your scrap gold into karats before selling your gold so that you know exactly what you have.

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