|Photo: Getty Images - 101.7-carat - Worlds largest flawless diamond|
Most of us know when buying diamonds there are 4 Cs to consider and they determine the value. But do you know how the 4 Cs fall in importance? I won't keep you in suspense for long! When buying diamonds the order of importance is the following:
|Photo: Blue Nile|
2) Color - The 2nd most important C is a diamond's color ... in reality its lack of color. The less color the higher the grade and cost of a diamond.
3) Carat - The 3rd C in the hierarchy is the carat, which refers to the diamond's total weight, not it's size.
4) Clarity - Often the least important C is clarity since tiny imperfections are microscopic and can't be seen with the naked eye. Natural diamonds nearly always have flaws: blemishes (exterior) and inclusions (interior) but usually lumped together as inclusions. The number and size of inclusions will set the price as they can effect the beauty, brilliance (how well white light reflects) and fire (how well colored light reflects) of the diamond. Tiny imperfections that can only be seen by using a loupe may not effect the beauty of the diamond to the naked eye.
The value of diamonds gets complicated. Bigger diamonds are rarer in nature, therefore a 5 carat diamond will cost much more than 5 times the cost of a 1 carat diamond.
On a budget, you can get more carats for your money by choosing lower grades of color and clarity and still end up with beautiful diamonds. In order words, by being flexible with color and clarity, you can get a great effect without going broke.
Here's how I see it. Like sapphires, rubies, emeralds and other precious stones, diamonds are the work of nature over billions of years improved by the artistry of man. Although the element carbon is as common as dirt, people covet and will pay $1000s for it after heat and pressure have worked their magic by turning it into a diamond.
*Diamonds created by nature are marketed as unique; no two are alike. Lab grown diamonds can be mass produced in a factory, which lowers their price. Weather or not, it's a bad thing is debateable. Hey, I'll take an affordable lab grown 20 carat diamond. Hand it over! :)
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