How to choose a precious diamond

The 4Cs

When purchasing a diamond, you will hear mention of the “4Cs”. This method of evaluating stones relies on four factors: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. The 4Cs offer a useful starting point. But evaluating a diamond merely by the 4Cs is like describing your beloved on the basis of height and eye color. Just because two diamonds look the same “on paper” does not mean they actually look the same.

Epiphany selects diamonds for our jewelries according to a more complex set of criteria, applying a high level of connoisseurship which cannot be translated into any gemological report.

Diamonds are not manufactures on an assembly line.
Diamonds are not interchangeable. They are unique.

Cut

For Epiphany Jewelries, the beauty of a diamond depends on how well it has been cut more than anything else. Understanding the cut of a diamond begins with the stone’s shape. However cut as a value factor that determines the beauty of a stone refers to a stone’s proportion, symmetry and polish. Although nature determines a rough diamond’s clarity, carat weight and color, the hands of master craftsmen release its fire, brilliance and scintillation. When a diamond is cut to exacting proportions – neither too deep nor too shallow – light will reflect inside the stone from one mirror-like facet to another and reappear through the top of the stone, making it seem to radiate from within.

Epiphany diamonds are cut to exacting proportions that maximize the beauty of the stone, even when such precision requires sacrificing more of a rough diamond’s weight.

Color

Diamonds are transparent, most display barely perceptible hints of color. The less color in a diamond, the more rare it is.

Diamonds are graded on color scale from D(100%) through Z(78%), based on their degree of colorlessness. Epiphany usually selects F(98%), colorless diamonds, for our jewelries. This grade is rare and, therefore, valuable.

Fancy colored diamonds are an exception and are also much sought after due to their extreme rarity – particularly yellows, pinks and blues. Their quality is judged by the intensity of their hue and unlike white diamonds, the more color, the rarer.

Clarity


Because diamonds formed deep within the earth, under extreme heat and pressure, they often contain unique birthmarks, either internal (inclusions) or external (blemishes).

Diamond clarity refers to the absence of these inclusions and blemishes. Diamonds without these birthmarks are rare, and rarity affects a diamond’s value. Diamonds are assigned a clarity grade that ranges from flawless (FL) to diamonds with obvious inclusions (I3).

Every diamond is unique. None is absolutely perfect under 10× magnification, though some come close. Known as Flawless diamonds, these are exceptionally rare. Most jewelers have never even seen one.

The Clarity Scale contains 11 grades, with most diamonds falling into the VS (very slightly included) or SI (slightly included) categories. In determining a clarity grade, the system considers the size, nature, position, color or relief, and quantity of clarity characteristics visible under 10× magnification.


Flawless (FL) - No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification

Internally Flawless (IF) - No inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification

Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) - Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10× magnification

Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) - Inclusions are clearly visible under 10× magnification but can be characterized as minor

Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) - Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader using 10× magnification

Included (I1, I2, and I3) - Inclusions are obvious under 10× magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance

Epiphany diamonds are selected from VS I or upper grade; any inclusions are clearly visible under 10× magnification or less.






Carat

Diamonds are weighed in metric carats: one carat is equal to 0.2 grams, about the same weight as a paperclip. (Don’t confuse carat with karat, as in “18K gold,” which refers to gold purity.)

Just as a dollar is divided into 100 pennies, a carat is divided into 100 points. For example, a 50-point diamond weighs 0.50 carats. But two diamonds of equal weight can have very different values depending on the other members of the Four C’s: clarity, color and cut. The majority of diamonds used in fine jewelry weigh one carat or less.

Because even a fraction of a carat can make a considerable difference in cost, precision is crucial. In the diamond industry, weight is often measured to the hundred thousandths of a carat, and rounded to a hundredth of a carat. Diamond weights greater than one carat are expressed in carats and decimals. (For instance, a 1.08 ct. stone would be described as “one point oh eight carats,” or “one oh eight.”)