Diamonds have a long history of value and importance throughout the world. They were originally mined and traded in India between 3,000 and 6,000 years ago and eventually made their way to the Roman Empire and spread throughout the world. Diamonds have held different meanings and importance in different cultures through the ages. Some people believe in their healing and spiritual powers, others thought diamonds to be symbolic of royalty and wealth. Diamonds are known for their brilliant optical properties and their hardness and they have been highly valued for these reasons. In the past diamonds were identified using a scratch test. Because this testing method was destructive to the stone, today most diamonds are identified using an electronic thermal probe.The most common way to grade diamonds is with the 4 C’s, carat, cut, clarity, and color.

Carat refers to the weight of the stone not the volume and should not be confused with the karat used when grading gold.

Cut is probably the most complicated of the 4 C’s because it may refer to several different aspects including cutting style, shape, and proportions. There are two main cutting styles used. These are a step cut and a brilliant cut. There are also several different standard diamond shapes including: oval, pear, heart, emerald, round, marquise, princess, and radiant. A diamond will be shaped and cut in either a brilliant or step cut, certain shapes lend themselves more to one type of cut than the other. The proportion of the cut is also very important. In a well proportioned diamond, when light enters through the top it should bounce with in and be reflected back through the top. If the diamond is cut too deeply or shallow the light will not be reflected properly. The cut is arguably the most important aspect of the 4 C’s. If a diamond is cut poorly or improperly it will greatly reduce the stone’s value.

Clarity refers to the number and extent of the flaws in the diamond. The fewer flaws in the stone the greater its value. Clarity is general graded on the GIA grading system. ??FL= Flawless?IF= Internally Flawless?VVS1- VVS2 = Very Very Slightly Included?VS1- VS2 = Very Slightly Included?SI1-SI2-SI3 = Small Inclusions?I1-I2-I3 = Imperfect (Inclusions visible to naked eye)??There are several types of imperfections, inclusions, or blemishes typically found within diamonds.??Pinpoint: a small white dot on the diamond’s surface ?Carbons: a small black dot on the diamond’s surface?Clouds: Hazy or cloudy areas within the diamond?Crystal Growth: a small crystal cluster that has grown within the diamond?Feathers: small cracks within the diamond (large cracks may become problematic over time)

Color refers to how yellow the diamond is. Diamonds may be grading on a scale of D (colorless) to Z (yellow). Fancy diamonds are any diamond of an color, yellow, brown, or other.