A carat is the unit of measurement used to specifically describe the weight of diamonds. A carat diamond is a diamond whose weight is approximately 200 milligrams. The carat weight is divided into points, so one carat is 100 points (or 1.00). Just because a diamond is larger does not mean that it has a higher carat weight. Some diamonds are cut in a way that may hide the true weight of the diamond.
The carat is one of the 4 Cs, a global diamond language created by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), used for grading diamonds. The other Cs are cut, clarity and color. The value of a diamond is determined by the combination of these four characteristics, not solely on the carat weight alone. It is difficult to assign a value to a single carat based on weight, as the estimation could be significantly higher or lower than the actual value once all four elements are explored, but according to the GIA, larger diamonds of the same quality are worth more per carat.
Cut refers to the polish, proportions and symmetry of a diamond. Popular cuts include Round Brilliant, Oval, Marquise, Princess, Emerald, Pear Shaped, Heart Shaped, Trilliant, Radiant and Cushion. Based on cut alone, Round Brilliant cut diamonds are generally more expensive than other cuts.
Color refers to the tint that may be present in a diamond. While most diamonds have some coloring, less visible color generally means that the diamond is more valuable. Upon inspection, experts can assign a color grade to the diamond as follows: Colorless diamonds are assigned a D, E or F grade. Near colorless diamonds receive a grade of G, H, I or J. Faint yellow diamonds are assigned K, L or M. Grading of N-Z are very light yellow. Yellow diamonds are graded as Fancy. For diamond engagement rings, the less color the better, but in other cases, colored diamonds are quite valuable. Rarer colors are worth more, with red being the rarest and most valuable.
Clarity refers to the presence or visibility of inclusions, or flaws, in a diamond. Generally speaking, less inclusions in a diamond translates into a more valuable diamond. However, most diamonds have natural internal inclusions. Flawless diamonds are considered rare, and so their value is significantly higher. The grading for clarity is as follows: Flawless/IF, Very, Very Slightly Included (VVSI1 and VVSI2), Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2), Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2), and Included (I1, I2 and I3). Diamonds with an SI, VSI and VVSI grading may contain internal flaws, but they are not visible to the naked eye. Diamonds with an I grading may have visible inclusions.
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