This is a short tutorial about diamonds. I use diamonds primarily as accent stones in my jewelry designs to draw the eye to the colored stones the piece is showing, in my mind, and in my jewelry, quality comes first, and size is less important.

As you may have heard, the four "C's" of diamonds are: color (or really lack of color), clarity, carat weight, and cut. All four of these characteristics are important, a truly fine diamond has great cutting (the "make"), is nearly colorless, and shows few inclusions at 10 powers of magnification. The forth "C", carat weight, is based on how much you spend.

Clarity can range from internally flawless through very very slightly imperfect (VVS), very slightly imperfect (VS), slightly imperfect (SI), and visibly included. All inclusions are graded at the above magnification. The grades are further divided by lesser and greater as in VS1 or VS2.

The color is graded by using comparison stones under a special lamp or traditionally under north facing window light. The traces of color are usually very faint, and can be brownish, yellowish, or very rarely some other color. Diamonds with very faint body color sometimes fluoresce under lights that contain ultra violet, if this fluorescence is bluish, it can slightly improve the color.

The cutting makes a really great difference in the appearance of a diamond- both in its brilliance and in its refraction of light. A well cut stone (perhaps an "ideal cut") can look both more fiery and whiter than a lesser cut.

My advice to someone buying a diamond is this- a smaller higher quality diamond is preferable to a larger lower quality stone in the same price range. A diamond over ¾ of a carat might come with a gemological certification or "grading report". If this report is from a recognized authority such as the GIA or the European Gem Laboratory it can be a valuable asset. An insurance appraisal can be written directly from the information given in the report, without unsetting a mounted stone.

This article was written by Richard Dunstan Hamilton, Jr. <http::/>