April Birthstone: Diamond
The birthstone for the month of April is diamond. Quite simply, diamonds are some of the most prized gemstones and represent many things to many people: love & commitment, prosperity & class, bling & flash. Anybody with the diamond as their birthstone would most likely appreciate any type of jewelry but it’s important to know how to select the right one. Mostly referred to as the “4 C’s”, here’s how diamonds are graded and rated
Cut: The cut of the diamond is simply the shape of the stone and the number and quality of the facets. The most widely used shape is the round brilliant cut which highlights the facets and cuts of the stone better than most. That’s because diamonds are cut to allow light in and then reflect outward, creating a sparkling appearance. There are many other shapes with their own unique qualities; emerald cut, princess, marquis, heart shaped, pear and even triangle shaped diamonds referred to as trillion. While round brilliant cuts are the most popular, an expert diamond cutter can use their skills to highlight the best aspects of each individual stone and mask or hide the diamonds imperfections.
Color: A better way to think of the color of a diamond may be to describe it as lack of color since diamonds should really be transparent or colorless. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the foremost authority of gemstones, uses a D-to-Z diamond color-grading system that measures the degree of colorlessness by comparing a stone under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions to determine the stones color. This is one of the most difficult things for a consumer to determine without some knowledge of what they may be looking at, but any diamond in the colorless to nearly colorless category is considered to be a more desirable stone.
Clarity: Diamonds are created after thousands of years underground, essentially from carbon. This means they often have imperfections in the stone such as carbon spots, bubbles and other imperfections that may not be visible to the naked eye, but are referred to as inclusions. Professionals will use a 10X magnification loupe and even a microscope at times to locate and plot these flaws. The GIA grades diamonds on a scale that starts at Flawless/Internally Flawless where even under a microscope, there are no visible signs of imperfections. From there, the scale moves to VVS 1 or 2 (which stands for Very Very Slight Inclusion) where under a microscope there may be slightly visible imperfections, to VS 1 or 2 (Very Slight Inclusion) where under 10X magnification, there may be some slightly visible inclusions, to SI 1, 2 or 3 (Slight Included) where under 10X there will be visible imperfections that may also be visible to the naked eye. Finally the chart goes to I 1, 2 or 3 (Included) where the imperfections are multiple and visible to the naked eye. As the chart indicates, with each step down the scale, the imperfections in the stone become more visible and the value of the diamond goes down as well.
Carat: The Carat weight of a diamond is different than the Karat or fineness of gold and represents the “size” or weight of a diamond or gemstone. While a diamond needs to be removed from its setting in order to determine its exact weight, many professionals are able to fairly accurately gauge the size of a diamond or gemstone based on the size of the stone as measured in millimeters (mm). Diamonds carat is expressed in points and carats with 100 points equaling 1 carat. So a ¼ carat diamond is actually 25 points or .25CT while a ½ carat diamond is 50 points or .50CT and so on. You may also hear the term “total carat weight” or CTTW. This involves combining the carat weight of several diamonds in one setting and totaling their individual weight. For example, a diamond wedding band with 4 stones that are each a quarter of a carat or .25CT each will add up to one carat or 1.0CTTW. Remember though, the value of one 1.0CT diamond is much more valuable than 4smaller diamonds that total 1.0CTTW.
Always remember the 4 C’s and you’ll be shining in the glow of April’s birthstone.