The way a diamond sparkles in the light is called its brilliance and fire. These are not subjective terms, but can be scientifically defined. Suppose the same amount of light should fall on a pile of black carbon powder as on a cut diamond. Both are formed from the same chemical, but clearly they will handle that light in different ways.

The ray then emerges from the top of the diamond where, once again, it is bent or refracted and is separated into the colours of the spectrum. It is this dispersion that gives the diamond its fire. For centuries, men and women have found that the sparkle and brilliance of a quality diamond expresses their deepest emotions and symbolizes their enduring love

How A Diamond Handles Light

Most of the light that falls on the powder is absorbed, which is why it appears black. But when light strikes a diamond, part of the ray is reflected from the surface; this is called external reflection. The other part of the ray enters the diamond and, as it does so, it bends due to the greater optical density of a diamond; this is called refraction. Internal reflection is the light that is being reflected from the internal surfaces of the diamond.

How Diamonds Are Valued

While all diamonds are precious, those possessing the best combination of cut, clarity, carat weight and colour (the 4Cs) are the earth’s rarest, the most valuable, and the most beautiful to the eye. The combination of the 4Cs determines the quality and value of a diamond and explains why some are rarer – and therefore more valuable – than others. Strive for a stone that offers the best combination of the 4Cs.

The better any diamond scores on each of these four characteristics, the more valuable it will be. Ultimately you will discover the unique combination of the 4Cs that makes a particular diamond the right choice for you.


The better the cut on a diamond, the more brilliant the diamond will be. A well cut diamond, regardless of its shape, scintillates with fire and light thus offering the greatest brilliance and value.

While nature determines a diamond’s clarity, carat weight and colour  the hand of a master craftsman is necessary to release its fire, sparkle and beauty. When a diamond is cut to ideal proportions, light will reflect from one mirror-like facet to another and disperse through the top of the stone, resulting in the maximum display of brilliance and fire.

Diamonds that are cut too deep or too shallow lose light through the sides or bottom. As a result, poorly cut stones will be less brilliant and therefore less beautiful – and certainly less valuable – than well cut diamonds. The better the quality of the cut, the better the gem will create brilliance and fire.

Not only is there the quality of the cut to think about, but there are many different types of cuts to consider. Since lasers are now being used to cut diamonds, all kinds of shapes are being made; still, the most popular cut is the Round Brilliant Cut.


The more colourless the diamond, the more rare it becomes. Diamonds are graded by colour, starting at D and moving through the alphabet to Z. While most diamonds appear white, virtually all display barely perceptible tints of colour. Since these differences in colour are very slight it can be difficult for the untrained eye to see the colour changes from one diamond to the next.

Diamonds graded D, E, and F are more expensive because they are rarer. However, well-cut diamonds with a good clarity in any colour grade can be equally dazzling, as it is the interplay of the 4Cs that determines each diamond’s unique beauty.

Natural fancy coloured diamonds command even higher prices since these diamonds are exceptionally rare. Red, Blue, Canary Yellow, and Pink are just a few of the colours that diamonds can naturally occur in. Today some diamond companies will heat treat or radiate their diamonds to bring out a variety of colours. And most recently they have been able to man-make diamonds in virtually any colour of the rainbow. When buying a fancy coloured diamond, make sure that you have all the facts about the diamond of interest since natural coloured diamonds, heat treated coloured diamonds, and synthetic coloured diamonds and be extremely difficult to distinguish.


The greater a diamond’s clarity, the more brilliant, valuable, and rare it becomes. Virtually all natural diamonds contain identifying characteristics, yet many are invisible to the naked eye. Under the microscope, natural phenomena – called inclusions – may be seen. These are nature’s birthmarks, and they may look like tiny crystals, clouds or feathers.

Diamonds categorized as internally flawless reveal no such inclusions. Diamonds with very, very small inclusions are graded as VVSI or VVS2; the larger the inclusion, the lower the grade, and the less rare the diamond.

The number, colour, type, size, and position of surface and internal inclusions affect a diamond’s value. Major inclusions can interfere with the path of light that travels through a diamond, diminishing its brilliance and sparkle and therefore its value. Larger inclusions and also effect the structural integrity of the diamond making it more prone to chipping or splitting.

Carat Weight

Larger diamonds are found relatively infrequently in nature, which makes them rare. However, a large diamond is not necessarily a better or more valuable diamond. In fact, a smaller diamond may actually be more valuable than one with a greater carat weight if its cut, colour, and clarity are superior to that of the larger diamond. A diamond’s weight is the simplest of its characteristics to measure.

The carat is a unit of weight which derives from the carob seed. The pods of the carob, or locus tree, contain tiny seeds which are remarkably consistent in weight. These seeds were used by early gem traders to weigh their diamonds. Today one carat weighs exactly 1/5 of a gram and each carat is divided into 100 points. For example, a quarter of a carat is 25 points, written as 0.25; a half a carat is 50 points, written as 0.50, and so on. Once a diamond is in its setting, it is only possible to estimate its weight by using special gauges and formulae.

While larger diamonds are highly prized, diamonds of equal size may vary widely in value and brilliance, depending on their qualities of clarity, cut and color.

The 5th C Confidence

While all diamonds are beautiful, only by comparing gems will you be able to appreciate what makes one more rare and valuable than another. When you view stones side by side, you’ll understand why diamonds that look similar at a casual glance are priced differently. Keep in mind that there are no bargain diamonds. There are only diamonds of different value, weight and brilliance.

When you understand why some diamonds are rarer than others, you can make an informed decision. Choose a beautiful stone that combines the qualities of the 4Cs you most value. We believe an informed and educated buyer is a more satisfied customer.


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