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Yesterday’s Blue White Diamond and Today’s Grading System

As the owner of National Estate Jewelers of East Brunswick, I believe jewelry is in my blood. My grandfather was a jeweler, my uncle was a diamond setter, and my mother and father were in the estate jewelry and antique business. Growing up, I can still hear my family discussing blue white diamonds. At that time, a blue white diamond was associated with the finest diamond money could buy; a colorless diamond, which would fluoresce blue when viewed under a fluorescent blue or black light. So, when shoppers were looking to purchase a diamond, they would often ask for a, “perfect blue white diamond”. Similarly, when selling, many referred to their stone as a, “perfect blue white diamond”.


Four Cs of Diamonds


Times have changed. Perfect blue white diamonds became meaningless. In 1953, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) created the International Grading System and the Four Cs (color, clarity, cut and carat weight) to determine the characteristics and quality of a diamond. The Four Cs of Diamonds system is used as a standard universal tool to grade a diamond - vital to buying or selling a diamond.


Diamond Color Rating, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight


Color: Diamonds are graded in color (diamond color rating) from D through Z (previously, other letters - A,B,C, as well as Arabic and Roman numbers were used, but were poorly defined). The letter D represents colorless, devoid of color and the letter Z represents yellow. It is interesting to note that Z is not the final grade, the diamond becomes fancy colored. For example, a diamond could be color graded from Fancy Light Yellow (lightest in color, least expensive), Fancy Yellow, Fancy Intense Yellow to Fancy Vivid Yellow (darkest, most expensive).


Clarity: Clarity refers to the number and location of inclusions (flaws) inside or blemishes outside the diamond (surface), which are visible to the naked eye or a 10X magnification. Inclusions can be colorless, but are more likely to be frosted or black. The grading system is as follows, beginning with: FL (Flawless), IF (Internally Flawless), VVS (Very, Very Slightly Included, ranging from VVS1 - VVS2), VS (Very Slightly Included, ranging from VS1 - VS2), SI (Slightly Included, ranging from SI1 - SI2) and Imperfect (ranging from I1 - I3). If an inclusion or blemish is visible to the naked eye, it would be graded as Imperfect. It is important to note that an inclusion may not be visible, if covered by part of a setting.


Cut: The cut of a diamond is based upon its symmetry, proportion and polish. This in turn effects its interaction with light, resulting in a diamond’s brilliance (brightness), fire (dispersion) and scintillation (light and dark patterns, sparkle in motion). Looking at the brilliance and fire of a diamond, Marcel Tolkowski, a Belgian mathematician, physicist and engineer, created calculations for a round “ideal cut” diamond in 1919. New technology continues to become available to design and grade diamond cuts.

A diamond that receives a, “Triple Excellent” is excellent in three categories: Cut, Polish (smoothness of the facets) and Symmetry (alignment and intersection of the facets). And as such, is the most expensive.


Carat Weight: How much the diamond weighs, utilizing points, carats and decimals.


Diamond Appraisal


If you are looking to buy or sell a diamond, there are numerous factors to consider. Many people come to National Estate Jewelers because of our stellar reputation. Our Team will sit down with you and not only provide a diamond appraisal, but also provide an explanation as to why a diamond receives its grading and value - reviewing the 4Cs of Diamonds.


If money is not a factor, I would advise purchasing a diamond with a D, E or F color and clarity of VVS or VS. If money is a factor, we pride ourselves on working with all budgets when suggesting the color, clarity, cut and carat weight of a diamond.


National Estate Jewelers is conveniently located at 212 NJ-18 in East Brunswick, next to the FedEx office. Stop in or call 732-257-GOLD (4653).

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