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Melinda B Hipple
Bridal Gem Store
The FOUR C's help you choose the perfect diamond.
The first step in helping our customers choose diamonds is to clearly explain the importance of the Four C's: color, cut clarity and carat weight. We encourage questions and will be happy to discuss how much you plan to spend and what size and quality you will want.
Diamonds can cover the entire spectrum of colors. They range from having a perceptible yellow or brownish tint up to those rare diamonds described as colorless. Colorless diamonds allow the most reflection of light and are, therefore, the most desireable. Off-white diamonds absorb light, inhibiting brilliance. You can best observe diamond color by placing the stone table-side-up on a flat white surface or grading and examining it from different angles. Next, place it table-side-down with the culet facing you, and examine it through the pavilion facets.
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Properly cut guidlines are important to get the most sparkle and reflect light effectively. The diagram shows how each improperly cut stone can cause problems and appear to be flat and not sparkle as bright. The light will reflect out the side of the diamond if it is to thick or to thin. When it is cut properly, the light will go into the stone, bounce around inside the stone and reflect back at you. No matter what shape diamond you choose, a proper cut has been calculated to reflect the most light and provide the most brilliance.
Most diamonds ontain internal stress fractures and minute traces of non-crystallized carbon. These inclusions are usually not apparent to the naked eye but can be seen in loose stones under magnification. "Perfect clarity" means that no inclusions are detected when the stone is examined under a 10X lens. Inclusions absorb light, preventing it from being reflected back through the front of the stone. Their effect on the diamond's value varies with their size, number and location. An inclusion in the center, beneath the table, is more visible than one near the edge and may be mirrored by the facets, magnifying the dulling effect.
The term "carat" originates from the ancient prectice of weighing diamonds against the seeds of the carob tree. The system was eventually standardized with one carat fixed at 0.2 grams. Each carat is sub-divided into 100 points, so a quarter-carat diamond is 25 points of 0.25 carat. Although the carat is a unit of weight, not size, the carat weight of a diamond has come to refer to particular sizes. If properly cut, diamonds of the same weight should be about the same size. These sizes don't apply to other gems, however, because specific gravities vary widely among gemstones.
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