Diamonds were born billions of years ago deep within the earth, and are the hardest natural substance known to man. This timeless intrigue is the metamorphosis of a plain old rock to a brilliant mesmerising gem. Diamonds are unique, and at first glance may appear to look similar to one another, but each has its own individual characteristics that determine its value and quality. There are four characteristics that determine the quality of a diamond, also known as the 4Cs, Cut, Color, Clarity, Carat.


The cut is the only diamond characteristic directly influenced by man - the other three are dictated by nature. A good round brilliant cut releases the life, fire and sparkle of a diamond through the arrangement and proportions of its facets (tiny planes that create angles to reflect light). When a diamond is cut to good proportions, light will reflect from one facet to another and disperse through the top of the stone, resulting in a display of brilliance and fire. Diamonds that are cut too deep or too shallow lose light that spills through the side or bottom. The shape of a diamond is a matter of personal taste, with the round brilliant cut the most popular of the shapes. Other shapes are the emerald cut, pear shape, marquise, princess cut, oval and heart shape.


While most diamonds appear white, many of them display hints of color barely discernible to the naked eye. The closer a diamond approaches colorless, the rarer and more valuable the stone. Diamonds with a strong pure color are extremely rare and are called 'fancies'. Amongst them can be found pink, blue, yellow, green, orange, black. color: D&E exceptional white, F&G rare white, H white, I&G slightly tinted white, K&L tinted white M to Z tinted color.


A diamond's clarity is determined by the degree to which it is free from naturally occurring inclusions, often called 'nature's fingerprints'. The number, type, color, size and position of the internal birthmarks can affect a diamond's value. However, many are invisible to the naked eye requiring magnification under a standard 10x magnification loupe before they become apparent. The fewer inclusions, the rarer the stone. Clarity: FI/IF flawless/internally flawless, VVS1- VVS2 very, very small inclusions, VS1-VS2 very small inclusions, SI1-SI2 slight inclusions, I1-I2-I3 inclusions visible to the naked eye.


The carat refers to weight and therefore the size of a diamond. One carat is divided into 100 points. Therefore, a diamond weighing 50 points is half a carat (0.50). Size is the most obvious factor in determining the value of a diamond. But two diamonds of equal size can have very different values depending on their cut, clarity and color.