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Facts About Diamonds and Diamond Engagement Rings
Diamonds are classified according to the four Cs - Carat, Clarity, Cut and Colour.
The carat measures the weight of the diamond, and is defined as 200 mg. Diamonds less than one carat in size are often measured in points, where 100 points=1 carat. So a 50 point diamond is the same as a half carat diamond. A one point diamond weights 2 mg.
The price per carat is not related linearly - people prefer a diamond with a complete number of carats. So all other things being equal, a 2.05 carat diamond will sell for significantly more than a 1.95 carat diamond.
"Total carat weight" describes the total weight of diamonds in a piece of jewellery containing more than one diamond.
Clarity is a measure of the number and type of flaws within a diamond, which are known as inclusions. Inclusions may be tiny cracks within the diamond or tiny foreign objects within the diamond. Clarity is measured by professionals who search for inclusions with 10 x magnification. The majority of diamonds have flaws, and only about 20% of those mined are considered sufficiently flawless to be used in jewellery - the others are used in industry (diamonds are very hard and make great cutting tools).
Many diamonds used in jewellery will have imperfections visible to the naked eye, and they will be cheaper than other diamonds where no imperfections can be seen with the naked eye.
The majority of diamonds used in jewellery are white. The most prized of the white stones are those that are pure white and completely transparent, without any other colour. However, many white diamonds have a yellow or brownish tint. White diamonds are classified on a scale from D (pure white) to Z (indicating a clearly visible yellow or brown tint).
Occasionally, diamonds are discovered in other colours including blue, pink, green, intense yellow (as opposed to a yellow hue) and red. These stones have an increased value compared to white stones, due to their rarity. They are called "fancy" by the industry.
The cut of the stone describes how skillfully it has been transformed from its rough state, and what shape it now has. Common shapes include round brilliant cut, pear, trillion, princess, heart, emerald and marquise.
The round brilliant cut was created by mathematician, Marcel Tolkowsky, who calculated that the ideal shape to scatter light when viewed from above would have 57 facets.
Those that are not cut to be round are known as "fancy cuts". Whichever cut you choose will depend on your taste and the current fashion. However, cutters are known to prefer the Princess Cut, as this cut uses the most of the original uncut stone and wastes the least.