This afternoon three of us were having a jolly good time and a cuppa coffee at Starbucks. ET was in town together with another ‘brother’ of us. Looks like we have not seen each other for umpteen years, each of us has gone to a different war zone answering the call to arms, doing our patriotic duty and all that jazz. We did some back slapping, traded some silly jokes and laughed at everything and nothing.
These two are some corporate big wigs who always find time for me when they are in town and give me some serious freebee advice on the next step to take.
So Brother Number One asked,”Hey, A ARTHUR LAU, what are you going to write tonight?”, as he articulated with heavy emphasis on my full name. He and ET had told me to use my full name in order to be recognized fast on cyberspace. No half measures and don’t confuse people when I am known by A at one time, Arthur at another time or Lau at some other time.
I must be known as A Arthur Lau, period.
“Thinking of writing some Diamond fundamentals like the 4 Cs, just to fill out some blanks and make it complete”. I remarked casually and continued. “But that subject has been BTDed, Blogged To Death.”
“Oh yes! the 4 Cs of diamonds, Costly Crazy Carbon Crystals”.
I bolted upright and nearly spewed my latte. ET laughed. That was a real gem of a wisdom in his words. In all my years as a dealer, this was the first time I heard this phase. We hi-5ed each other and congratulated Brother Number One for his flash in the pan wit.
Now my train of thoughts sped through my scrambled brain faster than the speed of light. Writing about the 4 Cs is just too plain, nobody will give two hoots, there are tons of literature on the net by highly respected authorities on the subject matter. BTD. I have to approach it at another angle, give some of my thoughts and opinions on it and question some long held established answers.
But as I said before, I have to include some fundamentals first. So just gloss over the following or skip it if you like.
The actual 4 Cs of Diamonds are Carat, Color, Clarity & Cut as defined under the International Diamond Grading System by the Gemological Institute of America, GIA:
Read the chart below to get some idea of how big a diamond is when it is of a certain weight. A 1ct round diamond has a diameter of 6.4mm.
D E & F are defined as Colorless, G H I and J color are defined as Near Colorless, K L M are defined as Faint Yellow, N O P Q R are defined as Very Light Yellow while S to Z are defined as Light Yellow. Beyond Z color is known as Fancy Colored Diamond and is denoted by Z+.
3) Clarity is defined as the degree of blemishes or inclusions within the diamond or on its outer surface. This is based on examination of the diamond under a 10x loupe.
The GIA has 11 clarity grade. These are Fl (Flawless), IF (Internally Flawless), VVS1-VVS2 (Very Very Small Inclusions), VS1-VS2(Very Small Inclusions), SI1-SI2 (Small Inclusions), I1-I2-I3(Imperfect eye visible inclusions).
4) Cut – this is not the shape of the diamond as many people thought it to be.
Cut is what we call ‘make’ of the diamond. It defines how well and how proportionate is the cutting to bring out the fire and brilliance of a diamond. The grades are Excellent, Very Good, Good and Fair.
Objectivity & Subjectivity
One might ask the following questions to this grading system:
- 1. Carat is clear, precise and objective. The weight can be taken up to 2 decimal point of a carat and this is easily done with a precise weighing scale.
- 2. Color can be subjective as it is only a definition and not an absolute scale. So what is the main difference between a D color diamond as compared to an E color diamond. How would one put an absolute number to the definition of Near Colorless?
- 3. Clarity is also subjective as it is a description of the inclusions from within and from without the stone. What is the difference between VVS1 and VVS2?
- 4. Cut is also another description with no absolute scale. How would you separate Excellent Cut with Very Good Cut?
When you attend the Graduate Diamond course by GIA you would have been stumped at first. You would have thought that this is not a precise science, utilizing some subjective descriptions to assign a grade. But as you go along the learning curve you will then see the beauty of the system.
The International Diamond Grading System by GIA has evolved since the early 50s and it has established the stringent standards that revolutionized the whole diamond industry. It is the 100% consistency that makes the GIA Diamond Grading Report the premier and the international sole authority on grading of diamonds that are used and trusted by all the diamond dealers of the world. That is, if you send a diamond for grading at GIA, Los Angeles and to GIA New York City, the GIA Diamond Grading Report will be the same.
There is no subjectivity to it.
So if you have Cash (the 5th C) buy a diamond that is accompanied by a GIA Diamond Grading Report.
Hmm, I still like the Costly Crazy Carbon Crystals – the 4 Cs of Diamond. Thanks Din, owe you one.