5 C's

Any jewelry design is only as good as the materials that go into it. At Ragan's Jewelry, we like to summarize our process for selecting stones in terms of the “5 C’s:”

 CARAT

A diamond's weight is measured in ‘carats’.  1 ct = 200 mg.  The carat weight is not a measure of a diamond's size.  1 ct = 100 points, so a .75 carat diamond is the same as 75 points or 3/4 carat diamond.

Diamond prices increase exponentially with size because larger diamonds are more rare, so they are more valuable.  Therefore, a 1 ct diamond will cost more than twice a 1/2 carat diamond (with other variances aside).  When buying a diamond, remember that the carat weight is only one of the determining factors of price, so bigger is not necessarily better.

 CLARITY

Refers to the inclusions in a diamond.  Inclusions are natural characteristics such as minerals or fractures, that appear during the formation of diamonds.  They may look like tiny crystals, clouds or feathers.  Inclusions are usually considered if they can be viewed at 10x magnification.  Gemologists can certify a diamond to map out the placement of inclusions (along with other characteristics), which then acts as a fingerprint for the stone.

The position of inclusions can greatly affect the value of a diamond.  Some inclusions can be hidden by a mounting, thus having little effect on the beauty of a diamond.  An inclusion in the middle or top of a diamond could impact the dispersion of light, making the diamond less brilliant.  Inclusions are ranked on a scale of perfection known as the clarity scale.  The scale ranges from F (Flawless) to I (Included) and is based on the visibility of inclusions at 10X magnification.



 COLOR

Refers to the degree to which a diamond is colorless.  The more color a diamond contains, less valuable it is.  Diamonds are graded on a color scale established by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), which ranges from D (Colorless) to Z.  Icy winter whites (D-I) look stunning in white gold or platinum.  Warmer colored diamonds (J-Z) are more desirable when set in yellow gold.  Color differences can be very subtle and grading is done under controlled lighting and compared against a ‘master’ for accuracy.  This color chart is representative of the color grades of a diamond.
  • Colorless -- Near
  • Colorless -- Faint
  • Yellow -- Very Light
  • Yellow -- Light
  • Yellow -- Yellow   


 

CUT

Refers to the angles and proportions of a diamond.  The cut of a diamond refers to the exact proportions, quality of polish and the arrangement of a diamond's facets. While nature determines a diamond's clarity, carat weight and color, the hand of a master craftsman is necessary to release the diamonds’ fire and sparkle.  A diamond has facets that allow light to enter it, become refracted, and exit in a rainbow of colors.   When a diamond is cut to ideal proportions, it is carefully polished and has exact symmetry.  Light will then 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 or leak light through the side or bottom, resulting in less brilliance, fire, scintillation and value.  The cut can affect the value of a diamond by up to 35%.
       

 CONFIDENCE

Keeping up with industry jargon doesn't guarantee that you are buying a quality stone at a fair price.  When you make this kind of investment you need to make an informed decision and purchase from a jeweler you trust.  So come to Ragan's Jewelry with your diamond questions - we love to sit down and share our wisdom with you!  We build lasting relationships and you can be sure that we will be here for you down the road if you need us even after your big purchase.
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