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Diamonds 4C's Ultimate Guide

If you are considering buying a lab diamond, you should be well informed about the factors that determine diamond quality. Understanding the 4C’s (Cut, Colour, Clarity, and Carat) will empower your shopping experience and help you choose a diamond that is lustrous, sparkly, high quality, and affordable. Hence, we have compiled this guide to assist you.

Carat

There is a difference between Carat and Size, although people often confuse them. In diamonds, size refers to the measurement in millimetres, while carat refers to its weight in grams.

Have trouble understanding the carat unit? Here’s an example. Let’s say we have two diamonds that are each 1 carat. If the first one is cut very deep, it will look closer to a 0.80ct stone than an average 1ct one. Alternatively, if the second one is cut very shallow, its size may look closer to a 1.25ct gemstone, but its quality may suffer. In other words, in order for 1ct diamonds to look good, they also need to weigh 1ct.

Whenever diamonds are cut too deeply or too shallow, the quality is always compromised, resulting in the diamond not achieving its full brilliance and sometimes looking dark or lifeless throughout.

Clarity

The first of the 4 Cs is Clarity, which refers to the diamond’s ‘clearness’. Depending on the Clarity grade, impurities (inclusions) can be found in greater or lesser quantities.
The Clarity grades, according to GIA, are as follows:

Flawless (FL), Internally Flawless (IF)

It is the highest grade a diamond can achieve when it comes to clarity. The FL and IF classifications of diamonds are denoted by the lack of visible inclusions inside the stone even when viewed through a microscope at 10x magnification. In contrast to Flawless (FL) diamonds, Internally Flawless (IF) diamonds can have some surface marks (blemishes) under 10x magnification.

Very Very Slight Inclusions (VVS1 & VVS2)s

The next highest clarity grades are VVS1 and VVS2. The very tiny inclusions in VVS1 and VVS2 diamonds are very difficult, even to gemologists and diamond experts, to see under 10x magnification, despite being a lower tier than FL and IL. Among the inclusions that may appear in a VVS diamond are pinpricks, needles, or internal graining.

Very Slight Inclusions (VS1 & VS2)

Diamonds of the VS1 and VS2 grades are still eye-clean, even though they are lower grades than VVS1 and VVS2. Diamonds with VS1 and VS2 clarity have slightly larger inclusions compared to diamonds with VVS clarity. When viewed at 10x magnification, inclusions are still fairly difficult to spot in (VS1), but somewhat easier in (VS2). The inclusions present in VS diamonds are crystals, cavities, or clouds.

Slight Inclusions (SI1 & SI2)

The inclusions in SI1 and SI2 clarity diamonds are more prominent than those in VS and VVS clarity diamonds. When viewed at 10x magnification, these inclusions are easily visible to the trained eye. Among the inclusions that might occur in a SI diamond are chips, knots, and feathers.

Included (I1, I2 & I3)

Those with clarity grades I1-I3 fall at the bottom of the diamond clarity grading scale. Inclusions are much more pronounced and can easily be seen with the naked eye. When a diamond has large inclusions like those found in clarity I, its brilliance may be affected.

Novita’s Recommendation:

Our recommendation at Novita Diamonds is to always get the finest looking diamond for your budget. Therefore we recommend IF, VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2 and SI1 as they all have inclusions not visible to the naked eye.

Clarity

Colour

Among the 4Cs, colour is the easiest to understand. A diamond’s colour grade indicates how colourless it is. Diamonds with no colour shine brightest, allowing their brilliance to shine through. Stones that are whiter, or, to put it more precisely, clearer, are more valuable. As the colour grade decreases, hues of other colours, such as yellow and brown, become more noticeable, lowering the diamond’s value. In GIA’s system, diamonds are graded from D (colourless) through Z (light yellow or brown). As diamonds with a 1 or 2 colour grade difference may appear similar to the untrained eye, grade differences are typically separated by distinct tiers.

D,E,F (colourless)
How are D-F grade diamonds classified? They consist of the highest color grade and are also the rarest. Because D and F diamonds are colourless, they are extremely clear and bright, and they do not contain any yellow or brown tint whatsoever. D and F are categorized as colourless because when placed in a setting, both stones appear the same. In order to distinguish a D diamond from an F diamond, both stones must be loose and placed on a white background.

G,H (near colourless)
How do diamonds of G-H grade differ from diamonds of higher grades? The grades G-H are considered close to colourless and are almost as good as D and F. Even though they have a very slight tint of colour, they are not readily visible to the naked eye. If placed in a setting, they will appear white and still look colourless. The very slight tint in the stones will, however, only be visible when they are loose and compared to colourless diamonds.

I,J (very faint Colour)
Which diamonds are graded I-J? In comparison with the earlier two tiers, these stones are more common and of lower quality, having a very faint colour. Compared to diamonds in the colourless or nearly colourless categories, I-J diamonds have a more noticeable yellow, brown, or grey tint. If the diamond’s colour is lower than a J, it will have a distinctly yellow, brown, or grey tint.

A recommendation from Novita: Due to their clarity and colourlessness, D-F colour diamonds appear very similar to each other to the untrained eye; therefore, there is no compelling reason to choose a D over an E or F, outside of personal preference. When the diamond’s colour is at least F or higher, more of the budget can be allocated to getting a bigger diamond, which is more important, or a better cut.

Even though G-H colour diamonds are relatively affordable and plentiful, they are also near colourless, making them a good affordable choice and the best ‘budget’ option. Due to the considerable savings from purchasing G-H diamonds, a much larger stone is possible than it would have been with a D-F diamond.
Recommended by Novita: You can save money or get a larger stone by going for diamonds D-G in Colour.

Cut

The Cut grade is the last and most important of the 4C’s. There can be no doubt that the Cut of a diamond is of utmost importance, as it has the greatest influence on its appearance. There is a direct relationship between the Cut of diamonds and the sparkle, fire, and brilliance they exhibit. In the case of an incorrectly proportioned diamond, i.e. one that is cut too deep or too shallow, the light will leak out of the bottom of the stone. It is important for light entering a diamond to bounce back up and not leak out the bottom or sides, which would render it dull and lifeless. Diamonds that are cut properly are brilliant in appearance. The light that enters a well-cut diamond reflects off all the sides, or the diamonds’ facets, and comes straight back up, imparting in the diamond a scintillating and otherworldly appearance. In fact, the Cut is so critical to a diamond’s appearance that even a diamond of exceptional quality can seem dull and lifeless if its grade is not high enough.

Recommended by Novita: Select only diamonds with Ideal Cut or Excellent Cut.

Novita Diamonds Guidance:

If you or someone you love is looking for a lab grown diamond, we highly recommend you come into our showroom to get further guidance. Our expert gemmologists have hand-picked the showroom options in order to ensure that only the highest quality diamonds are available for you to view at your appointment and to purchase online. After our gemmologists sort through hundreds of diamonds, we only select the best diamonds in every colour and clarity category.

As shown in the image below, you can filter diamonds by their 4Cs category on our Novita website.

Select ‘AVAILABLE IN SHOWROOM’ in the tab menu and check ‘SHOWROOM’ in the column to further filter our available diamonds.

FAQ'S

• Are lab grown diamonds real?

Yes, they are real diamonds. They are created using the same chemical and physical processes that happen naturally inside the Earth but are grown in a controlled laboratory environment where a starter seed of diamond crystal gradually becomes bigger as more and more carbon atoms are deposited on it. Lab made diamonds are chemically, physically, and optically identical to natural diamonds and are scientifically proven to be real diamonds. IGI and GIA, two of the world's foremost authorities on diamonds, coloured stones, and pearls, grade man made diamonds the same way they grade mined diamonds using the same scale.

• How much can you save getting a lab diamond?

The price is significantly lower than the price of mined diamonds. The exact price difference will depend on various factors such as the size, quality, and specific type of diamond, but on average, lab created diamonds are around 75% cheaper than natural diamonds. This is because the cost of producing rough is much lower than the cost of mining and extracting rough natural diamonds from the Earth. However, the rest of the process that a rough diamond, whether from a mine or a lab, goes through to be retail ready, like cutting, polishing, certification, shipping, and insurance are all exactly the same.

• Do lab diamonds test as real diamonds?

Yes, they do. When using a diamond tester, all lab created diamonds will test as diamonds. Chemically, physically, and optically there is no difference to a natural diamonds, so they will exhibit the same properties and characteristics when tested. This includes hardness, refractive index, thermal conductivity, and other properties that are unique to diamonds, both mined and man made.

• Do lab grown diamonds have inclusions?

Yes, most lab diamonds have inclusions, just like natural diamonds. Inclusions are natural imperfections that are found within diamonds, and they can occur in both natural and lab made. Inclusions can take many different forms, such as tiny bubbles or carbon deposits that were trapped inside the diamond as it was forming. Just like natural diamonds, most diamonds created in labs have flaws, and only very few become flawless. Check our 4Cs guide to learn more about colour, clarity, cut and carat of diamonds.

• Can lab diamonds be insured?

Yes, all lab diamond rings in UK and jewellery can be insured. All lab created diamonds are considered to be real diamonds, so they can be insured just like mined diamonds. You can purchase insurance from any company that accepts jewellery insurance. Insurance policies vary but usually they cover the cost of replacing or repairing your item if it is lost, stolen, or damaged. It is important to read the terms of your insurance policy carefully to understand what is covered and what is not.

• What if the Ring doesn’t fit?

It may be that the ring is too wide or too tight. In both cases we offer you a free ring size change within the first 12 months after purchase of the ring.You can either book an appointment on site and drop off the ring and have your ring size measured by our staff, or you can let us know by phone or email and send the ring back to us.
The ring size change takes 1-2 weeks on average.

• Are labgrown diamonds certificated?

Yes, all diamonds have their own certificate. These are handed out by IGI (International Gemological Institute) or GIA (Gemological Institute of America). Two world leading companies that specialize in the certification of gemstones. IGI and GIA evaluate lab diamonds according to the same criteria as natural diamonds.The certificate number is always engraved in the corresponding diamond, which always guarantees that diamond and certificate belong together.