The Four C’s Part 1, Cut and Color

May 21, 2015
Stewart Kuper

The Cut
In the world of music, the cut is arguably the most important part of the production process. So it is the same in the world of jewelry. The cut influences how the diamond refracts light, and therefore, it directly impacts the precious stone’s brilliance. There are more types of cuts than we have time to explain, but to give you an idea a brief list follows: rose cut, heart brilliant, king brilliant, kite brilliant, pear brilliant, princess cut, and star brilliant. There are several ways to work with gemstones, including sawing, grinding, sanding, polishing, and tumbling. Diamond cutting is a very complex process and requires the artisan to plan carefully ahead like a chess master. A good cutter is willing to sacrifice mass (carat, also one of the 4 c’s) in order to maximize brilliance. Indeed, a premium cut will refract light perfectly, whereas a shoddy cut will allow light to escape, making the diamond appear glossy.
The Gemological Institute of America (G.I.A.) has a standard for assessing the color of diamonds. At the far left of the spectrum is the ideal, colorless, brilliant diamond (D), at the far right is the sparkling yellow tinged diamond (Z). Colorless diamonds will refract light perfectly, and are completely free of impurities such as nitrogen, or boron. Indeed, nitrogen is the most common impurity found in diamond gems, and it is responsible for the yellowish tinge of impure diamonds. There is also a second category of diamonds not covered by the typical standard; colored diamonds. These diamonds are ranked in order of rarity: yellow, brown, blue, green, pink, purple, and red. Also, the elusive carbonado (black diamond) is considered amongst the rarest of gems, however it is not actually black but instead dark purple and full of other dark impurities. Assessing color is essential to properly purchasing a diamond; customers should be aware of the color scale at the very least.