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Beyond the 4Cs, Other Important factors that impact the beauty of your diamond

August 22nd, 2020

Beyond the 4Cs, Other Important factors that impact the beauty of your diamond


A diamond’s transparency is a critical factor to its luster, the sharpness of its reflecting of light, and its overall brilliance. However, it’s one of the least understood diamond quality characteristics due to largely not being addressed on gemological reports. There is no Transparency grade.

Beyond the 4Cs

A diamond’s brilliance and beauty are directly related to its transparency.A diamond’s transparency can be affected by fluorescence, inclusions, irregular and distorted crystal growth, or, most commonly, clouds (a cloud is a group of minute inclusions invisible to 10x magnification). Two diamonds with identical grading reports can have dramatically differentvariable levels of transparency and will therefore be valued quite differently. A diamond with poor transparency will look extremely milky or hazy and lack the crisp sharpness that is the Aucoin Hart diamond standard.

Optical Purity and Graining

Optical purity is a term you need to know. The term is used to describe the graining of a diamond crystal, which often invisible to the naked eye, determines how much light and color goes into and how much comes out of a diamond. Think of it like the blinds on your window and how the light coming in and going out is determined by how open or closed they are. That determines how much light comes into the room and that determines what you can see.

Diamond is essentially carbon:

Allotropes of Carbon

A consistent growth pattern in the crystal lattice structure of a diamond as it is forming, leads to a high degree of optical purity. However the more distortion, or disruption in the growth pattern, the less optically pure the diamond will be, as the impurities form ’layers? (or streaks) in appearance:

30+ ct pear shape and 18 ct oval diamonds

A diamond’s crystal structure is determined by how perfectly or imperfectly the graining in the diamond formed during its growth, less than 1% of diamonds are considered optically pure. Depending on the direction of the graining inside the diamond it will either reduce or amplify the light going in and coming out. ? Yet, this is not found on a diamond report. And we know that light is made up of colors, we call the colors in a diamond, ’fire? Diamonds with a high degree of optical purity are diamonds that are brighter and more beautiful ? because they absorb more light and return more light and color refract the colors of the spectrum in a sharper display.

Below, see a Round .91 carat F color, I1 clarity diamond that we own with a high level of optical purity versus a Round 1.50 F color, VVS2 clarity diamond that has a subpart level of transparency:

Round .91 carat F color, I1 clarity diamond

Round 1.50 F color, VVS2 clarity diamond

The sharpness (or lack thereof) of the reflecting facets is better seen from an angle:

Round .91 carat F color, I1 clarity diamond

Round 1.50 F color, VVS2 clarity diamond

Notice in the first diamond that the dark reflections are very dark, and the bright areas are very, very bright. This is a wonderful display of what is called positive contrast, and this is one of the most eye-catching effects a diamond can have to the observer’s eye. You can be assured that this kind of diamond will receive constant compliments!

Now here’s an interesting fact, the 1% of diamonds that are optically pure, and perform the best, cost no more than diamonds that aren’t as optically pure. That’s because the industry sets the price of diamonds based solely on the 4Cs. Optical purity is a gemological fact, but it is not found on any lab report. That means you can pay the same, or more, for a diamond with graining that obscures the light and colors regardless of its 4C’s. Only an educated diamond buyer knows what he or she is looking for ? and when they buy diamonds, they go beyond the 4C’s to find the brightest and most colorful. It’s the optical purity of a diamond, that turns its brightness and beauty up or down. If it’s optically pure it can make a diamond with lower 4C’s look better than a diamond with a higher 4C’s.

Hue & Tone

When most people think of a diamond’s color, they think of the color grade as assigned by GIA. However, there is a different type of color that must be considered when buying a diamond. This is a diamond’s hue. Think of hue as the exact color of something ? you can say grass is green, but what shade of green. As such, not all color grades are equal. Some common hues that negatively affect a diamond’s beauty are brown, grey, green, and off-white.

Pleasant yellowish hue in 2 ct. L color:

Pleasant yellowish hue in 2 ct. L color

Greenish brown hue in 2 ct. L color:

Greenish brown hue in 2 ct. L color

Diamonds with undesirable hues will appear dull and less lively. Since GIA does not make any special distinction between hues in color grades higher than K, their effect on a diamond’s beauty can only be confirmed by visually inspecting a diamond. In fancy color diamonds … Tone is also important, again one can say that the sky is blue ? but is it a light blue or dark blue. The intensity of the color (light and dark intensity) is important if one is shopping for fancy color diamonds.

Dark Inclusions vs. White Inclusions.

Even in higher VS clarities, dark inclusions can contrast against a colorless diamond and distract the eye. Therefore, diamonds with dark or black inclusions are rejected from any Aucoin Hart selection if they are centrally located or visibly noticeable to the unaided eye. As a GIA Grading Report will not note the color of a diamond’s inclusion, a diamond buyer should visually inspect each diamond in person before purchasing.

Aucoin Hart’s careful inclusion selections routinely make our diamonds with lower clarity grades more beautiful than other diamonds of a higher grade. As an example: If a VS2 diamond has a dark center inclusion and an SI2 diamond is a scattered white inclusion off to the side, the SI2 diamond will be visually more appealing and, best of all, cost less.

Real is Rare

Finally, a word about synthetic/grown diamonds relative to natural rare diamonds. Real is rare, and as such, real diamonds tend to increase in value and are readily distinguishable vs. synthetic diamonds.

Recent studies have indicated that lab grown diamonds can actually change color when exposed to normal conditions such as exposure to sunlight or being in a night club! Lab grown diamonds are not the same as natural diamonds!

Lab warns of color Instability in CVD lab grown diamonds

Aucoin Hart only sells natural diamonds ? never selling synthetic or lab grown substitutes. We believe in the beauty and rarity that only nature God creates. produces

We believe in honest and ethical sourcing. Synthetic or lab grown diamonds are not eco-friendly, the average carbon emission/footprint of a synthetic lab grown diamond is 3x that of a natural diamond. Moreover, Synthetic or lab grown Lab grown diamonds have decreased in value by as much as 90% in the past ten years. A high-quality real natural diamond will hold its market value over time much better than a lab grown diamond. Diamond mines are closing at a rapid rate; the world’s largest diamond mine is closing in 2020 ( Bloomberg), and DeBeers, once having a monopoly in the diamond trade, is increasingly looking to diversity. Contrastingly, China has plans to dominate the lab grown market and make synthetic diamonds as ubiquitous as synthetic rubies and sapphires (who have a value of a few dollars per carat), boasting that one factory can produce 1 million carats per year. has historically shown strong growth in market pricing over time vs synthetic, mass produced diamond substitutes which have tended to dramatically decrease in price Real is rare. Aucoin Hart sells only the finest, rare natural diamonds ? all of which are ethically sourced.

Aucoin Hart Jewelers on Metairie Road…..Beautiful in more ways than one.