John Atencio Diamonds
Listen to our podcast episode: The Ins and Outs of Natural Diamonds.
Diamonds sourced by John Atencio reflect a commitment to excellence and integrity. His reputation reflects 44 years of building long-standing relationships with miners, cutters and diamond suppliers – while maintaining a steadfast dedication to ethical and sustainable diamond sourcing. This commitment gives the John Atencio customer the confidence that the diamond they buy will be free from the taint of war or human suffering.
As with any diamond, the 4C’s – Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat weight play an integral part in gauging value and rarity. At John Atencio, our Diamond Experts work to insure that our customer’s requirements in terms of size, clarity, cut and color are met while maintaining the highest standards.
THE 4 C’s
Since every diamond is unique, each has certain distinguishing characteristics. The 4Cs are a globally accepted standard for assessing the quality of a diamond.
The most important of the 4Cs is Diamond Cut. The cut of a diamond determines the symmetry, proportion and polish of the stone and ultimately indicates how well the diamond’s facets interact with light for maximum sparkle. If a diamond is poorly cut, it will appear dull, even with a high clarity and color. More than any other factor, the Cut determines the beauty of the stone.
The diamond cut takes into account the design and craftsmanship of the diamond, including its weight relative to the diameter, girdle thickness, the symmetry of its facets, and the quality of the polish on those facets.
Precise artistry and workmanship of the cutter is required to fashion a stone so it delivers a magnificent return of light. The visual effects that are considered desirable include the following:
Brightness: Internal and external white light reflected from a diamond
Fire: The scattering of white light into all the colors of the rainbow
Scintillation: The amount of sparkle a diamond produces, and the pattern of light and dark areas caused by reflections within the diamond.
Diamond Clarity refers to the absence of inclusions and blemishes. It is a measure of the purity and rarity of a stone, as graded under a 10x magnification. A stone is considered flawless, if under magnification it shows no inclusions (internal flaws) and no blemishes (external imperfections).
To fully understand diamond clarity, you need to understand how natural (mined) diamonds are created. Natural diamonds are the result of carbon exposed to extreme heat and pressure deep in the earth. This process naturally results in a variety of internal and external imperfections.
Beyond flawless diamonds, evaluating diamond clarity involves determining the number, size and position of these characteristics, as well as the overall appearance of the stone. The closer a diamond comes to purity, the better its clarify.
Many inclusions are too tiny to be seen with the naked eye and need to be examined by an expert under 10x magnification. To the naked eye, a VS1 and an S12 diamond may look exactly the same, but these diamonds are quite different in terms of overall quality. This is why expert and accurate assessment of diamond clarity by a John Atencio consultant is extremely important.
The Diamond Clarity Chart has 6 categories. Some are divided for a total of 11 specific grades.
Flawless (FL) No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10X magnification
Internally Flawless (IF) No inclusions visible under 10X magnification
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) Inclusions are observed under 10X magnification and are characterized as minor.
Slightly Included (S11 and S12) Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification.
Included (I1, I2, and I3) Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification and may be visible to the naked eye.
A Diamond’s carat weight measures how much a diamond weighs.
A metric ‘carat’ is defined as 200 milligrams. Each carat is divided into 100 ‘points’. This allows very precise measurements to the hundredth decimal place.
The carat weight of a diamond can appear differently based on the shape of the diamond – such as round brilliant, pear, oval, cushion, marquise, emerald or radiant. It is important to note that carat weight does not necessarily correlate with size. Two diamonds might have the same carat weight but appear quite different due to its proportions.
Everything else being equal, the diamond price increases with the carat weight because larger diamonds are rarer and generally more desirable. Importantly, the other factors of Color, Clarity and Cut also have an impact on value.
Diamond color means the absence of color and refers to the natural tint of a diamond. The closer to being truly ‘colorless’ – the rarer it is. From colorless, it moves to warm whites with hints of yellow. After which they become Fancy colors. Many diamond color distinctions are so subtle that they are invisible to the untrained eye. However, color distinctions make a big difference in diamond quality and price.
The industry standard is to evaluate each stone against a master color set and assign a letter to the color from D to Z. Diamonds are graded on a scale of 22 shades from ice White D (colorless) to warmer Z (yellow). The GIA established the following grading system: