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Why the 4Cs Don't Tell the Whole Story

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

When thinking about buying an old mine or old European-cut diamond, consider that each diamond is uniquely individual. Hand-cut and crafted, like a sculpture cut from a single piece of marble, the cutter started with a rough stone and cleaved at the right angles to achieve an individual diamond, unlike any other.

Diamond Clarity Chart from the GIA

Today, when buying a diamond we first learn of the Four Cs: Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat. Next we often hear and learn about diamond certificates. At Erstwhile, we primarily use two labs, EGL and the GIA.  However, while we certify diamonds today, what a true connoisseur knows is that the original diamond cutter of these diamonds was not cutting only to achieve a good lab report, but rather truly aiming for a diamond of beauty, whether that meant leaving an inclusion or creating a facet angle a little deeper.

Diamond Clarity Chart from the GIA

In fact, the Gemological Institute of America, founded in 1931, did not introduce the Four Cs until 1953 and then 2 years later, issued the first diamond grading reports. These reports continue to serve the buyer well, however with old hand-cut diamonds, they do not always explain all.

Diamond Color Scale from the GIA

The old-cut diamonds show the hand and eye that created the beautiful cut. These cutters, worked to create a magnificent diamond from each piece of rough. Sometimes that would yield a diamond with a slightly softer hue (H, I, or J color), but bright and free of inclusions. At other times it might yield a diamond of clear white color, “colorless” (D, E, or F), but with a small inclusion here or there (SI clarity).  Neither of these are better. We at Erstwhile like to think of looking at diamonds in the same manner that we like to taste fine wines. What is my personal taste? Do I like it fruity, oaky, mellow, or bold? Each Erstwhile ring is set with a unique diamond ready for you to discover.

Diamond Color Scale from the GIA

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and we are here to help.

Diamond clarity and color scales from the GIA.

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