The Carat Weight
The Fifth C: Diamonds of an Impeccable Character
Every Harry Winston engagement ring begins with a diamond chosen for its exceptional character and superlative quality. Each stone has been cut and polished to release all its brilliance and distinctive beauty. Only then do the designers and master craftsmen at Harry Winston’s Fifth Avenue workshop fashion a setting that will reveal each individual diamond’s heart and soul in a way that is at once contemporary, classic and elegant. “No two diamonds are alike,” Harry Winston once explained. “Each diamond has a different nature. Each diamond must be handled the way you handle a person.” Our discriminating connoisseurship of gemstones has not changed, and every engagement ring we create is one of a kind.
When purchasing a diamond, you will hear mention of the “Four Cs.” These criteria for evaluating stones – carat weight, cut, color, and clarity – offer a useful starting point. However, diamonds that seem similar when judged by these criteria alone can vary greatly in beauty. Harry Winston selects diamonds for our engagement rings according to a more complex calculus, applying a high level of gemological expertise that is detailed in a certificate from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
Carat Weight: The Point Is…
A diamond’s size is measured by weight, expressed in carats divided into points. A carat equals 100 points or 1/5 of a gram. Diamonds of higher carat weight are generally more valuable because they are found less frequently in nature. But diamonds of equal carat weight may vary greatly in value because they differ in the quality of their cut, color and clarity. Therefore weight alone is a poor guide for evaluating a diamond, since it is an intricate combination of factors that determines a diamond’s beauty and quality.
Color: The ABCS of “D, E and F”
Though diamonds are transparent, almost all diamonds display some slight hint of color. A diamond’s color is assessed against a scale from D through Z – based on a standardized color grading system that has been internationally accepted since the 1950s. In creating engagement rings, Harry Winston selects diamonds only from the top three grades (D, E, and F). These diamonds are deemed colorless and are therefore the rarest and most valuable.
In gemology, fluorescence refers to the property some diamonds have of glowing when exposed to ultraviolet light. When such diamonds are observed under incandescent or natural light, they can often have a milky appearance – even when they have good clarity. Harry Winston accepts only diamonds with zero to faint fluorescence, and carries no diamonds whose appearance in daylight is compromised by this unique property.
Clarity: To Be Perfectly Clear
Almost all diamonds have slight internal and surface characteristics, most of them too small to be seen by the unaided eye. When viewed using a magnification of 10, they can take various forms such as tiny crystals, clouds or feathers. To determine a diamond’s clarity grade, a gemologist will consider their size, location, quantity and nature.
Diamonds possessing no such characteristics are categorized as Flawless (FL) or Internally Flawless (IF). In general, the greater the imperfections are in number and size, the lower the clarity grade. Harry Winston diamonds are selected from the clarity grades of Flawless through VS2, where no inclusions are visible to the naked eye.
Cut: Why Weight Must be Sacrificed for Brilliance
The beauty of a diamond’s sparkle is the result of how well it has been cut. The aspects of cut that contribute most to a diamond’s beauty are proportion, symmetry and polish. Although nature determines the characteristics of a piece of diamond rough, the hands of the master cutter release its fire and brilliance. When a diamond is cut to exacting proportions – neither too deep nor too shallow – light will reflect inside the stone from one mirror-like facet to another and reappear to the eye in a flash of spectral colors. Harry Winston diamonds are cut and polished to maximize their beauty – even though such a strict standard requires sacrificing much more of a rough diamond’s weight.