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The Secret why some diamonds are cheaper than others despite the same 4Cs!

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The 4Cs are just the starting point to getting to know a diamond

Have you ever wondered why two diamonds with exactly the same 4Cs (Cut, Clarity, Color, Carat) have extremely different prices? Well, there is a critical characteristic that neither most jewelers nor your diamond certificate is telling you about diamonds, and it has an enormous impact on the brilliance, sparkle and the price of your diamond!


The secret factor that nobody is talking about

The parameter that is so imperative to the brilliance of a diamond, and is often unknown to the consumer, is called pellucidity or diaphaneity. Pellucidity refers to the degree of light that can pass through a material. 

Dictionary Meaning: Early 17th century: from Latin pellucidus, from perlucere 'shine through'.

The lesser the light that passes through a diamond, the lower its transparency and in turn lower the brilliance! Thus even though a diamond has been cut and polished to ideal proportions, it will not sparkle to the fullest because the light reflection will be impeded because of lower pellucidity. In some cases a diamond could be hazy or even be semi-transparent! This is why I do not recommend buying a diamond online because no grading report mentions pellucidity.


What impacts pellucidity?

To understand pellucidity, we need to understand diamond formation. You know that all diamonds are made up of carbon. But did you know that there is a significant difference in the “quality of crystal” of two diamonds - even if the 4Cs are the same? 

This difference is based on how the original diamond rough was formed. Diamonds are formed deep within the earth’s surface in alluvial deposits and form alongside other minerals such as quartz, corundum etc. Sometimes a diamond may start growing around a mineral or sometimes minerals grow around Diamonds, which affect the pellucidity of a diamond. Therefore, the amount of light that can transmit through a diamond is different because of the differences in the formation of the original diamond crystal. And if a diamond is not transparent enough, it cannot transmit enough light, affecting the brilliance and fire of a diamond.


Here is an example

Compare a 2 carat diamond with another 2 Ct diamond of exactly the same size, color, and clarity. Furthermore, both diamonds have “Triple Excellent” “Cut”, “Proportions” and “Symmetry”, and no “Fluorescence”. Despite all these similarities, there could still be a distinct difference in the transparency and fire of the two diamonds!  The primary reason for that difference is because the “quality of the original diamond crystal” was different for both the diamonds.  Also be aware that in many cases, the worse stone may be priced at par with the better one (to take advantage of the lack of awareness). In such a case, a buyer could either (1) negotiate a lower price for the less brilliant diamond, or (2) walk away from the diamond with lower quality material.


Isn’t it a result of Clarity and Fluorescence?

I want to point out two important caveats. 1) This haziness or cloudiness is not the same as the haziness that may come from fluorescence. The diamond may not be fluorescent and still be hazy. 2) Secondly, this haziness is also not because of the inclusions (internal features) and blemishes (external irregularities) which technically define the clarity of the diamond.


What should you do if you already have the diamond?

Clean the diamond every couple of weeks to keep oils, grime and dirt from depositing on the diamond. If the diamond is clean, it will shine to its maximum. Now that you already have the diamond, the most important thing is to enjoy the diamond as it probably has a very special meaning in your life.  And if you ever are buying a new diamond, please keep the following tips in mind.


What should you do if you are buying a new diamond?

Understanding the quality of rough and transparency will come with practice once you have looked at enough number of diamonds. It is a matter of training your eye to look for the quality of the diamond crystal along with the 4 Cs and the Cut, Proportions and Symmetry.You have to look out for such haziness not only in solitaires but also in smaller diamonds which are already set in jewelry. This is what I recommend you do when evaluating a diamond for the quality of the material when you are buying it.

1) First make sure the diamond is clean of any grime, finger prints, dirt etc. (See details at the end for cleaning with Selvyt*).

2) Make sure the stone does not have fluorescence.

3) Look with a 10x loop to ensure there is no cloudiness because of inclusions, blemishes or fractures.

4) Next compare your stone to multiple diamonds of the same color and clarity. Put them right next to each other to make sure the diamond you buy is transparent, brilliant, and not hazy.


As you are getting used to understanding the pellucidity of the diamond, make sure that you are working with a highly trusted jeweler who can guide you in the right direction: someone who extremely knowledgeable, well respected, truthful and honest.



For questions about this topic or anything else about diamonds or jewelry, please feel free to contact us by clicking here.

* You or the jeweler can clean the diamond with a lint-free cloth used to clean diamonds. The name for this cloth is Selvyt. It’s actually the name of a brand but most jewelers call the cleaning cloth Selvyt. It’s kind of like Kleenex a name interchangeably used for tissues!