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The Gemological Institute of America (GIA), an internationally recognized institution, has established a set of standards for certifying diamonds known as the 4Cs: Color – Clarity – Cut – Carat. These criteria determine stones’ quality and value. True to Van Cleef & Arpels’ tradition of excellence, the Maison applies a two-tier selection process in choosing its diamonds. All preselected stones meet the internationally recognized 4Cs of diamond quality.
This step, which consists of an objective assessment of quality, is carried out together with an in-depth visual examination by Van Cleef & Arpels’ expert gemologists. Going beyond scientific criteria in their study of diamonds, they adhere to the Maison’s demanding standards and individual taste, focusing on the stone’s beauty and character: the spiritual quality that makes a specific gem stand out among others. Van Cleef & Arpels is thus one of the few Maisons to offer diamonds of such remarkable quality, both for center and pavé stones.
The whiter the diamond, the rarer it is. Van Cleef & Arpels exclusively selects stones of the highest color grades: D (colorless +), E (colorless) and F (extra white +), on a scale from D to Z. For its center stones, the Maison only uses category D and E stones.
Clarity refers to the number, size, nature and position of inclusions (internal and external imperfections) in the stone. A diamond is considered clear if no flaw can be seen under 10x magnification. Van Cleef & Arpels’ expert gemologists only select the purest diamonds, those in categories ranging from FL (Flawless) to VVS2 (Very Very Slightly included).
The weight of a diamond is expressed using a worldwide standard unit of measure: the carat. One carat is equal to 0.20 grams. For its central stones, the Maison selects diamonds of at least 0.30 carats.
A diamond’s cut refers to its shape, proportions and facets. Of the numerous existing diamond shapes, the best known are the brilliant, oval, marquise, pear-shaped, heart-shaped, emerald, princess and cushion cuts. All cuts are carefully studied to enhance the brilliance of the stone and accentuate the way light plays off the facets. Only “excellent” and “very good” cuts are selected. The Maison’s experts strive to reveal the full sparkle and fire of the gem by focusing on symmetry, the quality of the polish and the finishes of the cut.
In addition to these criteria, Van Cleef & Arpels practices a tradition standard to the Maison: Pierres de Caractère. Thanks to more than a century of experience in the field of High Jewelry, the Maison seeks out the most beautiful diamonds, while also searching for a spiritual quality in the stones, the distinctive dimension that makes the heart beat faster. Expert gemologists thus consider the elegance of the shape, the stone's inner fire and the quality of crystallization that lends it a particular brilliance. Studying the stone repeatedly and from every angle, they understand the unique emotion it can instill.