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The 4 C’s of Diamonds

A diamond’s beauty, rarity, and its value are determined by its color, clarity, carat weight, and cut, known as the 4Cs.

·         CutQuality of the angles, proportions, facets, and finishing details.

·         Color: How colorless the diamond is. 

·         ClarityHow clean the diamond is of inclusions and blemishes.

·         Carat: The weight of the diamond.



The Last three elements are determined by nature, but it is the remarkable skills of master cutter that define the diamond’s cut. As a rule, we suggest a high-quality Cut above all else—as this greatly impacts a diamond’s beauty and brilliance—while balancing a fine line on Color and Clarity to get the best Value for our Money


Diamond Color Actually Means Lack of Color

Understanding what diamond color means helps in choosing the right diamond.

Interestingly, the diamond color evaluation is based on the absence of color. A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue, like a drop of pure water, and consequently, a higher value.

GIA’s D-to-Z diamond color-grading system measures the degree of colorlessness of diamonds where “D” refers to the highest colorless grade.  Many of these diamond color distinctions are so subtle that they are invisible to the untrained eye; however, these distinctions make a very big difference in diamond quality and price.

Hence, it is important to get a GIA expert’s opinion in evaluating the best color for your diamond engagement ring.


Diamond Clarity - Refers to the Inclusions and Blemishes present in the stone

To understand diamond clarity, we must first understand how diamonds are formed. Natural diamonds are the result of carbon exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep in the earth. This process can result in a variety of internal characteristics called ‘inclusions’ and external characteristics called ‘blemishes.’


Evaluating diamond clarity involves determining the number, size, relief, nature, and position of these characteristics, as well as how these affect the overall appearance of the stone. If we try to determine what is the best clarity for a diamond, remember that no diamond is perfectly pure, but the closer it comes to purity, the better is its clarity.

The Diamond Clarity Scale has 6 categories.

  • 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 so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterized as minor
  • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification
  • Included (I1I2, and I3) Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance


Understanding Diamond Cut

Diamonds are known for their ability to transmit light and sparkle. We often think of a diamond’s cut as shape (round, heart, oval, marquise, pear), but what diamond cut does mean how well a diamond’s facets interact with light. Precise artistry and workmanship are required to cut diamond, so its proportions, symmetry and polish deliver the magnificent return of light only possible in a diamond.

Achieving the best cut for a diamond reflects in the stone’s final beauty and value. And of all the diamond 4Cs, it is the most complex and technically difficult to analyze as it depends upon master cutter ability and experience.

·         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

The Diamond Cut Scale for standard round brilliant diamonds contains 5 grades ranging from Excellent to Poor and is the definitive scale for classifying diamond cuts.





The distance from the bottom of the girdle to the culet is the pavilion depth. A pavilion depth that is too shallow or too deep will allow light to escape from the side of the stone or leak out of the bottom. A well-cut diamond will direct more light through the crown.


Diamond Carat Weight Measures a Diamond’s Apparent Size

To put it simply, diamond carat weight measures how much a diamond weigh. 

A metric “carat” is defined as 200 milligrams. Each carat is subdivided into 100 ‘points.’ This allows very precise measurements to the hundredth decimal place. A jeweler may describe the weight of a diamond below one carat by its ‘points’ alone. For instance, the jeweler may refer to a diamond that weighs 0.25 carats as a ‘twenty-five pointer.’ Diamond weights greater than one carat are expressed in carats and decimals. A 1.08 carat stone would be described as ‘one point oh eight carats.’

All else being equal, diamond price increases with diamond carat weight because larger diamonds are rarer and more desirable. However, two diamonds of equal carat weight can have quite different values (and prices) depending on three other factors of the diamond 4Cs: Color, Clarity, and Cut.

While now you know what carat means, it is also important to remember that a diamond’s value is determined using all of the 4Cs, and not just carat weight.


The Hidden 5th C 



Remember, diamonds do not come out of the ground clean, cut and brilliant. Instead, they are cut into a specific shape by a diamond cutter from a rough diamond. Depending on the specific cut used for the diamond, between 20 and 60% of the rough stone’s original weight is removed.

 The percentage of the rough diamond that is removed can vary dramatically from one diamond shape to another. For example, the average princess cut diamond uses about 80% of the rough diamond’s carat weight. This means that only 20% of the rough stone is lost during cutting

 For a round diamond, only about 40% of the original stone is left after the cutting and polishing process is finished. As a result, about 60% of the rough diamond is removed. The material that is removed cannot be used for other diamonds, meaning it is discarded as part of the process.

 As you would expect, this has a significant effect on pricing. Because of this huge difference in the amount of rough diamond that is used for each shape, prices for different diamond shapes can vary hugely depending on what you are looking for.