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.
of the angles, proportions, facets, and finishing details.
colorless the diamond is.
clean the diamond is of inclusions and blemishes.
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
WHAT IS DIAMOND COLOR?
Diamond Color Actually Means Lack of Color
Understanding what diamond color means helps in choosing the
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.
WHAT IS DIAMOND CLARITY?
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
- 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
- Included (I1, I2, 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
and external white light reflected from a diamond
scattering of white light into all the colors of the rainbow
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.
PAVILION DEPTH MATTERS?
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
Diamond Carat Weight Measures a Diamond’s Apparent
To put it simply, diamond carat weight measures how much a diamond
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,
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
DIAMOND PRICING VARIES FROM SHAPE TO SHAPE
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.