The 4C's of diamond quality: Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight.
Use the 4C's to choose a diamond with four simple characteristics and easy to understand guides. You can also use this interactive learning tool from the Gemological Institute of America on our website! If you have any more questions contact us or schedule a complimentary consult with our diamond specialists.
A well cut diamond will allow the reflection of light that results in the brilliance of a diamond. A Master Cutter will cut a diamond in such a way that will maximize the amount of light reflected, increasing the brilliance. Thus, the better the Cut (or make), the better the brilliance.
The best color that you can choose for a diamond is “colorless”. When a diamond is completely devoid of color, it will act as a prism which allows the maximum amount of light to pass through and create a virtual rainbow of brilliant color. Diamonds found in nature range from colorless to slightly yellow, to brown. The color grading system uses the letters in the alphabet ranging from “D” – which stands for the most colorless, therefore most valuable, all the way to “Z” which has the most color within the normal range. A diamond’s color is best determined by having a jeweler show it to you under controlled lighting and by comparing it to the Gemological Institute or America’s color scale, which is based on a set of diamonds in the known colors.
The best grade you can give a diamond is a “FL” which stands for flawless – a truly rare condition of nature. A diamond’s clarity refers to the quantity, size, type and position of natural inclusions that occur inside a diamond. The fewer and less noticeable the inclusions are, the more valuable the diamond. The most important thing to keep in mind is that while a diamond’s inclusions should not be noticeable to the naked eye, they are part of the diamond’s unique characteristics. Diamonds are inspected for flaws, or inclusions under a 10x magnification, and are graded using the guide featured above.
A diamond’s size is referred to by its carat weight. A carat is a unit of measure equal to 200 milligrams. One carat is divided into 100 points, so that a diamond of 50 points weighs 0.5 carats, and a diamond of 175 points weighs 1.75 carats. Although a large diamond is considered desirable, a true connoisseur recognizes that one must consider all of the 4 C’s – and that a smaller diamond of higher clarity and color may be more valuable than a large one of a lesser grade of clarity or color.