4 C’s Of Diamond

I hope this section will give you a better idea about

The 4 C’s Of Diamond.


Two diamonds that look alike at first may, in fact, be very different. And two diamonds of equal size can be of very unequal values. To understand these differences is to understand the 4C’s of diamond:

Carat Weight ,  Color,  Clarity,  and  Cut

It is the different combinations of all these characteristics that determine the quality and value of a diamond.


A carat is the unit of measurement that the jewelry industry uses to weigh diamonds. Many times diamond weight is also stated in points.  One carat is equal to 100 points.  Therefore a .75 carat diamond is equal to 75 points.

Carat-weight is the easiest of the 4 C’s to determine. All it takes is a good scale that measures carat weight.  However, two diamonds of equal weight may have very different values, depending on the Color, Clarity, and Cut.


Diamonds are found with a range of colors. Diamond colors range from totally colorless to near colorless, and from faint yellow or brown right through to very rare colors of pinks, blues, greens, and reds.  These colors are known as “fancies”.

The best color for diamond is no color.  It is a totally colorless diamond that allows white light to pass easily through it and be dispersed as rainbows of color.

The GIA color grading scale ranges from totally colorless to light yellow. The differences between one grade and another are very subtle.  Professional appraisers purchase what’s known as “Color Masters”, which is a set of diamonds graded especially for establishing the color grade of other diamonds. Below is GIA’s color grading scale.

Colorless       Near Colorless        Faint Yellow       Very Light Yellow      Light Yellow 

  D  E  F             G  H  I  J                    K L M               N O P Q R           S T U V W X Y Z

The closer to colorless a diamond’s grade is, the more rare it is, and therefore more valuable.  The farther from colorless a diamond’s grade is, the less rare it is and consequently less valuable.

If you are buying a diamond, take into consideration that it is very difficult for the human eye to detect the difference between a colorless diamond (D-F) and a near colorless diamond (G-H), especially when it is mounted in jewelry.

Diamonds with a color grade of J and beyond usually have yellow shading that can be seen with the naked eye.  However, a well cut diamond with good proportions will still release the brilliance and fire, dispersing light in such a way that a beautiful stone is created.

Fancy color diamonds like blue, pink, green and red are not graded on the normal scale.  Fancy diamonds with high color saturation are particularly rare and like colorless diamonds carry a high price tag.

Also keep in mind that color is only one of the four criteria used to value diamonds.


To determine a diamond’s clarity, it is viewed under 10-power magnification by a gemologist’s trained eye.  Most diamonds contain very tiny natural birthmarks known as inclusions. These inclusions are identifying characteristics.

The fewer and smaller the identifying characteristics are, the less likely it is that they will interfere with the passage of light through the diamond and the more beautiful the diamond will be.  More than any other gemstone, diamonds have the capability to create the maximum amount of brilliance.

A diamond that is free of both inclusions and surface blemishes is very rare and yes, more valuable. Below is GIA’s clarity grading scale.

FL                          Flawless

IF                           Internally Flawless:   No internal flaws.  only minor surface blemishes

VVS1 – VVS2      Very, Very Slightly Included:  Inclusions are difficult for a trained professional to see with a 10-power loupe.

VS1 – VS2           Very Slightly Included:  Inclusions can be seen with a 10-power loupe, but are not visible to the naked eye.

SI1 – SI2              Slightly Included:    Inclusions are easily detected with a 10-power loupe and may be detected by the naked eye.

I1 – I3                    Included:     Inclusions easily seen by the naked eye.

A gemologist can plot the internal and external identifying characteristics of your diamond, so that you have a record of what the stone looks like.  The plot is similar to having a fingerprint of your diamond.


Mother nature determines the color and clarity of a stone.  Cut is the human contribution and it is dependent strictly on the skill of the cutter.  It is hard to imagine that such a small word has such a huge impact, but what makes a diamond stand out far and away from other gemstones is its fire and brilliance.  That’s the result of CUT.

(But let’s not confuse CUT with SHAPE.  Diamonds are cut into a number of different shapes, depending on the nature of the rough stone.  The most popular are round, marquise, emerald, pear, oval, and heart shapes.)

Now………….back to CUT.  Regardless of the shape, a well cut diamond is the work of a master diamond cutter.  Here the word CUT means the actual cutting of facets onto the diamond. When cut to good proportions, the diamond is better able to handle light, creating more scintillation, more brilliance and more fire. These words are defined at the end.  Its good you understand them.

(Let’s stop for a moment for some real basic terminology.  The top and bottom of a diamond is separated by what is known as a girdle.  Above the girdle are crown facets.  Below the girdle are pavilion facets. Ok, time to move on.)

A diamond that is cut to shallow (squatty) in relation to its width, will allow light to pass through the pavilion before it has a chance to reflect back up through the crown. Likewise, a diamond that is cut to deep (tall) in relation to the width, will allow light to pass through the opposite side of the pavilion.  Both of these diamonds will appear dull and lack brilliance.

When diamond proportions are good, light is reflected from one facet to another and then dispersed back out through the top of the stone.  That’s what makes you notice the diamond.

There are many different kinds of cuts and without going into great detail about them, let’s just say they all have the same goal……..to maximize brilliance, fire, and scintillation. These are all the things that make a particular diamond more visually desirable than another.

CUT has always been a hotly debated issue and will continue to be just that.  Each different cut has exacting standards of measurement to make a diamond come alive.  Some companies even trademark their cut and brand it with a unique name.

For years, GIA has spent a great deal of time studying CUT.  So have a lot of other folks.  They’ve used sophisticated mathematical models to determine the optimum placement of facets, angles, etc.  All this is done in an effort to better the contribution to the human element of CUT.

Well, GIA has changed their focus on the study of CUT.  GIA has gathered 45,000 human observations using 300 individuals (who mostly work in the trade) on more than 1,300 real diamonds. These human observations confirm GIA’s earlier findings that many different CUT combinations yield high brilliance and fire.

GIA researchers say human observation tests have allowed them to “bridge the gap between theoretical computer modeling and trade experience, each of which has its own strengths and weaknesses”.

GIA has deemed Cut so powerful that they have recently released new guidelines for evaluating a Diamond’s Cut Grade.

So what does all this mean to you?  Well……… when you’re looking to buy a diamond, compare several at one time under the same lighting conditions, and be sure you rock the diamond back and forth so you can see how it reacts to changes in lighting.

Lastly, remember that regardless of the name of the CUT, you’re looking for three things.

1)  Brilliance:            That’s the total amount of light returned to your eye by reflections from within the diamond and from the diamond’s surface.

2)  Fire/Dispersion:   That’s the rainbow colors of light reflected from within a diamond.

3)  Scintillation:        That’s the sparkling flashes you see when light is reflected from a diamond’s facet as the diamond, the light, or you move.

It is said that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, but when it comes to diamonds…………

……………………..I say “Beauty is what’s returned to the eye of the beholder”.

WHAT DO THE 4 C’s TRANSLATE TO ?             They translate to RARITY which translates to VALUE.


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