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The 4C’s Of A Diamond


Many people think of diamonds as being colorless. In reality, truly colorless diamonds are quite rare.

Most diamonds used in jewelry are nearly colorless with hints of yellow or brown (mostly light yellow).

The whiter the color of the diamond the more exceptional the stone. A diamond is graded to determine its relative absence of color based on the GIA color scale which extends from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown).


GIA assigns a color grade by comparing each diamond to a master set in a highly controlled lighting and viewing environment.

Diamonds come in many colors other than yellow and brown… such as pink, blue, red, purple and green. When it comes to purchasing “colored” diamonds… the more color the diamond has… the higher its value. Colored diamonds have their own color scale.

The scale ranges from a grade called “fancy vivid” down to a grade that’s labeled “faint.” Size makes a big difference in a diamond’s color.

The bigger the diamond… the more obvious its color. Sometimes a subtle difference in color can result in a dramatic change in a diamond’s price.

Because D-grade and E-grade diamonds are hard to find (they are very rare and very expensive) I advise you to choose from diamonds that are rated F – H. They are still white in color and high in value.




Diamonds have internal features called “inclusions”, and surface irregularities called “blemishes”. Together they are called clarity characteristics.

The purity of a diamond depends on the number of inclusions, their size and their position within a diamond.

Inclusions can have a negative influence on a diamond’s value; however, they can have a positive effect as well. Such as, they help separate natural diamonds from synthetics and simulants, and they help identify individual stones. Inclusions are natural imperfections in a diamond that can affect its quality and value. They are the diamond’s fingerprint.

It is very hard to find a diamond that lacks any of these characteristics.

The GIA clarity scale includes eleven clarity grades ranging from Flawless to I3.


Try to avoid “I” quality diamonds and instead choose a diamond that falls anywhere between VS1 (Very slightly included) and SI (slightly included). Because most inclusions are microscopic, they affect cost more than they affect appearance. This is what the majority of all the big-name jewelers sell. The bottom line is, you need to ask yourself, “What kind of diamond clarity will I be able to get for the money I’m going to spend?” and… you also need to consider, “Which one of the 4C’s will you have to sacrifice in order to get the most beauty for your buck?



One carat equals 0.20 grams in weight. Notice that carat refers to the weight, and not the size of a diamond.

For diamonds that are under one carat, each carat is divided into 100 points- [ 0.75 ct. = 75 points, ½ ct. = 50 points]

Weight is the most important factor in determining the price of a diamond. As diamonds increase in size, the price per carat increases dramatically. Thus, a diamond that weighs 2.00 carats will be more than double the price of a 1.00 carat diamond of the same quality.

(This is what’s called “the rarity of a diamond”.)

Note: When it comes to weight, a diamond’s weight is measured only when it is loose or free from any mounting.

If the size of the diamond matters most to you and your budget is a concern, you will be better off selecting a diamond that has a larger look. A larger look can be the result of a certain cut of diamond. For example a 1.00 Carat “princess” cut diamond will look larger than a 1.00 Carat “round cut” diamond. (I’ll be showing you sample images of the different cuts in just a moment.)

Also, always stick with the popular digits such as 0.50-0.75-1.00 carats, as they are a better value.

One last note… Don’t confuse the term “carat” with “karat”. Karat is a unit of measure that describes the purity of gold.



Cut is the only human contribution to the diamond’s beauty; and it is the most important characteristic of all the “4C’s”.

You need to pay close attention to the diamond’s cut more so than the shape of a finished stone… because much of a diamond’s value depends on the diamond cutter achieving the ultimate brilliance.

A well-cut diamond can make light perform in breathtaking ways, resulting in a magnificent display of three important attributes [Brilliance – Fire – Scintillation].

  • Brilliance: Is the combination of all white light reflection from the surface and the inside of the diamond (it gives a polished diamond its brightness).
  • Fire: Is the word for the flashes of color you see in a polished diamond.
  • Scintillation: Describes the flashes of light you see when the diamond, the light or the observer moves.

The GIA cut scale ranges from Excellent to Poor.



Cuts in shapes other than round are called Fancy cuts.

No matter the shape, any diamond that’s well-cut will enhance brilliance. 

Many customers love the variety offered by fancy-cut diamonds. They provide alternatives to the traditional round brilliant.


Most of the diamonds that I advise my clients to purchase are rated either (VG) or (EX) in order to guarantee optimal brilliance and unique sparkle. Also… remember… you should always choose a smaller diamond that is of a “higher quality cut” versus a larger diamond that is of a “poorer quality cut.”

Beauty and its beholder Although the 4C’s provide a good way to objectively compare and evaluate diamonds, numbers alone are not sufficient in helping you to discern a diamond’s mysterious and captivating beauty. To choose the perfect diamond ring for that special someone, you will need to visit a jewelry expert in person.