The 4 C’s of Diamonds Explained
The quality of a diamond is measured by the 4 C’s of diamonds: cut, color, clarity, and carat.
20:17 28 July 2020
All diamonds aren’t created equal. In fact, individual diamonds are very unique. Shape is also an important factor. But what does all this have to do with buying a diamond? Understanding the 4 C’s of diamonds will vastly improve your chances of choosing a quality diamond that meets all your standards. Here’s everything you need to know about the 4 C’s.
Diamond cut refers to the way in which a diamond is cut to maximize its brilliance and interaction with light. Diamond cuts are often confused with a diamond’s shape, but they are actually distinct from one another.
Raw diamonds are cut by lapidaries who cut stones with expertise and craftsmanship that takes years to master. There are many different variables used to measure the quality of a diamond’s cut, but a diamond is generally graded for cut based on its brilliance, scintillation, and fire.
Typically, diamonds that are used to create jewelry pieces are assessed by their absence of color. However, not all jewelry-grade diamonds are completely lacking in hue. Some diamonds will have a slight coloring to them, typically a yellowish tint.
Diamonds used in jewelry often contain color that can’t be seen by the naked eye. However, experts are able to discern color in a diamond and assess its value based on that measurement. The diamond color grading scale ranges from D-to-Z, with D representing no color, and the presence of color increasing until the Z grade.
Diamond clarity evaluates the number of inclusions and blemishes of a diamond. Inclusions are formed during the natural process in which diamonds are created and occur within the diamond itself.
Blemishes are formed in the same way, but occur on the exterior surface of a diamond. The diamond clarity grade ranges from Flawless, meaning no internal flaws and minimal blemishes to I3, meaning included with obvious inclusions and blemishes.
Diamonds are measured by weight in carats which are increments of 200 milligrams. Generally, the higher a diamond’s carat weight, the higher the price tag will be. However, this doesn’t account for the other measurements that are used to evaluate diamonds.
Two 3-carat diamonds may weigh the same, but if one is rated Flawless, a colorless D, and expertly cut, while the other is rated lower on those scales, the former will have a higher price.
Carat weight is often confused with carat size, however, the two are not to be used interchangeably.
Diamond shape refers to the figure or outline of a diamond. A diamond’s shape isn’t generally graded. Additionally “fancy-shaped” diamonds, like pear, emerald, Marquise, and Asscher, aren’t given a cut grade either.
It’s too difficult to evaluate these shapes and cuts on a standard scale. So, if you’re looking for a fancy-shaped diamond, be sure to note that the cut will simply appear as ‘NONE.’
Whether you’re shopping for an engagement ring or choosing a piece of diamond jewelry for yourself, it’s crucial to understand the 4 C’s of diamonds. Though diamonds share a unique sparkle and brilliance that set them apart from other gems, each diamond has a unique set of features by the time it reaches the customer. Understanding how these features are graded through the 4 C’s can ensure that you make an informed decision.