A diamond’s beauty, rarity and price depend on the interplay of the 4Cs: Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat weight. The 4Cs are used worldwide to classify the value of diamonds. Diamonds with the highest combination of the highest 4C ratings are more rare and, consequently, more valuable. No one C is more important than another; however, all 4Cs can be maximized to find the most beautiful diamond to fit your budget and lifestyle.
The Four Cs of Diamond Buying
People often confuse a diamond’s cut grade with its shape. A diamond’s shape is a matter of personal preference or style and can range from designs like a traditional round to a fancy trillion. The cut grade evaluates the intricate angles crafted to enhance the fire and interplay of light within the diamond. A high cut grade is crucial because it enables more light to reflect and refract, ultimately making the diamond more valuable.
In the case of a diamond, color actually refers to the lack of color. White diamonds are graded on a scale that begins with D, indicating a pure Icy Winter White, and then progresses down the alphabet with each letter designating a more tinted white. Icy Winter Whites range from D to J color and look stunning set in platinum or white gold while Warmer Summer Whites begin in the K range and are best suited for rich yellow gold.
Because diamonds are pure carbon and have been created by nature through millions of years of intense heat and pressure, imperfections or inclusions are often formed in the process. A diamond’s clarity can range from Flawless to Included. Although naturally Flawless diamonds are very rare and highly treasured, inclusions are Mother Nature’s finger prints. Inclusions may appear as tiny crystals, clouds or feathers barely visible to the naked eye or may require a jeweler’s loupe to be seen. The position of the inclusion can affect the value of the diamond. The chart below illustrates, at 10 times magnification, the various clarity grades available.
The Carat Weight of a diamond is not a measurement of size; it is a measurement of weight.
Carat weight images are not to scale.