Shopping for a diamond can seem like a complex process. Fortunately, the GIA created the 4 C’s to help jewelers and diamond vendors communicate quality in a universal language.
The four C’s are cut, color, diamond 4 c chart and carat weight. Let’s start with the one that makes the biggest impact on a diamond’s beauty: cut.
Traditionally, carat is the one C that people focus on when discussing diamond values. But, like terroir in wine, it’s only one of many factors that contribute to a diamond’s overall quality and price. Carat actually refers to the diamond’s weight, not size, so it is important to know that two diamonds with the same carat weight can have very different prices depending on their other characteristics, including color and clarity.
Essentially, a diamond’s cut determines how well it reflects light and sparkles, making it one of the most important aspects of a diamond’s beauty. However, it is also common for the term to be used interchangeably with diamond shape (like oval, emerald, cushion or pear). It’s important to understand that the diamond cut is distinct from the diamond’s shape and is based on how well a diamond has been fashioned by its cutter.
The quality of a diamond’s cut is determined by the proportions, symmetry and polish. It is the most subjective of all the 4 C’s because it requires a trained eye to evaluate. Thankfully, GIA’s standard grading scale makes it easy for consumers to compare and prioritize diamond cuts. The more precise the diamond’s cut, the higher its GIA grade and the more desirable it is. However, you can still get a gorgeous diamond even with lower grades in the other four C’s.
As the name suggests, color is one of the characteristics that determine a diamond’s beauty. Diamonds are graded on a scale of colorless to yellow, with colorless diamonds being more rare and therefore more valuable. Diamonds are also naturally occurring in other colors (blue, red, pink, etc), which are known as “fancy” diamonds and are graded on a separate scale.
In terms of the 4 C’s, color is the second most important characteristic after cut. A well-cut diamond can make a smaller carat weight look larger and can hide blemishes and inclusions. However, a great cut alone is not enough to produce the magnificent return of light only possible in a truly beautiful diamond. A superbly cut diamond requires the utmost in artistry and workmanship, ensuring that the proportions, symmetry, and polish deliver a spectacular sparkle.
As with clarity and carat, balancing color with the other 3 C’s is crucial for finding the best diamond for your budget and personal preference. For example, a D color diamond with Flawless clarity and an Excellent cut at the carat weight you desire will provide the best value for your money.
As diamonds form, they may develop flaws called inclusions. These tiny markings affect the clarity grade of a diamond. The fewer inclusions, the higher the clarity grade. Diamonds that are completely flawless have a very high clarity grade. Those that have blemishes visible to the naked eye receive a lower grade.
Because the quality of a diamond’s clarity depends on its rarity, it can impact the price. It is important to note that a lower clarity grade can still look very beautiful.
Compared to the other Cs, cut is usually considered the most important when choosing a diamond. This is because a good cut helps the diamond unleash its full sparkle potential, distracting from any inclusions it might have.
The cut of a diamond refers to the way that its facets are arranged and shaped. It also determines how the diamond interacts with light, which gives it its brilliance, fire and scintillation. A good cut makes a diamond appear whiter (more colorless), larger, and more brilliant than one with a poorer cut. As a result, it has the most impact on the appearance of a diamond. In fact, some would argue that cut is more important than carat weight or color, which are influenced by nature. A poor cut can make a diamond look dull and lifeless, even though it might have a high carat weight.
The carat of a diamond is its weight, a standard measurement that was established a century ago. One carat is equal to 0.2 grams.
The color and clarity of a diamond aren’t the only factors that determine its value, but the combination of these characteristics makes a beautiful, high-quality stone. Diamond grading systems allow professionals to describe a diamond’s characteristics using an objective scale and language that’s easily understood by consumers.
This allows you to easily compare the quality of diamonds and make informed purchases. It also helps you recognize and avoid unscrupulous vendors that may oversell diamonds.
Even though many people want to buy the largest carat possible, the best way to find a stunning diamond is by looking 4C’s of a Diamonds at a stone’s overall beauty and determining its suitability for your lifestyle and budget. Our experts at Nelson Coleman Jewelers are trained to assess the diamonds you’re considering and can help you find the right diamond for your specific needs.
For example, if you’re interested in a certain diamond shape, we can recommend a specific cut to maximize its brilliance and fire. Or, if you’re on a tighter budget, we can suggest the right color and clarity grade to fit your taste while staying within your price range. We can even advise on a diamond with no fluorescence that looks stunning in neon lights.