The Four C's Of Diamonds

by Cece Baggott

Diamonds are the most coveted gemstones in the world of jewelry. Not only are they beautiful and sparkly, but they are also finite, making them rare gemstones. When it comes to shopping for these scintillating gemstones, it’s important to consider the 4 C’s of diamonds. These include cut, color, carat and clarity. These are the globally accepted standards that were created by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) to assess a diamond’s quality and value.

Understanding these characteristics can help make your diamond selection process easier. You’ll also be more informed on these gemstones. Read on to learn more about the four C’s of diamonds.

Diamond Cut

A diamond can be cut in numerous ways. For example, you can choose from round, princess, emerald, oval, marquise, pear and Asscher, among others. The cut of a diamond impacts the way it captures and refracts light. In other words, it affects the way the gemstone sparkles.

Diamonds that are cut well are extremely brilliant and most desirable. On the other hand, poor cut diamonds can appear dull and dark. In any case, the more precise the cut is, the more captivating and valuable the gemstone. The GIA cut scale ranks from excellent to poor.

Diamond Color

Diamonds are available in a wide range of hues, from colorless to light yellow or light brown. Graders distinguish diamond color by using a scale that includes colorless, near colorless, faint, very light and light. The rarest and most valuable diamonds are colorless. In fact, completely colorless diamonds are considered structurally perfect. This is because impurities typically cause color variations.

These gemstones are also available in pink, purple, green, red and blue. These colors are known as “fancy,” and their color grading differs from colorless diamonds. They are rated by hue, tone and saturation, as well as on a scale from lightest to darkest.

Diamond Carat

Carat (ct) is the globally recognized standard for gemstone weight. It’s important to note that it refers to a diamond’s weight and not its size. In fact, two diamonds can have the same carat weight while being different sizes. Diamonds are weighed on specially calibrated scales. For example, one carat weighs 0.20 grams, while five carats weigh 1 gram. The larger the carat, the more expensive the diamond.

Carat differs from the term karat, which is used for measuring gold purity in jewelry. Some countries use the term carat to refer to gold purity, while the U.S. uses the term karat.

Diamond Clarity

Clarity refers to how clear the diamond appears. The GIA clarity scale includes 11 specific grades: flawless, internally flawless, vvs1, vvs2, vs1, vs2, sI1, sI2, I1, I2 and I3. The highest standard for clarity is F, or Flawless. On the other hand, I3 means that the diamond has blemishes or obvious inclusions that affect its brilliance. Some blemishes can be seen with the naked eye, but they’re usually inspected under magnification.

What to Consider When Shopping for Diamonds?

It’s important to keep the 4 C’s in mind when shopping for diamonds. It’s essential to balance these characteristics to find the best diamond with a great value. Cut is perhaps the most important characteristic to look for, since it impacts the gemstone’s beauty. Cuts include shallow, ideal and deep. They’re determined on the GIA diamond cut chart with grades of Ideal, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor.

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Browse our products or KJ’s picks today.