The 4Cs are defined as: color, clarity, cut, carat weight of the diamond. When you start the process of looking for a quality diamond it’s paramount to pay attention to these four traits that will help you select the diamond that’s perfect for you. This helps you gain a better understanding of what matters to you and what doesn’t. Overall affecting the price and what you can afford.
Why are the 4Cs are still a topic for buyers today? It happened during the middle of the 20th century when a universal grading system was introduced. This not only benefited the jeweler, but the consumer as well. For the first time in history there was an ecumenical way of measuring the quality of a diamond. The simplicity of the grading system added an increase in buyer demand and made it more fashionable than ever. The 4Cs are characteristics given to a singular grade and these respective grades are assigned to the diamond as it generates an average score. This can influence the price of a diamond and its compatibility with other like-minded diamonds.
The Quality of a Diamond can be determined by the 4Cs
One of the things and what you should know when buying diamonds is the color. Diamonds are mined from the earth, a wide-range of colors are associated with them, and a good rule of thumb is that if the diamond looks white it’s right. The diamond industry has always given white diamonds a higher grade than other diamonds of color.
The colorless diamond is at the apical side of the scale, it’s the most rarest, expensive, and is also known as the D-Grade. There are 23 grades of color from D to Z, with the diamonds becoming increasingly more gray, yellow, and brown. The most rarest and improbably colored diamond is known as the A D.
When shopping for a diamond it’s important to know how to read the grading-scale. In most cases the grade will be depicted by a string of numbers and letters. An example of what a string would look like is: (1ct E VS1). This grade would be very expensive.
There are natural characteristics that determine a diamonds clarity grade. Diamonds being indigenous of the earth and therefore natural. Perfection is rarely found in all things natural. Like most minerals and rocks, diamonds come with imperfections. Experts define these imperfections as blemishes and inclusions. When a diamond cutter first attempts to polish and cut a diamond he is in fact trying to hide the flaws. Some flaws are impossible to dispose of making the clarity grade significantly more important.
The clarity grade ranges from heavily flawed to flawless and includes:
- F (the diamond is flawless inside-out)
- IF (internally flawless, blemishes are not found inside but on the surface)
- VVS1-VS2 (two levels of very slightly)
- VS1-VS2 ( two levels of slightly included)
- SI1-SI2 (two levels of slightly included)
- I1-I2, and I3 (three levels of included)
It’s very difficult to see inclusions without a professional jeweler and depending on where flaws are located in the diamond can make it even more ambitious. Every diamond is unique and diamonds experience what are known as the “Snowflake Syndrome”. What you should know when buying is inspect the diamond on an individualistic basis before making a purchase.
A lot of importance is placed on the cut of a diamond. In theory the cut causes a diamond to shine brighter or duller and knowing this will help prioritize some Cs compared to others, making a wise investment based on your budget. A diamond cutter plays a vital role in the quality and cut of a diamonds grade. An experienced diamond cutter can make the decision on whether the quality of the cut is good enough for the storefront or if the consumer should even look at it. Diamonds are cut by professionals to hide any inclusions and it’s cut to be heavier adding more weight and price to the consumer.
Diamonds are prisms of light and diamond store owners have one goal in mind, they want the cutters to cut the diamond so the maximum prism is obtained. This creates more light in each prism to shine through the diamond and reflect its eloquent beauty. There are 3 things you should know when grading the cut of a diamond; the brightness (the refraction of light in the diamond), the fire (how light disperses to allow a rainbow lie like a prism), and the scintillation (the amount of flashes or sparkle that happens when a diamond is moved under light).
Diamonds are scored at being ideal or near and range from excellent, very good, good, fair, and poor.
Carats are often mistaken for a form of measurement, however, the carat is the weight of the diamond. To understand this variation look for the (ctw) carat total weight, which is a total weight of all diamonds in one piece of jewelry. Diamonds are measured in points, so therefore a 100 points is equal to 1 carat. Carat weight can vary in minute differences that are unequal in terms of cost. Those small differences in carat weight can equal in the thousands. If money is a deciding factor on your purchase look for a diamond that is 10 to 15 points less than the one you’re looking at.
Color, clarity, cut, carat really do determine the overall diamond and play a major factor in diamond and diamond ring pricing.
For the official GIA chart, see below!
The diamond 4Cs chart is crucial to understand when you are shopping for the best piece for you or your partner!