Last updated on February 23, 2021
The 4 Cs of a diamond represent the four main components of the stone: Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat Weight.
Each of the Cs is evaluated for quality and is graded on a scale. The most consistent and recommended entities for diamond grading are the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the American Gem Society (AGS).
In fact, each of the 4 Cs of a diamond indicates the quality of the stone and determine its value. Moreover, diamond sellers usually set their prices based on grading reports. That’s why understanding the basics of these gradings is helpful to avoid spending your budget on a component that will go unnoticed to the naked eye.
Diamond cut refers to the precision of angles, proportions and symmetry, which directly impact brilliance, fire and scintillation.
The cut is the biggest indicator of the beauty of the stone and should be made a priority among the 4 Cs of a diamond. Even a diamond with no inclusions or colour tints will be dull if it’s not cut exceptionally well. No precision, no sparkle.
When talking about diamond colour we mean how white or colourless the stone is. According to the GIA, diamonds are graded from D to Z, with D being the most colourless, and Z containing brown or yellow tint noticeable to the naked eye.
Each letter grade falls under a clearly defined range of colour appearance:
- D-E-F – colourless
- G-H-I-J – near-colourless
- K-L-M – faint yellow
- N-R – very light yellow
- S-Z – light yellow
The pricing of diamonds significantly reflects these gradings, though the most critical aspect with colour is to determine how colourless it appears in the setting. For example, I colour diamond set into a white gold or platinum setting most probably will look the same as K colour diamond set into yellow gold. That’s why as a general recommendation while purchasing a diamond ask for the assistance of an expert to ensure you are not paying for a feature that will remain unnoticed.
A diamond’s clarity grade shows how clean the diamond is from any kind of inclusions or blemishes. According to the GIA diamond’s clarity is graded on the following scale:
- FL – Flawless
- IF – Internally Flawless
- VVS1, VVS2 – Very Very Slightly Included
- VS1, VS2 – Very Slightly Included
- SI1, SI2, SI3 – Slightly Included
- I1, I2, I3 – Included
Blemishes and inclusions are imperfections that will most likely interfere with the light that passes through the diamond. Depending on the size, location and darkness of these, the brilliance of the stone will be dulled and it won’t be that sparkly. That’s why it’s extremely important to ensure that the stone is eye clean.
Diamond Carat Weight
Carat (Ct) is not how large the stone is. It refers to the weight of the diamond. 1 carat (Ct) equals 0.2 grams. It’s extremely important to understand that depending on the cut and shape 2 diamonds of the same carat weight may be quite different in size.
While thinking about large carat weight, it’s important to understand what you value more: the size or brilliance that will outshine any larger dull stone. Our recommendation is to be open to lowering carat weight to ensure you purchase a brilliant and sparkly diamond.