What Are the 4Cs of A Diamond?
Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat weight are the qualities that come together to define the unique beauty of your diamond. The 4Cs also determine the value of your diamond. While all of the 4Cs are essential, each individual has her own opinion on which C is the most important to her. To some, the quality of the carat may be more pertinent than the cut of the diamond, while others favor the color of their stone compared to its clarity. Understanding the 4Cs and understanding your preference can help you choose the diamond that suits both your lifestyle and your budget.
• Diamonds are weighed in units called carats. A carat is measured in increments called points. One carat is equal to 100 points.
• Carat weight is the easiest of the 4Cs to determine because it is measured on a diamond scale.
• Two diamonds of equal carat weight can have very unequal value depending upon the cut, color and clarity of each.
• Color refers to the body color of the diamond. Fancy color diamonds aside, the best, most beautiful color for a diamond is no color at all.
• The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has created a scale to measure diamond color, ranging from D (colorless) to Z (yellow). Fancy color diamonds are graded Z and higher.
• Most KAY diamonds are graded "near colorless" - between G and J on the color scale. At a J grade and beyond, the human eye can start to detect a yellow tint.
● Clarity is the degree to which a diamond is free from flaws, which can hinder light as it passes through your diamond.
● Like people, diamonds have "birthmarks" that vary in size, shape, position, quantity and color. These birthmarks are known as inclusions (internal) and natural impressions (external). Inclusions are formed deep in the earth during the diamond's growth. Impressions can result from the diamond-cutting process.
● The clarity grade is determined based on the size, number, position of, nature and color of the diamond's blemishes. The clarity scale, developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), has 11 grades. The highest grade is F (flawless).
● Of the 4Cs, a diamond's cut has the greatest influence on its fire, sparkle and brilliance, making it, arguably, the most important C.
● Cut refers not only to the shape of a diamond, but more importantly to its proportions (how the diamond's angles and facets relate to one another), symmetry (the precision of its cut), and polish (the surface of the diamond).
● A diamond's cut is harder to quantify than color, clarity and carat weight. The cut of a diamond is determined by the master craftsman, who formulates the best way to shape, facet and polish the diamond to maximize its beauty.
● When grading the cut of a diamond, laboratories evaluate the diamond for its brilliance, fire, and scintillation.
Now that you've mastered the 4cs, discover stone shapes: