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The 4C's of Diamonds

If someone asked you to describe a diamond what words would you use? Stunning? Brilliant? Unique? Expensive? Often times when we think of diamonds we think of the classic round cut diamond that is clear as an piece of ice and sparkles as the sun reflects off its facets. But what determines the quality and better yet the price of a diamond. Other than its size, or carat weight, there are 3 other C's (cut, color and clarity) that determine the quality and price tag of a diamond. 

Up until the mid twentieth century there was no agreed upon method of grading diamonds. Everyone had their own method to determine the quality of a diamond. It wasn't until the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) created the 4C's method for grading diamonds that there was any sort of consistency. Now the 4C's (cut, color, clarity and carat weight) is the universal method for grading diamonds. 

Below we dive into each C and explain how these factor determine the quality and inadvertently the price tag of a diamond.


Often times when we think cut we think of a diamonds shape (round, oval, marquise, pear) however, cut refers to the facets ability to reflect light. The cut of a diamond requires precision to achieve symmetry and accurate proportions based of the diameter of the stone. Having precis cuts determine how the stone will face-up or look in a setting.  Out of the 4C's, cut is by far the most complex to analyze.  



The color of a diamond refers to its lack of colors. Color is graded on an alphabetical scale ranging from D (colorless) to Z (yellow). The perfect diamond is colorless and has no hues of color. Many times we will use a range to describe the color of a diamond.


The clarity of a diamond is determined by the number, size, position and overall apperance of inclusions within the stone. Inclusions are like birth marks on a diamond. They are pieces of carbon left behind as the diamond was formed. The range of grading clarity is FL or flawless, meaning there are not visible inclusions or blemishes when the diamond is under a 10x magnifier to I1,2& 3 meaning, there are several inclusions or blemishes that may affect the appearance of the stone.



The carat weight of a diamond is simply how much it weighs. One metic carat is the equivalent to 200 milligrams. Each carat is broken down into 100 points. A diamond that is .25ct. may be referred to as a 25 pointer and a diamond that is over a carat may be referred to as "one point of five carats".The bigger the carat the more expensive the diamond will be. 

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