Clarity, color, cut, and carat weight are the four value parameters used by diamond specialists to classify diamonds and known as the "Four Cs.". It is an international language used to evaluate diamond's quality, which is directly related to its value.
As a buyer, these are the most essential factors to understand and consider when making your diamonds purchase. There is a wide range of diamond sizes and qualities available within any given budget. The challenge is to determine which of the 4C's is most important to you in order to narrow this range so you can make the best choice.
The clarity of a polished diamond is one of the four attributes (Four Cs) that define and determine its value. Some uses the term "purity" while others, may refer to it as "quality."
Generally, it means the lack of flaws and imperfections. Imperfections that are within the stone or extended from the diamond's surface into the inside are called “inclusions”. Flaws that are only visible on the surface of the gemstone are called “blemishes”
Hence, Inclusions and blemishes are referred to as clarity characteristics.
A diamond's value can be affected by a seemingly minor clarity characteristic. As a result, diamonds with no clarity characteristics are rarer and more valuable than diamonds with a few clarity characteristics.
Five factors are considered to determine the clarity of a diamond which are size, location, relief or color, number and nature. Here's where the GIA's clarity grading system comes with 11 clarity grades. They are Flawless, Internally Flawless, two categories of Very, Very Slightly Included, two categories of Slightly Included, and three categories of Included.
• Every diamond is unique but not all of them are absolutely perfect!
• They are created of Carbon exposed to extreme pressure and heat under the ground. Therefore, inclusions and blemishes are natural and unavoidable.
• The fact that clarity characteristics are so small is one of the most amazing things about them. Mostly, you have to magnify them ten time in order to see them at all. “10X” magnification is the standard for clarity grading.
• Hence, clarity is the least important of the 4Cs.
• Even if a diamond falls into the lower clarity grade, it can be “eye clean” which means the inclusions are too small and can’t be seen with the naked eye.
• The shape and size of a diamond have an impact on its clarity. When buying a diamond over one carat or certain fancy-shaped diamonds where flaws are more visible (such as an Asscher or emerald) you may want to consider a higher clarity grade.
Diamond’s color consideration is a very important factor that affect its beauty. Diamonds are commonly thought to be colorless. While they are available in a broad range of colors and hues as yellow, pink, grey, brown and blue. As well, red, purple, and green are some of the most unique colors.
Naturally colorless diamonds are extremely rare, whereas subtle yellow hue is the most common. Hence, the majority of diamonds used in jewelry are nearly colorless with yellow or brown tint.
Color variations can have a significant impact on a diamond's value. It can make a difference in the value of two diamonds with the same clarity, weight, and cut. Colorless diamonds are the most valuable within the normal color range since they are the rarest.
For color-grading, the GIA D-to-Z scale is the industry commonly used standard. Each letter represents a color range based on the tone and saturation of a diamond.
Diamond whose color is beyond Z are denoted as "fancy" color diamonds and are graded using their own scale and terminology. The more intense the color implies higher value, therefore, the brightest, purest hues are the most sought.
• The bigger the diamond, the more noticeable the color.
• The delicate difference in color can make a huge impact on the value
• When a diamond is mounted, the white or yellow metal can affect the diamond apparent color, hence its challenging to determine its grade accurately.
-- Yellow gold settings can mask the yellow or brown tint, while white metal makes it more obvious.
-- On the other hand, white metal gives the colorless diamonds icier appearance.
• It’s important to note that diamond color can be lightened, removed, or created using a combination of high pressure and high temperature treatments to change or add color to diamonds.
Every customer looks for the maximum sparkle they can get as it’s the most dazzling factor about diamonds. Which brings us to the importance of the cut characteristic.
Cut is not only shape, it relates to the diamond proportions, symmetry and polish. The cut of a diamond can influence its clarity and even color. Cut impacts how a diamond interacts with the light around it, and how that interaction affects the diamond's overall appearance. The basic proportions are illustrated in the below graphic of diamond anatomy.
Accordingly, graders will assess how the diamond's surfaces, or facets, are positioned to create fiery, sparkling and brilliant stone. What is the diameter of a diamond in relation to its depth; what is the length to width ratio, the table percentage and so on.
Diamond Grading Reports includes the cut grade, polish and symmetry ratings, and other grading parameters as the basic proportions. According to GIA, there are five cut grades that apply to round diamonds which are Skilled quality cutting of a diamond has a significant impact on how it interacts with light displaying brilliance, fire and scintillation (sparkle).
• Brilliance is same as brightness, the internal and external reflections of white light.
• Fire is the flashes of color in a polished diamond (rainbow colors).
• Scintillation describes the contrast of light flashes and dark areas.
• Currently, only round brilliant in the D-Z range color have a cut grade by GIA and all other shapes doesn’t have a cut grade.
• Diamond cut and diamond shape are not synonymous, despite the fact that they are commonly used interchangeably.
-- Diamond cut evaluates a diamond's light performance and is determined by dimensions, symmetry, and polish
-- While diamond shape is the cutting style which is the contour of a diamond i.e., round, marquise, heart, pear etc.
• To create impressive sparkle, we recommend choosing between Excellent and Very Good cut grade; as it’s not easy to distinguish between the direction of light in those specific grades.
Graphic illustration to be provided by DB
• Based on your budget, Good cut can provide an excellent value as long as the cut is not excessively shallow or deep because even a diamond with no flaws can appear dull if it’s too shallow or deep.
• As a result, when choosing a diamond, choose the greatest cut grade you can afford.
• Shapes other than the round brilliant are called “fancy cuts”
• Round brilliants are known for their high brilliance, fire, and scintillation compare to other fancy shapes.
• A well-proportioned diamond maximize its value with excellent polish and symmetry
Carat (abbreviated as “cts”) is a small unit to measure diamonds weight and other gemstones instead of kilos and grams.
1 carat = 0.200 gram; hence 5 cts would equal 1 gram.
Each carat is subdivided into 100 "points." which enables diamonds weight to be measured to the hundredth decimal place. Accordingly, a diamond's weight below one carat can be described by its "points." For example, a 0.48 carat diamond would be referred to as a "48 pointer" or “point 48 carats”
• Don't get the terms "Carats" and "Karat" mixed up. Karat refers to the purity of gold, while carats refer to the weight of the diamond.
• As the weight increases, the size increases; however, two diamonds of the same carat might appear different in size due to cut proportions
• So when comparing two diamonds look at the measurement (length x width) and choose the one with broader measurements to obtain wider surface that appear bigger visually for the same value
• Diamonds of different shapes and equal carats weight tend to show difference in size. 1ct oval or marquise for example, tend to be viewed larger than 1ct round because of their mm measurement difference. (look at our size guide to have a better understanding of size difference between different shapes)
• Considering all other 4c factors are same the value of diamonds increases, as the carat size increases because larger stones are rarer.
• At 0.50ct, 0.75ct and 1.00ct the value of diamonds increase dramatically as these are the most popular sizes. Accordingly, 0.95ct would have better value than 1.03ct for a barely visible difference in size.
• Therefore, if you are looking to maximize your budget seek diamonds that are under these boundaries to avoid the difference in price