The Four Cs Of A Diamond Explained

The Four Cs Of A Diamond Explained

A diamond’s value and quality is determined by its characteristics, also known as the four C’s of diamond.

These include carat, cut, clarity and colour. These characteristics are graded and categorised by the diamond industry and will be graded with certification, also known as the Gemological Institute of America.

There is a fifth C in recent years which stands for ‘Conflict Free’. In this article, we will go through what the four C’s really mean and how diamonds are graded to guarantee ultimate customer satisfaction with a diamond purchase.

What Are The Four C’s of Diamonds?

Whether you are looking to invest in art deco engagement rings or are wanting to purchase something a little bit newer, it is essential for you to understand how a diamond is determined so you can be sure you are getting what you paid for. By understanding how the value of a diamond is determined you will know what to look out for when trading or selling so that you don’t get ripped off.

1. Cut


A diamond cut is determined by its shape and how many facets it has. The facets are what makes it shine and sparkle. The more faceted the cut, the better the sparkle. One of the most famous shapes and cuts is the brilliant round cut which has 57 facets according to the Cape Town Diamond Museum. There are many different types of cuts for diamonds and vary in popularity due to time eras and trends. Other diamond cuts include rectangle emerald that has 44 facets, the square princess cut that has 50-58 facets, the oval cut with 56 facets, the marquise that has 58 facets and the pear cut with 58 facets.

2. Clarity


The clarity is determined by the purity of the diamond and whether there are any tiny flaws. The clearer and flawless the diamond, the more value it has and its brilliance. Brilliance is also another way to determine how a diamond shines. When there are flaws within the diamond, they are called inclusions. If there are flaws externally, these are called blemishes. When determining the clarity of a diamond, the diamond is graded using the following scale. FL (flawless), VVS (very very slightly included), SI (slightly included) and I (included). These diamonds are also graded by numbers in each of these graded categories.

3. Carat


This is the one that everyone knows about and also the one that is thought to be the most important but in today’s time, people couldn’t be further from the truth. The carat is determined by the mass or weight of the diamond but if the diamond has many floors, it won’t look as good as a smaller one with fewer flaws. A metric carat is 200 milligrams which can then be separated into 100 points. When a diamond is more than 1 carat, then the carat will go up in decimals such as a 1.5-carat diamond. Clearly, the higher the carat, the higher the price point due to them being rarer than smaller diamonds.

4. Colour


The colour of a diamond can be difficult to determine so it is always best to have a specialist with you if you are investing. Diamonds come in many different colours which are categorised as either colourless white diamonds or fancy colouring. Due to there being so many different colours, the variations make a huge difference to the price and quality of the diamond. The intensity and hue of the diamond can either increase the value of the diamond or diminish it. White or colourless diamonds are graded from D to Z even if they do contain slight yellow or brown traits within them.

  • Perfect Colourless Diamonds: D is at the highest side of the spectrum and is the most expensive due to them being the highest quality. Colourless diamonds are definitely more desirable due to them being the shiniest.
  • Brown / Yellow-hued Diamonds: The brown or yellow-hued coloured diamonds are at the bottom of the scale for quality and desirability. They are also the most common and are in oversupply. When you see someone try and sell a brown diamond, they will use terms like cognac, chocolate, or champagne diamonds.
  • Fancy Diamonds: These are stones that include different colours rather than just brown and yellow intensities over Z. These include colours like blue, red, pink, and green and are also some of the rarest which will then increase the value.

Now you should be able to ask a jeweller selling diamonds the right questions and identify the quality signs before you purchase a diamond at a high price. Make sure to check whether the diamonds you consider to purchase are lab-grown or natural as this will impact their price and quality too.

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Manuela Willbold
Manuela WillboldOnline Media & PR Strategist
Blogger and Educator by Passion | Senior Online Media & PR Strategist at ClickDo Ltd. | Contributor to many Education, Business & Lifestyle Blogs in the United Kingdom & Germany | Summer Course Student at the London School of Journalism and Course Instructor at the SeekaHost University.