The Four C’s of Diamonds

In the 1953 classic Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Marilyn Monroe performs Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend. Even today, diamonds are still the way into many hearts. A purchase of grand proportions like this deserves thoughtful consideration and a crucial understanding of what’s known as the Four Cs – Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat – which measure a stone’s quality and value. Let’s explore!


A diamond’s cut refers to its symmetrical facets, angles, and relationship to light. Think about the flat surfaces on the geometric shape of a stone. As light passes through these precise cuts, the right diamond will give off the ideal amount of sparkle and brightness. The possibilities are endless when choosing the right cut, but remember: More facets does not necessarily mean more shine. When selecting your preferred shape, review the GIA Cut Grading System, which rates diamond cuts as Excellent (E), Very Good (VG), Good (G), Fair (F), and Poor (P).


Color is traditionally graded on a sliding scale of D-Z, with D being colorless (the purest) and Z representing diamonds with a noticeably yellow hue. Distinctions among a diamond’s color grade can be subtle, so it’s best to examine your diamond under various lighting. Those fond of colored diamonds, such as pink, red, and blue, can find their preferred stones filed under “fancy” diamonds (they are not part of the D-Z color scales).


Similar to color, the clarity of a diamond is measured pm a sliding scale that indicates the presence of any flaws. Any internal flaws inside the diamond are inclusions, while external imperfections are blemishes. Refer to your jeweler’s scale and its abbreviations for Flawless (FL), Internally Flawless (IF), Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2), Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2), Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2), and included (I1, I2, and I 3) with clearly visible flaws. The clarity of a diamond affects its quality and price. Therefore, it’s recommended to inspect the diamond with the naked eye and under a professional’s magnification.


The weight of a diamond is measured in carats, with a single carat equating to 0.2 grams. When browsing, know that carats are divided into a 100-point system. For example, a 50-point diamond equates to .50 carats. Diamonds above 1 carat are recorded in carats as well as decimals. While the biggest factor for many is the number of carats, remember that cut, color, and clarity are equally important factors to consider.

Want to see more? Check out Think Glamor’s – Which Diamond Cut Suits You?


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