When you are shopping for a diamond, there are four things you must know to make an informed and confident purchase – Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat – better known as the 4 Cs. We offer an overview below, but when you are ready to make that all-important purchase, please visit our showroom and let one of our diamond specialists guide you in selecting the perfect diamond.
The 4 Cs classify the value of diamonds. Every diamond’s price, rarity and beauty are determined by the combination of cut, color, clarity and carat weight.
Cut describes the proportions and angles of a diamond, not the diamond’s shape. Many people confuse cut with shape. Although nature determines the other three characteristics (color, clarity and carat), it takes a master diamond cutter to reveal a diamond’s true beauty. A well cut diamond reflects the light from one mirror-like facet to another and projects the light through the top of the stone. The result is a fiery and brilliant display. Diamonds that are cut too deep or too shallow leak light through the side or the bottom, resulting in a lackluster appearance and diminished value.
Transparent diamonds remain the most popular, even though diamonds are found in a kaleidoscope of colors. Diamonds are graded on a color scale implemented by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), which ranges from D, which is colorless, to Z, which is light yellow.
Color differences can be so subtle that diamond colors are graded under controlled lighting conditions and are compared to a master set for accuracy. While truly colorless diamonds, graded D, are treasured for their rarity, diamond color is ultimately a very personal taste.
When diamonds are formed with traces of other minerals, rare and beautiful colors can result. These “fancy” colors range from blue and brilliant yellow to red, brown, pale green, pink and violet. Because of their rarity, colored diamonds are highly desirable and often quite valuable.
Nature ensures that each diamond is as individual as the person who wears it. Naturally occurring inclusions such as minerals or fractures are identifying characteristics created as diamonds are formed deep within the earth. Master jewelers use magnification to view diamonds at 10x their actual size so these tiny inclusions are more easily seen. Inclusions are measured on a scale of perfection, known as clarity, which was established by the GIA. The greater a diamond’s clarity, the more rare and valuable it is. An inclusion in the middle or top of a diamond could impact the dispersion of light, making it less brilliant
|FL DIAMONDS Flawless:||No internal or external flaws|
|IF DIAMONDS Internally Flawless:||No internal flaws|
|VVS1, VVS2 DIAMONDS Very, very slightly included:||Very difficult to see inclusions under 10x magnification|
|VS1, VS2 DIAMONDS Very slightly included:||Inclusions are not typically visible to the unaided eye|
|SI1, SI2 DIAMONDS Slightly included:||Inclusions are visible under 10x magnification and may be visible with the unaided eye|
|I1, I2, I3 DIAMONDS Included:||Inclusions are visible with the unaided eye|
The size of a diamond is measured, not by its dimensions, but by weight. One carat, the traditional unit of measurement for diamonds, is equal to approximately .2 grams. You may also hear the weight of a diamond referred to in points. A point is equal to 1/100 of a carat; therefore, a 75-point diamond equals 0.75 (3/4) carat. Diamonds of equal weight may appear slightly different in size, depending on their depth and proportions. Since larger diamonds are found less frequently in nature, a one carat diamond will cost more than twice a ½ carat diamond, assuming all other characteristics remain constant.