The 4 C’s, Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat Weight
Once you understand the 4C’s, they can serve as an invaluable guide when you’re budgeting for, deciding on, and finding the perfect diamond.
Each diamond is graded on 4 different qualities, those qualities are the ’4 C’s’ :
Color – The presence or absence of color in a white diamond. Color is the natural body color visible in a diamond. The more colorless the diamond, the more rare and valuable the diamond is.
Diamond colors appear in a range from D (colorless) to Z (dark yellow). Color grades D, E and F are colorless.
Diamonds are also available in colors other than white. Pink, canary yellow, blue, and every color imaginable. These are called ‘fancy colors’ and the more vivid the color the more rare and expensive.
Clarity – Is an indication of a diamond’s purity. It is the presence or absence of inclusions in a diamond. When a rough stone is extracted from carbon, deep beneath the earth, tiny traces of natural elements are almost always trapped inside. These elements are called inclusions, though they are sometimes referred to as birthmarks because they are formed naturally and make each stone unique. The less inclusions a diamond possesses the more rare the diamond.
The clarity of a diamond is determined by nature, not by man.
Cut – Many refer to the shape of a diamond as it’s cut, but a diamond’s cut and a diamond’s shape are two entirely different things.
A diamonds cut refers to the relationship of it’s facets or flat surfaces, relative to one another. A diamond’s sparkle or brilliance is determined by the proper alignment of these facets. The slightest misalignment can cause a dramatic difference in a diamond’s overall brilliance.
The quality of a diamond’s cut is determined by the skill of the diamond cutter and is the most important factor affecting a diamond’s beauty.
Diamonds are cut in many different shapes.
The round cut is the most popular, but fancy shapes are becoming more popular. Princess, oval, marquise, pear, heart, radiant, and emerald shapes are among the most sought after ‘fancy shapes’. See rounds and all the fancy shapes at Gold Casters.
Carat Weight – Refers to the unit of weight by which the diamond is measured. Larger carat weight diamonds are the most rare. Each diamond carat is also equal to 100 points. For example, a diamond that is a 1/2 carat can also be referred to as a 50-point diamond.
Diamonds are sold by weight not by size and a diamond with a larger carat weight does not necessarily indicate a diamond of larger appearance.