When most people think about diamonds, they also think of “The 4 C’s.” The 4 C’s are the measuring tools used to determine the quality of a diamond. The GIA developed the 4C’s in order to be able to objectively compare these unique and beautiful stones. The 4C’s: Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat are described below. It is important to understand the different parts that make the whole, as each portion contributes to the value of the diamond, and helps you understand what to look for when purchasing a diamond.
CUT –The shine and brilliance of a diamond depends on the cut. The cutting and polishing of the facets effect the way light is reflected. The value of the cut is determined by how well light enters and is then dispersed. The grade is a reflection on how well the diamond cutter measured his cuts to present the best light reflection. It’s what makes the diamond sparkle and is often the most important element. It is important to note that “Cut” does not refer to the shape of the diamond.
COLOR – Diamonds come in all kinds of colors, but usually one is referring to white diamonds. The best color rating is actually no color at all. Colorless diamonds allow light to pass through them more easily, ranging from colorless to light yellow. The subtle differences effect the value of the diamond due to the color’s effect on light dispersion. The diamond is viewed facedown using a light that is equivalent to daylight. The color presented is measured against the GIA’s color grading scale to determine how much yellow is in the diamond as compared to a set of master stones. The scale ranges from D to Z. D is the highest rating, having no color. E and F also fall into the colorless category, being colorless to the naked eye. The G to J range includes a hint of color and are near colorless. J to M includes diamonds that you can see faint color with the naked eye.
CLARITY – Clarity refers to flaws viewed at 10x magnification. The scale ranges from Flawless to Imperfect 3. Diamonds sometimes have blemishes (on the surface) and usually do have inclusions (internal small flaws,) which interfere with light dispersion through the diamond. The fewer imperfections, the better the grade, and the more beautiful the diamond. The size, number, position, nature, and color of the various imperfections all effect the Clarity grade. These various imperfections were actually caused by nature in the diamond’s creation. Diamonds are almost completely made out of carbon. However, other minerals or small bits of carbon can be trapped while the carbon is cooling.
CARAT – Carats are the weight of the diamond. Diamonds and other gemstones are measured in metric carats. One carat is the equivalent of 0.2 grams. A carat is divided into 100 points. A 50-point diamond weight 0.50 carats.