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The 4 C's


Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat are the four universal determinants of what makes a quality diamond. The C’s help to determine a diamond’s value and is a good measure of price. It is important to note that no one variable outweighs the other. Each one is equal in importance of determining the quality of a particular diamond. The 4 C’s distinguish the rare from the rarer, the pretty from the exquisite, and the expensive from the ultimately unaffordable.

Cut
Cut is the term used to determine the angles and proportions of a diamond. A well-cut diamond will contain mirror-like facets that will reflect light from one panel to another and disperse and reflect it through the top of the stone. The cut has a tremendous affect on the sparkle of the diamond. A well-cut diamond is neither too shallow, nor too deep, which would allow light to leak through the side or bottom. The extra time put into this perfection results in a great amount of brilliance and fire.


The cut can also be referred to the shape of the diamond. The most common shapes of diamonds are: round, princess, pear, heart, emerald, oval and marquise. The round cuts are the most brilliant because of the symmetrical shape, which allows it to capture all the light that enters.


Color
Color is the term used to determine to which degree a diamond is colorless. Diamonds come in a wide range of colors that vary from white and yellow, to dark brown. There are also colored diamonds that are black, pink and even red. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has established a color scale on which diamonds are measured. The scale ranges from D (colorless) to Z. The more colorless the diamond, the more expensive it is. Color is very hard to determine because it is so subtle. This is why they are carefully compared to a master set under very controlled lighting conditions.


Clarity
The term clarity refers to the presence of inclusions found in a diamond. Inclusions may appear to look like feathers, clouds or crystals. This is how we know that diamonds were formed in the earth. Grades of clarity are determined by the number, size, location and type of inclusions a diamond contains. They are based on a clarity scale ranging from F (flawless) to I (inclusions). The ratings are based on the visibility of inclusions under a 10x magnification. In nature, there are very few diamonds that are found without inclusions. Those found flawless are very rare and highly priced.

Carat
The term carat is used to determine the weight of the diamond. One carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams. One carat can also be broken up into 100 “points.” For example, a .75-carat diamond is the same as 75 points or 3/4-carat diamond. Most people are aware of the fact that the higher the carat, the heavier the diamond, therefore, the higher the cost. What they don’t usually know is that since larger diamonds are typically harder to find in nature, the cost of a single 1-carat diamond would cost much more than two 1/2- carat diamonds of the same quality.


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Created by Sunny Kim. E-mail at: Cocofire@ufl.edu