Know the 4 C’s of diamonds before buying

Make sure your diamond will be your best friend, by making an educated decision when choosing your diamond. Anyone shopping for a diamond engagement ring should first acquaint themselves with “the four Cs” of diamonds, namely colour, cut, clarity, and caret. These need to be determined before you can determine the fifth “C” – Cost.


When rating the colour of a diamond, jewellers commonly use the letters D through Z. The rating D represents a diamond that is colourless through to the rating Z has a yellow or brownish hue. As a rule, the closer a diamond is to colourless, the more valuable and beautiful it is.

diamond colors

However, even more rare than colourless diamonds are the fancy coloured diamonds. The well-defined colours that include pink, canary yellow, blue and green…highly priced, extremely rare, major show pieces!

White Diamond vs Yellow Diamond

White Diamond vs Yellow Diamond


Many people make the mistake of thinking that cut means the shape of the diamond. The cut actually refers to how many well-proportioned facets are in the stone. A well-cut diamond – regardless of its shape, sparkles and offers the greatest brilliance.

If a stone is cut poorly, it will appear less valuable because it will lack sparkle, brilliance and therefore, beauty. Some cutters will sacrifice cut to create the largest possible diamond, thus making too shallow or too deep of a cut and causing light to “leak” out the sides and bottom of the diamond.

Cut is graded Ideal, Premium, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor. Generally you should seek an Ideal to Very Good Diamond. If you’re shopping with on a budget, opt for good.


diamond cut

Notice how the light is reflected within the well cut diamond on top


Clarity is an indication of a diamond’s purity. Diamonds frequently have inclusions, or small flaws, air bubbles, scratches, or other minerals inside the diamond. The less inclusions a diamond has, the more valuable and beautiful it is.

The scale for grading diamond’s clarity is:

  • Flawless-These diamonds do not have any inclusions and are considered to be perfect.
  • Internally Flawless-These diamonds may have very minor blemishes on the outside of the stone.
  • VVS1, VVS2-These diamonds have very, very small inclusions.
  • VS1, VS2-These diamonds have very small inclusions.
  • SI1, SI2, SI3-These diamonds have small inclusions.
  • I1, I2, I3-These diamonds have flaws which can be seen with the human eye.

diamond clarity

Most couples will opt for something between SI2 and VS1, and will never know the difference.


Carats refer to the size of the diamond. Each carat has one hundred points. The carat weight refers to the mass of a diamond.

For example, a diamond that is a 1/2 carat can also be referred to as a 50-point diamond. But bigger isn’t necessarily better. A two-carat diamond that is cut poorly is not nearly as beautiful as a smaller diamond, cut by a skilled diamond artisan. Or, it may be cut well, but have poor colour and clarity.

diamond size

So which of the characteristics of diamonds is most important?

While you may have certain preferences when it comes to diamonds, all 4Cs should be taken into account before you make your purchase. In the end, if you want a larger diamond, you may prefer a diamond of higher carat weight but lower on the colour scale. If beauty is more important, you may want a smaller, colourless stone for the same price.

Whether large or small, cut is critical since releasing a diamond’s maximum potential for beauty and brilliance is an art accomplished only by superior diamond artisans. So which of the characteristics of diamonds is most important? The choice is yours, but make it an educated one.

As Posted at The Diamond Buying Guide

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