Secrets of Buying Jewelry: The four “C”s of Diamonds… Cut, Color, Clarity, Carat Weight


Cut refers to the proportions of shape in diamonds. Not to be confused with the shape. Shape would be round, oval, pear, marquise, emerald, radiant, and heart. Cut is the level or quality of the proportion to each shape. Cut is approximately 85-80% of the cost of a diamond. The cut quality is 100% of how a diamond is going to sparkle. Ideal cut or properly proportioned diamonds will sparkle more than inferior cut stones. Cut is only graded on a certificate for a round diamond. However there are levels to an Excellent graded stone. Below you will see the Ideal cut proportions of a round diamond.


Color is defined by the whiteness of a diamond. The color scale of diamonds goes from D as the highest or the whitest diamond, down to Z the yellowest or most brownish/yellow tinge. The highest quality and most beautiful diamonds fall in the colorless range, which is made up of D, E. F color. Most high-end brands sell diamonds only in this colorless range. Most big box or chain retailers, as well as independent jewelers, typically will offer stones as low as J color. The color of a diamond would be considered the second largest factor as it pertains to price behind the cut of a diamond. Fancy color diamonds like canary yellow, fancy green, red, blue, pink and purple diamonds are graded on an entirely different scale.


Clarity refers to the rating of how clean or the measurement of the number of inclusions in a diamond. FL, flawless would be the highest rating, meaning there are no inclusions in the diamond, not to the naked eye as well as under magnification. I1-I3 rating would be the lowest and the most included diamonds. At this grade the inclusions would be visible to the naked eye. Most diamonds tend to be bought in the middle from VS2-VVS1 range. These ranges generally provide the customer with a diamond that is clean to the naked eye and hard to see the inclusions even under magnification. As the diamonds move from an I3 rating up to the FL rating, the diamond would be considered rarer. Clarity effects price of a diamond third, to Cut and Color.


Carat is a unit of measurement in which a diamond is weighed. When a diamond is graded it is placed on a diamond scale and the weight is recorded in carats and noted the diamonds certificate. Diamonds can be as small as .001 carats and the largest know gem quality diamond currently is the Cullinan Diamond which weighs 3106 carats. Carats is only weight.

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