The 4 Cs of Diamonds

Nov 1 2017
The 4 Cs of diamonds stands for color, clarity, cut and carat. The GIA developed the 4 Cs as a way to create a grading system for diamonds. When purchasing diamonds, it is important to understand the 4 Cs.
Color | Color is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a diamond since it is the factor that is most notable to the naked eye. Color has a significant impact on a diamond's appearance. Color refers to a diamond's lack of color. With its prismatic properties, a colorless diamond will reflect light into an array of colorful hues often referred to as "fire." Chemical impurities and structural defects cause coloration in a diamond. Color in a diamond affects it ability to reflect light. For this reason, lower grade diamonds will not show the same brilliance as those with higher grades. The less color a diamond has, the more valuable it is. 

Clarity | Diamond clarity is affected by the existence of inclusions and blemishes on a diamond. Inclusions are those internal characteristics that include crystals, clouds and feathers, while blemishes are surface irregularities. An inclusion may be foreign matter or another diamond crystal. While most inclusions will not affect a diamond's fundamental structure, tiny imperfections may appear whitish or cloudy. Clouds can affect a diamond's ability to reflect light. Cracks near the surface may weaken a diamond's resistance to fracture. Minor blemishes and inclusions may be useful in identifying natural diamonds. often acting as nature's fingerprint. As synthetic diamond technology becomes more and more advanced, it may be hard to determine whether a diamond's origin is natural or synthetic. However, inclusions and blemishes can serve as proof to its natural origin. 

Cut | When it comes to the four Cs, cut is the most important since it determines a diamond's symmetry, proportions and facets. While many believe it is the weight of a diamond that matters most, it is the cut of a diamond that affects its brilliance, sparkle and durability. Since a diamonds' cut affects the overall quality, diamond cutters often consider shape and size when deciding on a cut. The three most important parts of a diamond are the table, crown and pavilion. The table is the measurement across the top of a diamond. The crown is the height of the top portion of the diamond from the girdle (where the pavilion and crown meet). The pavilion is the depth of the diamond from the bottom portion of the stone. The measurements in the table, crown and pavilion affect not only its sparkle, but how flaws are displayed. 

Carat | Carat refers to the weight of the diamond. One carat is the equivalent of 0.2 grams. A carat is divided into 100 points. A 50-point diamond weight 0.50 carats.