The 4Cs: Clarity, Colour, Cut and Carat. These four factors are used to judge the quality and value of a diamond. They are used universally throughout the diamond industry as an effective communication tool when describing a gemstone. The factors outlined below are based on the Grading System established by the Gemological Institute of America.
There are two aspects that determine the clarity of a diamond. Inclusions refer to internal features within the stone and blemishes are irregularities that occur on its surface. The relative absence of these clarity characteristics defines a diamond’s clarity – from Flawless to Included.
When choosing a diamond for an engagement ring, aim for a minimum clarity grade of SI (slightly included). Diamonds within this range will not have inclusions that are eye visible and provide excellent value for your money.
Although diamonds come in a wide variety of colours, the ones that range from D (colourless) to Z (light yellow/brown) fall within the normal colour range. Very slight differences in colour can drastically affect the value of a diamond.
When choosing a diamond for an engagement ring, it is best to stay within the D-H colour range. Diamonds with I colour grade or lower may show yellowish or brownish tones.
A finished diamond’s proportions influence its interaction with light, which in turn impacts its overall beauty and appeal. A diamond with good proportions, symmetry and polish optimize lights performance and will appear bright, fiery and sparkling.
The allure and beauty of a particular diamond depends more on cut quality than anything else. Only select diamonds with a cut grade of Very Good or better.
*To show relative size difference; not to scale.
The metric measurement unit used to describe the weight of a diamond. One carat is divided into 100 points. Abbreviated as “ct” and expressed as a decimal number (0.59 ct, 1.13 ct, etc.).
Some weights are considered “magic sizes”: half carat, three-quarter carat, one carat, etc. It's at these sizes that there is usually a substantial increase in price. A good way to save money is to, for example, purchase a 0.95 ct instead of 1.00 ct. The visual size difference will be neglible.