Diamond Guide – The 4Cs

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) created a comparison system to classify the rarity, quality and value of different diamonds. This is called the 4Cs, which stand for Colour, Cut, Clarity and Carat.

Diamond in Tweezer – Workshop

Beautiful. Rare. Cherished.

Each diamond is unique and is a miracle of time, place and change.

Diamond Colour Guide Diagram

1. Colour

Diamond colour actually means lack of colour

The diamond colour evaluation of most gem-quality diamonds is based on the absence of colour. A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue, like a drop of pure water, and consequently, a higher value. GIA’s D-to-Z diamond colour-grading system measures the degree of colourlessness by comparing a stone under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions to master stones of established colour value.

Many of these colour distinctions are so subtle that they are invisible to the untrained eye; however, these distinctions make a very big difference in diamond quality and price.

Diamond Cut Guide Diagram

2. Cut

A diamond’s cut unleashes its light

Diamonds are renowned for their ability to transmit light and sparkle so intensely. We often think of a diamond’s cut as shape (brilliant, princess, marquise, pear, oval, emerald or heart), but a diamond’s cut grade is really about how well a diamond’s facets interact with light.

Precise artistry and workmanship are required to fashion a stone so its proportions, symmetry and polish deliver the magnificent return of light only possible in a diamond.

Diamond Clarity Guide Diagram

3. Clarity

Diamond clarity refers to the absence of inclusions and blemishes

Natural diamonds are the result of carbon exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep in the earth. This process can result in a variety of internal characteristics called ‘inclusions’ and external characteristics called ‘blemishes’.

Evaluating diamond clarity involves determining the number, size, relief, nature, and position of these characteristics, as well as how these affect the overall appearance of the stone. While no diamond is perfectly pure, the closer it comes, the higher its value.

Diamond Carat Guide Diagram

4. Carat

Diamond carat weight measures a diamond’s apparent size

Diamond carat weight is the measurement of how much a diamond weighs. A metric “carat” is defined as 200 milligrams.

Each carat can be subdivided into 100 ‘points.’ This allows very precise measurements to the hundredth decimal place. We may describe the weight of a diamond below one carat by its ‘points’ alone. For instance, a diamond that weighs 0.25 carats as a ‘twenty-five pointer’. Diamond weights greater than one carat are expressed in carats and decimals. A 1.08 carat stone would be described as ‘one point oh eight carats’.