Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat: the value of a diamond is determined by these four characteristics.
Learn how important the 4Cs are, and discover what makes one diamond more valuable than the next.
Cut refers to the angles, proportions and finish of the diamond, not its shape.
The way a diamond is cut will affect how it reflects and disperses light, and how it sparkles. We call these three attributes fire, brilliance and scintillation.
Brilliance is how much light the stone reflects. Fire refers to the dispersion of light into the colours of the spectrum. And scintillation is how the diamond sparkles when you move it.
Cut well, a diamond reflects light from one facet to another, resulting in a brilliant sparkle. A poorly cut stone leaks light and has a duller appearance.
Traditionally known as a ‘white’ stone, a diamond can in fact come in many subtle colour variations.
Each diamond is graded on a colour scale of D to Z+, and can range from colourless to light yellow. Only a trained jeweller or valuer can decide on a diamond’s colour rating.
This guide, developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), is the one we use to grade our diamonds:
|D-F = Colourless|
|G-J = Near colourless|
|K-M = Faint yellow|
|N-R = Very light yellow|
|S-Z = Light yellow|
|Z+ = Fancy yellow (a distinct colour: green, pink, blue, purple, yellow, brown, black or red)|
Most good commercial diamonds are in the G to K colour range. The most valuable, most sought after diamonds are colourless. A diamond with a D rating is exceedingly rare.
Clarity is how flawless the diamond is. How many imperfections, or inclusions as we call them, it has as well as their size and position.
Inclusions on the top and in the middle of a diamond can reduce how much light it can reflect, resulting in less sparkle and scintillation.
A diamond’s clarity is measured on a scale of IF (Internally Flawless: no inclusions visible under a 10X magnifying glass) to I3 (Imperfect: inclusions visible to the naked eye).
The fewer inclusions, the clearer, rarer and more valuable the diamond.
Carat is the weight of a diamond, not its size. The word originates from the carob seed that was once used to weigh diamonds.
One carat weighs 200 milligrams or 0.20 grams.
A diamond’s carat determines its price, but it does not signify how valuable it is. Two diamonds that weigh exactly the same can vary significantly in price if their other characteristics – cut, colour and clarity – differ from each other’s.
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