The Lazy Person's Guide to the 4 Cs of Diamond Quality

Ok, ok it's not that you're lazy. It's just that shopping for diamonds can be...well, a bit overwhelming. But buying a diamond is an investment and when it comes to making a big purchase, the more information you have the better. 

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) created The 4 Cs, a globally-recognized grading system to determine a gem's quality and define its value on the market. Appraisals of diamonds and diamond jewelry will always factor in these four GIA-established metrics: 

  • Color
  • Clarity
  • Cut
  • Carat (or carats/ carat weight) 

Keep reading to learn what each of the Cs mean (in as few words as possible).

Color

GIA Color Scale

Interestingly enough, this metric measures the absence of color since "chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue." Read more about about the GIA's D-to-Z color-grading system here.

Clarity

The closer a diamond is to true purity, the more valuable it is. Clarity in this context means the absence of internal inclusions and external blemishes. The GIA  clarity scale has 6 categories and 11 grades.

Cut

Arguably the most important of the Cs, you could have a stone with great clarity and great color, but a bad cut can make your diamond appear dull and lifeless. While cut is often confused with a gem's shape (i.e. round, oval, heart-shaped, and so on), the technical definition of "cut" is actually regarding how well a stone's "facets interact with light." That is, do the polish and proportion of the facets unleash light to appear bright, fiery, and scintillating.

Carats (carat weight)

This is the weight of your gem with 1 metric "carat" = 200 milligrams.

 

Quick Video: 4Cs of Diamond Quality

 4Cs Chart

GIA 4 Cs Chart

Still have questions?

Book An Appointment with Dana and Rad to discuss diamond quality. Virtual and in-studio appointments are available. Dana and Rad have many, many years of gem sourcing and jewelry industry experience. They can answer just about any question you have and will often personally compare hundreds of gems before hand selecting the perfect one(s) for your handmade piece.

Remember that we offer free conflict-free diamond sourcing for any Dana Walden Special Order engagement ring.

Source: 4Cs of Diamond Quality, Gemological Institute of America

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