The 4C’s of Diamonds: Diamond Buying Guide
DIAMOND STORY RECOMMENDS:
Each of these 4 C’s (Carat, Colour, Clarity and Carat) of the diamond can play a significant role in deciding the diamond’s beauty. Just one component cannot define the value of the diamond. The way the 4 C’s interact with each other within the diamond, defines the ultimate beauty and the quality of the diamond. As a general rule, Diamond Story recommends placing the highest focus on the cut of the diamond, as it greatly impacts the overall reflection from the diamond. In doing so, play with the colour and clarity, to get the maximum bang for your buck. For example, with the right cut a 0.8 Carat Round Excellent Cut Diamond (J colour, SI1 Clarity) can look equally as good as a 1.1 Carat Round Brilliant Cut Diamond (I Colour, VS1 Clarity).
For further assistance and better deals, contact one of our experts today.
WHAT ARE THE 4 C’s OF DIAMONDS?
A diamonds 4 C’s represent the four main components of any diamond that defines its structure and its beauty: Cut, Clarity, Carats and Colour. When looking at a diamond with the naked eye, the diamond perceives its beauty by the balance of these characteristics within the diamond. However, there are factors beyond the 4 C’s that also affect the beauty of a diamond.
Each one of these 4 C’s are graded on a predefined scale, carefully as per industry standards. Though a lot of universal standards exist, they do tend to vary from the lab entity that certifies them. The most consistent and pioneering entity – especially when it comes to gaining a certification for your diamond, and the one we recommend is GIA.
The gradings of the 4 C’s helps determine the overall final value of the diamond as well as serves as a quality certificate. Diamond sellers decide the pricing of a particular diamond based on these certified grading reports. Knowing the basics of these grading reports surely helps, especially when comparing two diamonds. However, at the end of the day- how the diamond appears to the naked eye and how attractive the overall diamond remains the most important factor determining the preciousness of these stones.
In this sense, a foundational understanding of the 4 C’s is imperative as a buyer to prevent yourself from getting scammed or ripped off. We have got your back with an extensive guide to help you understand these 4 C’s in better detail.
Diamonds cut refers to the quality of the diamond’s angles, the overall symmetry, brilliance, scintillation and fire within it. These factors have a direct effect on the sparkle and reflection of the diamond. It also affects it aesthetic appeal.
The GIA grades the Diamond Cut on the scale of Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor. The cut of a diamond varies significantly based on a customer needs. At times, the diamond cutters may cut the diamond too shallow or too deep, in order to maximise its carat weight. At other times, a diamond maybe cut in a way to minimize the number of inclusions in the diamond. Sometimes, an ideal cut may have a slight yellow tinge that can take away from the beauty of the diamond.
However, Cut must always be the focal point of your diamond purchase. If the cut is poor, even a diamond with no inclusions and no tinge may look dull and lifeless. The cut of the diamond is the biggest determinant of its beauty and must be given top priority. Almost 55% of all diamonds sold online are excellent cuts. Most of these diamonds are stunning however, a few are mediocre. An great example of a standout diamond is the Diamond Story 1.60 carat Excellent Cut VS2.
As the cut is such an important contributor to a diamonds beauty, its crucial that you consult an expert to carefully review the cut of your diamonds.
Diamond Colour is graded according to the colourlessness of the diamond. GIA grades for the colour range from D to Z, D being colourless and Z being strikingly yellow or brown. The prices of the diamonds depend on the colour grades as well, often, significantly. In many cases the naked eye cannot tell the difference between two adjacent colour grades however, the pricing could be significantly different.
The colour of a diamond also depends on the setting of the ring or jewellery. While testing or looking at a diamond, its imperative to make sure that there aren’t any other external factors interfering with the colour of the diamond.
As a recommendation, Diamond Story suggests that you consult an expert before making a purchase, so that you receive guidance before and during the purchase.
It is also important to keep in mind that there are naturally tinted diamonds that come in fancy colours such as pink or green. These diamonds have a different colour grade scheme than the traditional diamonds.
A Diamonds Clarity denotes how clean a diamond is i.e. the presence of inclusions and blemishes or lack of them thereof. Clarity is graded on the following scale:
- FL (Flawless)
- IF (Internally Flawless)
- VVS1 (Very, Very Slightly Included 1)
- VVS2 (Very, Very Slightly Included 2)
- VS1 (Very Slightly Included 1)
- VS2 (Very Slightly Included 2)
- SI1 (Slightly Included 1)
- SI2 (Slightly Included 2)
- I1 (Inclusions 1)
- I2 (Inclusions 2)
Depending on the size as well as the location of these blemishes or inclusions, these imperfections interfere with the light as it reflects through the diamond. The brilliance of the diamond is thereby reducing, making the diamond appear dull. Since the certificate won’t give you an overall understanding of how much these inclusions will affect your diamond, it is advisable to consult an expert for his advice.
More often than not, customers associate the term “carat weight” to the size of the diamond. However, this is not true. The carat weight of the diamond determines the actual weight of the stone and not its dimensions. A carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams or 0.2 grams which is equivalent to the weight of a quarter of a raisin. The cut and the shape of the diamond play a large role in determining the size of a diamond.
Carat is a factor that determines the price and value of the diamond, however, more importance should be given to the overall brilliance and fire of the diamond.
SO HOW DO THESE 4 C’s WORK TOGETHER?
Each of the 4 c’s contribute to the overall sparkle, value and the beauty of a diamond and make it stand out and different from the rest. A Diamond however, is a culmination of all these qualities. The eye has difficulty disassociating each component and factor from the other. Therefore, it is important to understand how these factors work together.
Cut: As emphasised before, the most important aspect of a diamond is its cut. Look for a diamond with an excellent cut and compromise on the colour or clarity, to ensure that the diamond fits your budget.
Colour: The colour of the diamond is generally the second most important factor that you should focus on while making a diamond purchase. A diamond must not have any colour, at least while looking at it from the naked eye.
Clarity: The third most important priority while purchasing a diamond is its clarity. We advise you to choose a diamond that does not have inclusions that are visible to the eye. Blemishes and inclusions should not distract from the scintillation and brilliance of the diamond. To know more about the inclusions on a diamond and how much impact they have on the actual sparkle of the diamond, we suggest you contact one of our diamond experts.
Carat: Carat comes last on the list but it’s not the least. For this component we recommend using your own discretion. Would you rather have a heavy diamond that is not as sparkly, or would you invest in a stone that sparkles to the high heavens. At Diamond Story, we recommend lowering your carat weight and going for high sparkle than vice versa.
Now that you have a fundamental understanding of the diamonds, remember that you must consider all these factors as one whilst picking your diamond. If you are still unsure about your purchase, have one of our diamond experts evaluate it for you.