The 4 C’s of Diamonds

The subject of Diamonds is very broad, a diamond’s cost is based on the characteristics known as the “4 C’s” (carat, color, clarity and cut). These are the industry standards utilized by many jewelers around the world. While clarity is frequently assumed to be the most important factor of all the “C’s”, in fact, color and cut (especially cut) have a more profound affect on the visual appearance of a diamond.

Carat:  Translates into the actual size of a diamond. Just like how a dollar is made up of 100 pennies, a one carat diamond contains 100 points, ¾ carat contains 75 points, etc.

The word “carat” comes from the seed of the carob tree pod which is found in tropical climates. These seeds were used until this century to weigh precious gems.

Color: The color of diamonds can range a great deal, the most common range is known as white to a yellow color. Increasing degrees of body color are measured on a scale ranging from no color at all (D) to deeply colored (Z).  The most common range is between D-J.

Clarity: The clarity grade of a diamond refers to the amount of inclusions in a diamond, which are the natural flaws that are in a diamond. Clarity is measured on a scale ranging from pure (flawless) to heavily included (I-3). The final clarity grade is usually determined by how easy the inclusions and blemishes are for the grader to see.

Cut:   Most people refer to this as the shape, but it also explains the proportions of a diamond. Sometimes the forgotten “C”, ensures that a given stone has maximum brilliance and sparkle which would not be the case if the stone was cut for weight alone.

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