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What are the Four C’s of diamonds?

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The four C's of a diamond - BIXLER

Most people don’t know much about diamonds. When the time comes to go shopping for one, chances are you’ll be a little lost. However, there are only four main characteristics that you need to worry about when it comes to diamonds, known as the Four C’s of Diamonds. These factors affect not only the look of the diamond but also its price. Below we have a quick breakdown of each of those four C’s, along with some extra information you should know.

The Origin of the Four C’s of Diamonds

The organization that first introduced these standards to the jewelry industry was the Gemological Institute of America. GIA is a non-profit organization and an independent entity. It holds quality standards and educates industry professionals and jewelers all around the world. One of the functions of this organization is to receive diamonds, grade their quality, and then give a written report to jewelers. They evaluate diamonds and grade them based on the four C’s of diamonds which include carat weight, cut, clarity, and color.

The GIA maintains its objectivity by keeping all diamonds unidentified. When a diamond arrives at their lab, it is then placed in a transparent box and all the reference details are removed from it. Only a bar code is placed on each box that can be used to track the diamond during the process. They perform several tests on each diamond and then grade them based on the results and the four C’s.

The four C’s

These four C’s of diamonds include clarity, color, cut, and carat weight. These standards were first introduced by GIA and are still accepted as the global standard. Here’s a quick breakdown of each of them.

Clarity

Each diamond has different characteristics because of the heat and pressure they endure before extracted. As a result of these conditions, the diamonds get blemishes internally and sometimes externally. Every diamond has some sort of impurity, which is why this scale has 6 categories and 11 specific grades to determine the clarity of a diamond. These blemishes can’t be seen with the naked eye. Only an expert can tell the difference between two specific clarity grades, which is why organizations like the GIA exist.

The Four C's of diamonds - BIXLER
Diamond Clarity Graph

Color

Generally, a colorless diamond is the best you can get. See-through diamonds are most likely to be of better quality than those with some sort of color. You want your diamond to be as transparent as a drop of water. Consequently, these high-quality diamonds will be pricier than the average diamond. To determine a diamond’s degree of colorlessness, they’re put in an environment with controlled lighting and precise viewing capabilities. These colors are seldom visible to the naked eye, which is why special conditions are needed. The color chart for a diamond goes from D (colorless) to S (the most color).

The Four C's of diamonds - BIXLER
Diamond Color Chart

Cut

We see diamond cuts as simple shapes, but a diamond cut is actually all about how the diamond interacts with light. Out of the four C’s, the cut is the most important and the most complex. It requires precise artistry and professional craftsmanship to cut a diamond just the right way. During this process, the proportions, symmetry, and polishing are all important factors that an expert has to consider. GIA has seven components on which the Cut grading is based. The first three include Brightness, Fire, and Scintillation. These evaluate the diamond’s overall appearance.  On the other hand, the Weight Ratio, Durability, Polish, and Symmetry evaluate the diamond’s design and craftsmanship.

The Four C's of diamonds - BIXLER
Diamond Cut Chart

Fun Fact

Round-cut diamonds are currently the most popular cut out there, while a few decades ago it used to be cushion-cut diamonds.

Carat

When thinking of carat weight, the first thing that comes to your mind is probably gold. Well, the diamond carat weight is different than a gold carat, but it’s still simply a measurement of the weight. 1 carat is equal to 200 milligrams and can be subdivided into 100 ‘points’. There are diamonds that range from 0.25 carats to as much as 15 carats. Larger diamonds are much rarer, and therefore their price is much higher on the jewelry market. Keep in mind that this is just one of the C’s that determines the cost of the diamond and that the other 3 are just as important.

The Four C's of diamonds - BIXLER
Diamond Carat Chart

To have all this on hand, download this PDF guide on the Four C’s of diamonds.

Check out our other blogs on halo rings and solitaire rings.

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