4 C's of Diamond Grading

Diamond Ring

Diamonds are easier to buy than every before. With laboratory services like Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and other International laboratories, customers are more comfortable and confident in what and who they are buying from. Before you select your diamond, remember, the 4 C’s are merely a guideline. You need to actually see the diamond before you select it. Contact us to see a small selection and let the diamond choose you. One diamond will stand out and say, take me!


This is a unit of weight like pounds, grams, kilos, etc. There are 100 points in a carat 1/100cts = 1point. 100/100 = 1carat (ct). 1/4carat .25cts are one in the same. The carat is the weight of the diamond.


This is probably the most important of the 4 C’s as it has to do with the overall appearance of the diamond. It determines a diamonds fire, sparkle and brilliance, and includes five categories: shape, symmetry, polish, proportions and finish. That may seem like a lot, but here it is simplified.

• Brilliance – the total light reflected from a diamond
• Fire – the dispersion of light into the colors of the spectrum
• Scintillation – the light will perform in and on the diamond dictated by the angles and shapes of the facets. In short, the sparkle factor!

The five categories used to assess a diamond’s cut are pretty self-explanatory, but shape can be very important when selecting a gem for purchase. The most common shape is the standard round brilliant diamond. All others, such as pear, emerald and heart cuts are known as fancy shapes.


A diamond can come in every color of the spectrum, but the colors that are considered the least desirable are the grays, browns and the combinations of each. On a scale, color begins at D, colorless, and darkens in color alphabetically to Z. The change in color from letter to letter is very slight and the color will drop the price of the diamond as it moves down the alphabet. Colored diamonds, such as pinks and blues, are categorized starting with fancy light, fancy, intense, vivid and deep, and jump exponentially in price with each grade. DEF is colorless, GHIJ K-Z running near colorless up to faint color and lastly light yellow (typically).



The clarity of a diamond is judged based on any natural imperfections found internally (inclusions) or externally (blemishes).
Highest of clarity grade and investment value are the following: Flawless, Internally Flawless, Very Very Slightly Included to the first and second degree, as well as Very Slightly Included to the first degree. Imperfections at these levels can only be detected with 10 to 50 times magnification.

The next clarity grades, yielding a lower investment value, are Very Slightly Included to the second degree, Slightly Included to the first and second degree, and Included at the first, second, and third degree. Imperfections on these diamonds are easier to see only requiring 10 times magnification or the use of a loupe, a hand held magnification device used by jewelers.

*The Cut(Shape) can change what you want out of clarity. If you are buying a diamond with step cut faceting, you will want a better clarity grade because the faceting reflects less light and looks more like a window. Brilliantine cut diamonds can hide inclusions better because they reflect more light through the top of the stone. They have more facets and in turn (with a well cut diamond) bring more “life” (fire, scintillation) out of it.

For more information visit the Gemological Institute of America who created the standard for grading Diamonds and Fine Gem Stones. http://www.gia.edu/lab-reports-services/about-the-4cs/index.html