The 4 C's of Diamonds

Carat Weight

Diamonds are small so the scale that is used to describe diamond weights uses very small units. A carat equals 1/5 of one gram. A carat is divided into 100 points. A diamond can be described as 75 points or .75 carats or 3/4 of a carat. It is a good practice to know the exact weight of a diamond when buying or selling.


The Cut of a diamond has two main components. First, cut refers to the shape of the stone. Round, marquise, pear, oval, square, princess all describe the shape of the diamond.

 Engagement Ring Diamond Shapes
The second component is the way the facets are positioned on the diamond. When a diamond is cut to quality proportions the maximum light is returned through the top of the stone giving a great light show. Cuts that are too shallow or too deep allow light to escape resulting in loss of brilliance.

Engagement Diamond idealEngagement Diamond too shallowEngagement Diamond too deep


Judging diamond color is actually looking for the absence of color or transparency (except fancy color). The color grading scale starts with D meaning totally colorless and moves down the alphabet subtly increasing in body color.

 Engagement Diamond Colors


Most diamonds contain inclusions. Inclusions are natural birthmarks and useful as identifying characteristics. Clarity grading is done with 10 power magnification. The number, size, type, and location of inclusions determine the grade. The fewer inclusions the more valuable the diamond.
 FL Flawless  No blemishes or inclusions
 IF Internally Flawless  No inclusions,
 only insignificant blemishes
 VVS1-VVS2 Very, very slightly included  Minute inclusions
 difficult to see
 VS1-VS2 Very slightly included  Minor inclusions difficult to
 somewhat easy to see
 SI1-SI2 Slightly included  Noticeable inclusions that are
 easy to see
 I1-I2-I3 Eye visible inclusions  Obvious inclusions,
 I3 may threaten durability

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