Sarabia Jewelry's Guide to Diamonds

 

The 4Cs

Every diamond, like a human fingerprint, has certain distinguishing characteristics. The 4Cs—color, clarity, cut and carat weight—are the globally accepted standards for assessing the quality of a diamond.

 

Cut

The most important of the 4Cs—cut—refers to how a diamond’s facets interact with light. It is determined by symmetry, proportion and polish. More than any other factor, cut determines the beauty of the stone.

If a diamond is cut poorly, it will appear dull even if it has a high color and clarity grade. If a diamond is cut well, it will reflect and refract light for maximum brightness and sparkle

Clarity

Clarity is a measure of the purity and rarity of the stone, graded by the visibility of these characteristics under 10-power magnification. A stone is graded as flawless if, under 10-power magnification, no inclusions (internal flaws) and no blemishes (external imperfections) are visible. 

A diamond with a poor clarity grade has multiple inclusions, which directly affects sparkle. Because inclusions hinder the refraction and return of light, the lower the clarity grade, the cloudier the diamond will appear.

Color

Color refers to the natural tint inherent in white diamonds. Color refers to the natural tint inherent in white diamonds. In nature, most white diamonds have a slight tint of yellow. The closer to being “colorless” a diamond is, the rarer it is. The industry standard for grading color is to evaluate each stone against a master set and assign a letter grade from “D” (colorless) to “Z” (light yellow). 

Color is the second most important of the 4Cs because the color grade directly affects the stone’s appearance. Diamonds with a poor color grade can appear slightly yellow instead of the desired brilliant white. 

Carat

Carat denotes the weight of a diamond. Carat weight can appear differently across different diamond shapes such as round brilliant, princess, pear, oval, cushion, marquise, emerald, radiant or heart. A diamond may have a higher carat weight without appearing larger and two diamonds of the same carat weight can vary in size if one is cut deeper than the other. In other words, it is important to note that carat weight does not necessarily denote size.

Taken by itself, carat weight does not determine a diamond’s value. For example, two one-carat stones can vary widely in price when clarity, color and cut are taken into consideration. When that is understood, it is clear that large diamonds of peerless quality are rare.