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The 4Cs

Cut, Colour, Clarity, Carat Weight.

Every diamond is a miracle of time and place and chance. Like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike.

Until the middle of the twentieth century, there was no agreed-upon standard by which diamonds could be judged. GIA created the first, and now globally accepted standard for describing diamonds: Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat Weight.

Today, the 4Cs of Diamond Quality is the universal method for assessing the quality of any diamond, anywhere in the world.

The creation of the Diamond 4Cs meant two very important things: diamond quality could be communicated in a universal language, and diamond customers could now know exactly what they were about to purchase.

Diamond Clarity

Diamond Clarity      
FLFlawless:
No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10x magnification.
Extremely rare, less than 1 in 5000 jewelry quality diamonds are rated FL.
IFInternally Flawless:
No inclusions, only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10x magnification.
FL and IF diamonds appear identical unless viewed under 10x magnification by a skilled grader. Less than 3% of jewelry quality diamonds are rated IF.
VVS1
VVS2
Very, Very Slightly Included:
Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification.
VVS1 inclusions are typically only visible from the pavilion, while VVS2 inclusions are visible from the crown. In each, the inclusions are invisible to the eye, appearing identical to the higher grades unless viewed under 10x magnification by a skilled grader.
VS1
VS2
Very Slightly Included:
Inclusions are clearly visible under 10x magnification but can be characterized as minor.
Inclusions are not visible to the naked eye. Perhaps 1 in 100 untrained observers can detect VS2 inclusions with the naked eye, on close inspection under ideal conditions.
SI1
SI2
Slightly Included:
Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader using 10x magnification.
SI1 is the lowest grade with flaws often invisible to the naked eye. SI2 inclusions are usually visible to the naked eye, although they will require close inspection.
I1
I2
I3
Included:
Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance.
I1 diamonds have inclusions that are almost always visible to the naked eye.
Because I2-I3 diamonds have prounounced inclusions, and in the case of I3 may even affect the diamond's durability

Diamond Color

Diamond Color  
ColorlesscolorlessWhile there are differences in color between D, E, and F diamonds, they can be detected only by a gemologist in side by side comparisons, and rarely by the untrained eye.
D-F diamonds should only be set in white gold / platinum. Yellow gold reflects color, negating the diamond's colorless effect.
Near Colorlessnear_colorlessWhile containing traces of color, G-J diamonds are suitable for a platinum or white gold setting, which would normally betray any hint of color in a diamond.
Because I-J diamonds are more common than the higher grades, they tend to be a great value. An I-J diamond may retail for half the price of a D diamond. Within the G-J range, price tends to increase 10-20% between each diamond grade.
Faint Colorfaint_colorBeginning with K diamonds, color (usually a yellow tint) is more easily detected by the naked eye.
Set in yellow gold, these warm colored diamonds appeal to some, and are an exceptional value. Others will feel they have too much color. Due to its perceptible color tint, a K diamond is often half the price of a G diamond.
Very Light Colorvlight_colorDiamonds in the N-R color range have an easily seen yellow or brown tint, but are much less expensive than higher grades.If you desire a diamond in this range, request a price quote using the custom diamond search.
Light Colorlight_colorFor almost all customers, S-Z diamonds have too much color for a white diamond. If you desire a diamond in this range, request a price quote using the custom diamond search.

Diamond Cut

Diamond Cut 
shallow_diamond_cutIf the diamond cut is too shallow, entering light strikes the pavilion facet at a low angle and passes through the facet (refracts), escaping through the bottom of the diamond.
deep_diamond_cutIf the diamond cut is too deep, entering light strikes the first pavilion facet at an angle sharp enough to reflect to the second pavilion. But the light strikes the second pavilion at too low an angle, causing the light to refract (pass through the facet), escaping through the bottom of the diamond.
correct_diamond_cutIn a well cut diamond, the light strikes each pavilion facet at an angle which allows most of the light to reflect back to the crown (top). As it passes through the crown facets at a low angle, the light refracts upon exit. In this case, refraction is a good thing, as the bent light travels to the observer's eye and is perceived as a lively fire.

Carat Weight

0.25 CT0.50 CT0.75CT1.00 CT1.25 CT1.50 CT2.0 CT2.5 CT3.0 CT
250575100125150200250300
Each carat can be subdivided into 100 'points.' This allows very precise measurements to the hundredth decimal place. A jeweler may describe the weight of a diamond below one carat by its 'points' alone. For instance, the jeweler may refer to a diamond that weighs 0.25 carats as a 'twenty-five pointer.' Diamond weights greater than one carat are expressed in carats and decimals. A 1.08 carat stone would be described as 'one point oh eight carats.'