Understanding the 4 Cs Before Buying A Diamond Ring
When you’re looking for a piece of jewelry with any sort of diamond, you’re probably wondering why one ring that looks exactly identical to another costs more. That’s because of a little something called the “4 Cs.”
Think of every diamond as having its own personality since every single one is completely different (even if it looks the same to the naked eye).
So, what are the 4 Cs and how do they play a role in the beauty of a diamond for fashion jewelry or a diamond engagement ring?
Cut is the most important factor that affects the beauty of the diamond and is different than the shape of the diamond. It refers to the arrangement of the diamonds’ facets and the craftsmanship quality such as proportion, angle and polish. Cut is what will affect the sparkle of your diamond and how it interacts with light to create ‘fire’. This scale ranges from excellent—meaning it has an even pattern of bright and dark areas and is not too shallow or deep—to poor, where a diamond is limited by its weight ratio.
Color uses GIA’s D-to-Z grading system which measures how colorless a diamond is by comparing a stone under controlled lighting. D is the first letter in the scale and refers to colorless. Z represents yellow tones and is last on the scale. With each letter, the amount of color increases. A colorless diamond in the D-F color range is very rare to find, while one with a yellow tint toward the end of the scale is most common.
Clarity refers to the size, placement, color of inclusions and total number of inclusions and blemishes on a diamond. Most inclusions are not visible to the naked eye without magnification or a loupe, however, some such as I1-I3 are. The clarity scale ranges from flawless (FL) to included (I3). Flawless (FL) means no inclusions or blemishes visible under a 10x magnification. Internally flawless (IF) means no inclusions, but has external blemishes that are visible through 10x magnification. VVS1 and VVS2 are both very, very slightly included, which means inclusions are visible under 10x magnification. Very slightly included (VS1 and VS2) means there are minor inclusions that are range from difficult to somewhat easy to see under 10x magnification. Slightly included (SI1 and Sl2) means there are easy-to-see inclusions under 10x magnification. Lastly, there is included (I1, I2, I3) meaning there are obvious inclusions under 10x magnification that may affect the brilliance of the diamond. Inclusions and blemishes should not distract from the brilliance.
Carat refers to the weight of a diamond, not the size. A “carat” is 200 milligrams. A ‘bigger’ size doesn’t mean that it’s more expensive; you have to take the other three Cs into account. Bigger diamonds are more rare and desirable, making the price higher for quality pieces.
When it comes to the 4 Cs, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It’s up to you to determine which diamond personality matches your personality.