The Four C’s of Diamonds: A Quick Guide

07 February 2014

For most people, buying a diamond is a unique experience, perhaps even once-in-a-lifetime. But it should not be overwhelming or confusing as long as you are armed with the right know-how in selecting the best quality you can afford. This quick guide to a diamond’s four C’s will surely take you to your perfect diamond.


Of the four C’s, carat weight is the only standard that can be objectively measured. A carat is 1/5 of a gram, or 0.007 of an ounce. Jewelers use very advanced scales to weigh diamonds to hundredths of a carat. However, carat weight must not be confused with diamond size. A diamond is viewed from the top once it is set in a ring. The size is determined by the width of the diamond table divided by the average diameter, and these dimensions are highly influenced by how the diamond was cut. But the larger the size does not necessarily mean the more weight the diamond has. The average diamond engagement ring is less than .50 carats, and generally, the more it weighs, the more it is going to cost. One must keep in mind, though, that cost increase is not proportional to increase in weight. Doubling the weight of the stone will not double the cost… it will quadruple the price tag!


When selecting a diamond, keep in mind that the less color, the better. A clearer diamond reflects more colors of the rainbow back to the eye and, hence, is considered more brilliant. Most diamonds, though they appear to be icy white, have tints of yellow or brown. A perfectly colorless diamond is very rare and valuable. There are exceptions, however. “Fancy color diamonds” lie outside the yellow and brown color range. They may be pink or blue and are highly valuable and sought after.

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grades diamond color and its scale starts with the letter “D” to classify absolutely colorless diamonds. The rating “Z” represents stones with very noticeable color. As a general rule, diamonds rated “J” or higher are colorless to the naked eye.


A diamond’s clarity grade is a measure of its internal purity. A stone is more rare and valuable if it has fewer imperfections. The clarity scale was also developed by the GIA and consists of 11 levels. An F1 (Flawless) rating is for those stones totally free of imperfections under 10x magnification. IF (Internally Flawless) only has minor surface blemishes that do not penetrate the stone.

4) CUT

Cut is considered by many to be the most important standard, but also the most difficult to evaluate. A diamond’s cut is what makes it sparkle and dazzle us. Two diamonds of the same carat weight could have value disparity of as much as 50% due solely to the quality of the cut. In general, diamonds are cut to produce 58 tiny facets, and a good cut has more scintillation or sparkle. A finely cut diamond will appear very clear and fiery while a poorly cut one will be dull and lifeless, regardless of the stone’s innate quality. The GIA created a five-tier scale ranging from Excellent to Poor to grade a diamond’s cut.

Ken Ross Jewellers

Established in 1954, Ken Ross Jewellers is renowned for producing and maintaining fine jewelry and watches. And over the decades, many awards have been won. Ken Ross Jewellers specializes in supplying fine jewelry like diamonds and semi-precious stones, plus repairs for rings, wedding bands and watches. For a valuation of a diamond you have, repairs on a wedding ring or new precious diamond jewelry, contact:

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