If you’ve ever purchased a diamond or are considering buying one, you probably have heard about the 4Cs of diamonds. This article will guide you through the different C’s and debunk some common diamond quality myths that many people still believe today.
What Are the 4 C’s of Diamonds?
The 4Cs of diamonds are the global standard in evaluating the quality and value of a diamond and consist of colour, clarity, cut, and carat weight.
Diamond colour is the natural tint found in most natural diamonds, and this can range from a light yellow to complete colours. Diamonds with poor colour grades will possess a yellowish tint. Coloured diamonds may negatively affect light absorption, dimming their sparkle. Comparatively, a colourless diamond will have better reflective properties.
Diamond Buying Tip: If you’re looking for a diamond with a focus on brilliance and sparkle, don’t prioritise a diamond’s colour. Ultimately, the deciding factor of a diamond’s radiance will lie in its cut.
Diamond clarity refers to the flaws a diamond has and is separated into two categories:
Blemishes - external flaws of a diamond such as scratches and chips.
Inclusions - internal flaws of a diamond such as pinpoints and crystals.
Evaluators will meticulously inspect the diamond with magnification to identify any flaws not observable by the human eye. You would be correct in assuming that the fewer flaws a diamond possesses, the better the stone would be graded in clarity.
Diamond Buying Tip: A diamond with a high clarity grade doesn’t necessarily equate to superior shine or sparkle. While some buyers may want a “flawless” clarity diamond for symbolic purposes, the naked eye won’t be able to differentiate the differences between a “flawless” graded diamond and a high-graded diamond. However, as diamond size increases, flaws may become more observable.
A diamond’s cut is examined by looking at the diamond's symmetry, proportion and polish.
Symmetry - how precisely the diamond’s facets align and intersect.
Proportion - the angles and measurements of a diamond.
Polish - the level of condition and finish on the diamond’s outside facets.
It's essential to observe the cut when buying diamonds. An ideal cut diamond will reflect and refract light for superior brightness and shine. Generally speaking, a shallow or deep-cut diamond will not perform as well as a cut with perfect proportions. When meticulously cut, each diamond facet acts as a tiny mirror, reflecting a large amount of light entering the diamond and then cast back into the observer's eyes.
Diamond Buying Tip: diamond shape and diamond cut are two different things. A shape will refer to the outline of a diamond (e.g. a heart or star-shaped diamond), while the cut of a diamond pertains to the proportions and finishings.
4. Carat Weight
Carat weight represents the weight of the diamond and one carat is around .20 grams. Please note that carat does not equal size. For instance, two diamonds of the same carat weight may vary in size if one has a more shallow cut than the other.
Diamond Buying Tip: Don’t be misled by the traditional notion that carat equals quality. Because carat weight has become such a symbolic gesture of quality and status, carat weight has become the most significant influencer in the price of a diamond. Coupling this with the fact that 90% of polished diamonds in the market are cut to optimise weight instead of optical performance, it can be easy for the casual buyer to mistakenly buy an expensive, carat-heavy diamond that could easily be just a mediocre stone.
Which of the 4Cs Are Most Important?
The diamond industry considers the cut paramount when evaluating quality. The cut will determine the stone's beauty, sparkle, and overall brilliance more than colour, carat, and clarity.
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