We’re covering the 4C’s: colour, cut, clarity, and carat, what they are and why they matter. Are cut and shape interchangeable? How to determine what’s right for you, and more.
Almost all diamonds come with a certain amount of colour. Even the ones that seem clear could have hints of yellow or brown in them. Because the absence of colour is more rare, this does play a role in determining the price of a diamond and the colour grade can only be determined by a certified professional. Now, how is colour, technically, graded?
Well, it’s done according to the GIA’s White Diamond Color-Grade Scale. This ranges from D to Z. Beyond K, the colour is evident to the naked eye. A D - F diamond is usually ice-like & clear. G-H & I - J have less colour, hence they look near clear, especially to the naked eye. This gives great value for money & diamonds K onwards are budget-friendly, but in the right setting, can look stunning!
The cut of a diamond is determined by how well-proportioned the facets of a diamond are. Basically, it’s all about symmetry. The perfect proportions, polish, and symmetry increase the sparkle and brilliance of a diamond. The right cut holds a lot of importance, as it can really enhance or diminish the beauty of a diamond. Most experts agree, that investing in the best cut, above all, is the key to value for money.
Width and depth have a large effect on how light travels through the prism of a diamond, so ensure a diamond isn’t too shallow or too deep. But, several other factors go into the official grading of a diamond’s cut: the girdle, the crown, the table, etc… This determines the scintillation, brilliance, and fire of a diamond. Basis this, a grade is assigned. Cut is usually graded according to a scale that ranges from ‘Poor’ to ‘Excellent.’
While many understand this as size, technically, carat refers to the weight of a diamond. Proportionately, many relate more carats to more money. But, here’s where cut comes into play. While a large (higher carat) diamond can be very expensive, this depends on the brilliance and sparkle of a diamond too.
If a diamond is large, but of a poor cut category, this can significantly bring down the value of a diamond. When investing in a diamond, experts recommend using the entire weight scale, which means - you don’t have to round up. A 2.90 carat diamond can look almost as big as a 3.0 carat diamond, so look to save on that.
This chart illustrates how diamonds of different carat weights and shapes will appear when viewed from the top down. Your diamond measurements may differ from the chart in length/width ratio, table, and depth.
Scroll to view entire chart
It’s basically a way to measure any sort of flaws or imperfections in a diamond, both, on the surface and within the stone. Most inclusions, as they’re known, aren’t visible to the naked eye and so, don’t have a noticeable effect on a diamond. The constitution of a natural diamond is made up entirely of its flaws, or
internal characteristics, so perfection isn’t exactly what gemologists are looking for. But, a diamond that’s rather clear, with the least amount of inclusions, is usually more expensive. As per the GIA’s guidance, there are 6 categories and 11 diamond clarity grades in the diamond grading scale.
In fact, diamonds are found, naturally, in a varying range of colours: from pink and blue to grey, white, yellow, and green, and other colours of the rainbow. It’s very rare to find a diamond that holds natural colour.
The more intense the colour, the more expensive the diamond. Coloured diamonds are graded on a different scale, one where the same rules on cut and clarity don’t apply, as they do to white diamonds.
Shape, not to be confused with the cut of a diamond, is merely the physical outline of a diamond. It’s the view from the top. Each shape, often called cut, has its own characteristics and qualities.
The round-shape, is usually the most expensive. It enhances the sparkle and brilliance of any cut, is universally flattering, and blend well with most settings. But, more fancy shapes, like pear, emerald, and marquise, offer a variety of options - in terms of styling, setting, and design.