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The 4C’s of diamonds – Clarity, Color, Cut & Carat Size

Diamonds have been prized through the ages for their beauty and rarity. How beautiful, and how rare, they are is determined by the Four C’s. So let’s define them.

Clarity – This indicates how clear the diamond is, how free from blemishes and other imperfections.
Color – Diamonds are found in a variety of colors, but in general, the whiter the better.

Cut – This refers to not only the shape of the stone, but its proportions, factors which determine the sparkle of the diamond.

Carat size – This is actually the weight of the stone, not its dimensions.

The price you’ll pay for a diamond depends on the four C’s. They determine what I call the fifth C: The cost.

Diamonds are pure crystallized carbon, often containing minor traces of impurities. Diamonds are formed at very high pressure and very high temperatures deep in the earth, and diamond is the hardest natural substances on earth. Diamond enhancements are specific treatments performed on natural or synthetic diamonds (usually those already cut and polished into a gem), which are designed to better the gemological characteristics of the stone in one or more ways. These include laser drilling to remove inclusions, application of sealants to fill cracks, treatments to improve a white diamond's color grade, and treatments to give fancy color to a white diamond

Before we learn how to grade the quality of a diamond and determine what it should cost, let me share some acquired wisdom about diamond buying. Don’t ever lose sight of the fact that you’re probably buying a diamond to make te love of your life happy. If you ask a woman what she’d like in a diamond, she’s not going to say, “Honey, I want to have one and a half carat, VSI-F in a class II cut.” (If she does, better rob a bank-this woman is going to be expensive!) What she’d say is something like, “Honey, I want it to be big, clear, white, and sparkly.” It’s your job to take those general adjectives, translate them into diamond grades, decide on a stone, and get your money’s worth.

Remember focusing on only one C will rarely satisfy anyone. You can buy a one carat diamond for a few hundred dollars if you ignore color, cut, and clarity. The idea is to find a balance.
Also remember never buy a diamond that’s already in a setting. The setting makes it almost impossible to examine the stone carefully. Buy the diamond first, and then decide what setting to put it into.  

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