The Four C’s of Diamonds

One of the things you’ve no doubt come across in your search for the perfect diamond is something called the Four C’s.

The Four C’s stand for: Color, Carat, Clarity and Cut.

While each of "The Four C's" is an important factor in selecting your diamond, we find that some are worth more consideration than as they can significantly increase the final "C" — the COST of your diamond.

The challenge is to balance the Four C’s in order to create the perfect engagement ring. Our philosophy is that some of the C’s are more important than others. We have a whole video series dedicated to this topic which you can watch by clicking here or you can keep reading. This will be incredibly helpful. Promise.



How important is color in a diamond? And what does this mean for the other 4 C’s of diamonds? Diamonds are graded on color from D – Z, with D perfectly clear and white in overtone and having no color whatsoever. The further down you get on the scale, the more yellow, brownish, or grayish a diamond can look. Because diamonds are a product of nature, each one is formed differently and sometimes another element has become trapped in the carbon as the diamond is forming. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

 This is how we get blue diamonds, pink diamonds and the ultra rare red diamonds. But most commonly the color changes on a diamond will go from white to yellow. Typically going up one grade in color can result in about a 15% increase in cost on the stone. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but a general rule of thumb.


Clarity in a Diamond


A diamond is a product of nature. When a diamond forms deep underground, it never forms perfectly; there are always flaws because it is a natural product of the earth. The industry term for these flaws is inclusions (probably because our customers don’t like hearing the word “flaws!”).

For us, clarity is a high jump bar – our philosophy is that as long as the diamond has no inclusions that bother your naked eye, you are over the bar, and it’s a waste of money to buy a stone with gemologically perfect clarity.

This is why it’s so hard to buy diamonds online – you can’t see what you’re evaluating.

Online stores will try to get around this by presenting a certificate on the diamond, but grading the diamond is subjective as well, and the certificate really doesn’t provide you all the information you need.

We can’t even tell you how many times I’ve sent two virtually identical stones to the gem lab and gotten two different grades. For that matter, on several occasions we’ve sent the same stone to the lab twice and gotten different grades from different gemologists!

The problem with relying on a certificate is that it’s subjective.

At the end of the day, it’s just the opinion of the guy at the lab. You can get different grading on the same stone from a different lab, or send the stone back to the same lab and get a different grade from a different grader in the lab on another day.

A lot of people ask us what’s the difference between GIA and EGL USA.

Here are two links to videos we made explaining the difference between EGL and GIA diamonds for you — please have a look below.  It is our philosophy to not buy the certificate for the diamond but the diamond itself and a diamond that has been assessed by a professional.

Since it’s a subjective system, there’s no way you can trust a certificate accompanying an online diamond 100%, which is why it’s so important to know your jeweler – there’s nothing better than a pair of human eyes that you trust looking at your diamond for you.

Cut in a Diamond


There are two aspects to cut. The first one is simple: what shape do you want? Round? Oval? Princess? If you don’t know yet, click here to compare different cuts of diamonds.

The complex aspect to cuts is that for each given shape, it’s well understood how they are supposed to be cut. There is a mathematical process that diamond cutters use when cutting the stones: they know the angles they are supposed to cut, where the facets are supposed to meet, and the proportions each facet should have. With today’s technology, we can measure these facets very precisely.

So why do we care about cut? A diamond doesn’t have performance value like a car. A diamond’s only job is to sparkle and is designed to refract as much light as possible. And it’s the cut that makes it do that. So why not cut the stones the same way every single time since we have tools and processes to do this?

As we mentioned earlier, diamonds are products of nature and not impervious to imperfections. When a diamond cutter cuts a stone, he may have to compromise on the cut of the stone. When you cut a stone, you’re removing materials, therefore decreasing the carat weight and ultimately the value of the stone. So the cutter has to balance the quality of the cut against the carat weight.

Cut is extremely important because a diamond’s only job is to sparkle, and the sparkle is in the cut. So if you’re considering buying a poorly cut diamond just because it’s cheaper, just buy a piece of glass for $15 and save yourself the trouble. But something tells me your bride-to-be probably won’t appreciate that as much. Please remember – it’s the cut that unlocks the beauty of the stone. Take a so-so rough diamond and cut it perfectly, and it will look beautiful. Take a top-of-the-line rough diamond and cut it poorly, and it will look like garbage.


Carat Weight in a Diamond


Of the 4 C’s of diamonds, carat weight can be the easiest to explain. The carat weight of a stone is a direct indicator of its size; the more a diamond weighs, the larger it will be. Of course, the price of a diamond will increase as the carat weight increases. It’s important to understand it’s not a linear price increase: a 5-carat diamond won’t cost five times more than a 1-carat diamond; it could cost 100 times as much or more. When you’re shopping for a diamond you need to think about the curve of size versus price and think about where you want to be so you can stay in your budget while you trade off the other C’s.