When you are shopping for diamonds, it is important to keep in mind the “4Cs.” The “4Cs” of diamonds stand for Clarity, Cut, Carat (Size), and Color. Each of these factors influences the quality and the price of your diamond. Whether you are shopping for the perfect addition to your custom engagement ring or a piece of diamond jewellery, you will want to understand these factors before making your choice.
In this article, we will introduce you to each of the “4Cs” to help you choose the perfect diamond for you.
When diamonds are formed, they can often contain small imperfections called inclusions. Inclusions are usually invisible to the naked eye, but they can be seen with a microscope. The number, size, and location of inclusions can affect the clarity of your diamond.
The clarity of your diamond is graded on a 6-point scale from “F” (flawless) to “I3” (included). diamonds with no inclusions are very rare and therefore more expensive. Most diamonds fall somewhere in the “SI” range, which stands for “slightly included.” These diamonds have a few small inclusions that do not affect the diamond’s ability to reflect light.
Diamond Clarity Descriptions
- Flawless (FL) – No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification
- Internally Flawless (IF) – No inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification
- Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) – Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10× magnification
- Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) – Inclusions are minor and range from difficult to somewhat easy for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
- Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) – Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader under 10x magnification
- Included (I1, I2, and I3) – Inclusions are obvious under 10× magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance
The cut of your diamond is just as important as the clarity, carat weight, and colour. The cut of your diamond affects its symmetry, brightness, fire, and how sparkly it appears. A well-cut diamond will appear brighter and more sparkly than a poorly cut diamond. The cut of a diamond is evaluated based on how close they are in relation to what are considered ideal proportions for diamonds.
Diamonds can be cut in different shapes.The shape of your diamond should be a matter of personal preference. The most popular shapes are round, princess, emerald, and pear.
Diamond Cut Descriptions
- Emerald – modern, glamorous and bold, this diamond cut is perfect for high quality diamonds.
- Marquise – this dramatic and joyful cut is also known as boat cut or eye cut. Although not very popular, this cut provides a lot of flexibility and creativity as it can be used in different ring placements.
- Pear – this is a contemporary cut style. Pear cuts usually have very unique characteristics.
- Oval – this shape is recommended to make a diamond look larger (compared to round cut in a diamond with same caract weight).
- Round – round diamonds are the most popular type of cuts. This cut was designed by jewelers to optimize the shine of a diamond by giving it the most facets. In round diamonds the brilliance and brightness are maximized.
- Princess – this cut is considered one of the most environmental cuts of diamonds, as they utilize 80% of the rough diamond.
- Cushion – Cushion diamonds can be either rectangular or square, but feature round edges, which makes them a great option for active lifestyles.
- Asscher – this cust is predominantly used for vintage designs.
- Heart – Heart cut diamonds are a symbol of love and romance. They are perfectly suited for rings and other custom jewellery.
- Radiant – this cut was developed to ensure maximum brilliance and fire.
The colour of diamonds is graded on a scale from D (no hue) to Z (a yellow-hued diamond). The vast majority of diamonds fall somewhere in the D-J range. diamonds in this range are considered “colourless” or “near colourless.” These diamonds will have a slight hint of yellow, which will not be noticeable to the naked eye. Diamonds that fall outside of the D-J range will have a more noticeable hue. For example, diamonds in the K-M range have a light yellow hue, while diamonds in the N-R range have a light brown hue. Diamonds with a strong yellow or brown hue are often used for antique or vintage jewellery.
Carat weight is the measurement of how much your diamond weighs. One carat is equal to 0.2 grams. The carat weight of your diamond will affect its size and price. Diamonds that weigh more than one carat are often more expensive than diamonds that weigh less than one carat. However, two diamonds of the same carat weight can have different prices depending on the other “4Cs.” For example, a one-carat diamond with a low clarity grade will be less expensive than a one-carat diamond with a high clarity grade.
The carat of your diamond might also vary depending on the cut you choose. For example, an emerald-cut diamond will appear to be smaller than a round-cut diamond of the same carat weight. A one-carat round diamond will have a diameter of 6.5 mm while a one-carat princess cut diamond will have a diameter of 5.5 mm. This is because different shapes have different percentages of their total weight in their diameter. So, when you are shopping for diamonds, make sure to compare diamonds of the same shape.
Now that you know the basics of diamonds, it’s time to start shopping! Keep these 4Cs in mind when shopping for diamonds so you can find the best quality diamonds at the best price. Each of the 4Cs contributes to the quality and price of your diamond, but choosing the right diamond for your needs is a personal choice. If you are shopping for an engagement ring, you might want to choose a diamond with a higher clarity grade. If you are shopping for a custom piece of jewellery, you might want to choose a diamond with a unique cut or colour.
No matter which type of diamond you decide to use, working with an experienced jeweller will ensure you get the perfect engagement ring or jewellery. Arax Jewellery are specialists in custom jewellery and can help you choose the right diamond for you.