What are the 4 C’s of Diamonds?

What are the 4 C’s of Diamonds?

When describing the quality of a diamond you may hear reference to ‘The 4 C’s of diamonds’. This is especially common with engagement rings or eternity rings.

They stand for; Carat, Cut, Colour and Clarity. Taking these four properties into account, one can gauge the overall quality of a diamond and compare diamonds with one another. 

Carat: Is purely a measurement of a diamond’s weight. A 1ct diamond weighs 0.2g. Due to differences in the way an individual diamond may be cut, it can happen that a diamond with a lower carat weight on paper can look larger than a diamond with a higher carat weight.

Cut: Refers to the process of transforming the rough gemstone into the finished gem (while ‘shape’ refers to the finished form, i.e. round, square, oval etc.).

The cut of a diamond, its proportions and how the facets are placed, are of extraordinary importance as they have the greatest influence on the brilliance and liveliness of the gemstone.

When a diamond is cut well the light rays are reflected back through the top of the gemstone giving a blaze of light and spectrum colours. But if a diamond is cut badly the light rays ‘leak’ through the bottom and the sides of the gemstone, and the diamond can appear dull.

Of the 4 C’s this is the only one controlled by the human hand.

Clarity: Is the term used to describe the size and number of inclusions in a diamond. These ‘inclusions’ are nature’s fingerprint and make each diamond unique.

Large inclusions interfere with the dispersion of light and therefore the diamond’s brilliance. For this reason, the fewer inclusions a diamond has the rarer and more valuable the gemstone is.

Colour: While diamonds may appear colourless, or white, they may actually have subtle yellow or brown tomes that can be detected when comparing diamond side by side.

Diamonds were formed under intense heat and pressure, and traces of other elements may have incorporated into their atomic structure which accounts for variances in colour.

The most sought after diamonds are those totally lacking in colour, so when a diamond is being valued the closer it is to being colourless, the better it is considered to be.

The only exception to this are the diamonds found in vivid, what are termed ‘fancy’, colours – reds, pinks, blues, greens etc. They are highly prized and rare.

It’s important to also know these are the top level easiest digested ‘major’ characteristics of diamonds; there are a wealth of ‘minor characteristics’ that can be equally important when looked at and we’d be happy to take you through these often overlooked qualities! 

If you'd like to know more, or would like us to help you with an enquiry, do make contact.

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Article by Mel V

Mel has been working at Jacobs since 2009, has a professional jewellers diploma and looks after customers and customer repairs.