Diamonds 101

Knowledge is Key

Diamonds 101: The Four C’s

Determining the value of your diamond is the combination of the four C’s: Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat


The cut of a diamond does not actually refer to the shape of the diamond, whether it is round, princess, oval, etc. It actually refers to how the diamond was cut from its raw shape. The way a diamond is cut affects the amount of light that is reflected through its facets and how much of that light returns back out through the top, thus affecting the amount of “sparkle” or brilliance of the diamond.

The cut also determines how big the table (top part of the diamond) appears. Two diamonds with the same carat weight (see “Carat” section below) might not always look the same. A deep cut has a smaller table while a shallow cut has a larger table.

Diamond Color Chart


Did you know that diamonds naturally come in every color of the rainbow? The diamonds used in jewelry, however, typically fall in the white range and are graded on a scale from D to Z – the less color the better. To the naked eye, most diamonds appear “colorless,” or white, but a majority of them actually contain hints of yellow or brown.


The clarity of a diamond refers to the amount of blemishes and marks that can be seen within a diamond. Sometimes the way a diamond is cut can determine the visibility of such flaws and affects the grade given on the diamond’s certificate, which is measured by a third party organization such as Gemological Institute of America (GIA). A diamond free of inclusions is very rare. Therefore, the closer a diamond is to flawless, the better.



A diamond’s weight is measured in carats and used with a point system of 100. So a diamond of 25 points is .25 carats. Not all diamonds with the same carat weight is of equal value, however. The value is measured by the combination of its cut, color, clarity, and carat weight.


The 5th C – Certification


Opened in 1977 in New York City’s diamond district, EGL USA has established a reputation for fast turnaround times and fair grading standards. It is not uncommon to see a difference of 1-2 color grades and 1-2 clarity grades when comparing to GIA standards. Diamonds with particular grades certified by EGL USA are generally priced lower than diamonds with the same grades that are certified by GIA.

Established in 1931 and recognized as one of the world’s foremost authorities in diamond grading, GIA developed the Four C’s and the International Diamond Grading System, the standard used around the globe. GIA screens every gemstone to identify synthetics, simulants and known treatments. Expert gemologists examine each diamond under
controlled lighting and viewing conditions in order to provide the most rigorous assessments of a diamond’s Four C’s.

American Gemological Society (AGS) is a US based laboratory renowned for their scientific approach and research into diamond cut grading. Smaller in scope than the GIA, they enforce the same color and clarity standards while focusing on cut craftsmanship and light performance. Instead of using an alphabetical rating system, AGS uses a numerical scale of 0-10 for rating a diamond’s characteristics, with 0 as the highest and 10 as the lowest. Since their founding in 1996, AGS has maintained an excellent reputation for offering diamond grading reports that provide consistency and accuracy based on science.



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