Everyone knows that no two snowflakes are alike, but did you know that the same is true with diamonds? Like snowflakes, butterflies or your very own fingerprint, every diamond has unique distinguishing characteristics. Specifically, there are four that interact to create an optimal result of beauty and value. They are known as the 4Cs of diamonds. Cut, color, clarity and carat weight are the most important characteristics to understand when making a diamond purchase. Each of these helps determine a diamond’s worth. The 4Cs of diamonds refers equally to both mined earth diamonds as well as lab-grown diamonds.
With basic knowledge of the 4Cs in hand, you’re able to be more informed about what you’re buying. Until the middle of the twentieth century there was no agreed-upon standard to judge a diamond until The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) created the now globally accepted standard of the 4Cs.
While understanding the 4Cs will help you find a piece that suits you brilliantly, there is no reason to stress about becoming a 4Cs expert. Your local DeVons jeweler is ready to walk you through the process. Our staff is expertly trained and passionate about providing the education and information you need when purchasing diamonds and other precious items.
However, walking in with an understanding of the 4Cs will simply enhance your experience and understanding of diamond selection.
Here’s all you need to know.
If you’re wondering if any of the 4Cs rank higher, it would be cut. The cut grade is the most important out of the group because it determines how brilliant the diamond is. Cut can refer to two aspects. The first is its shape. For example, is the diamond a princess cut or a round brilliant one? This is a subjective, opinion-based decision with no choice better than another. That’s the easy part.
The second is the quality of its cut and the diamond’s symmetry and shape appeal. A diamond cut to the right proportions, not too deep nor too shallow, will have more brilliance. Precise artistry and workmanship are required to fashion a stone so that its proportions, symmetry and polish deliver the magnificent return of light only possible in a diamond.
Diamonds are renowned for their ability to transmit light and sparkle so intensely. We often think of a diamond’s cut as shape (round, emerald, pear), but as you now know, a diamond’s cut grade is really about symmetry and how well a diamond’s facets interact with light. Your DeVons jeweler can walk you through the cut grade system to select a stone that suits your needs and taste.
While sparkle often captures the eye first, color is a close second. Understanding color may be the easiest of all the 4Cs as a diamond’s color grade is based on its lack of color. The less the color, the higher the grade.
The industry standard for grading color is to evaluate each stone against a master set and assign a letter grade from “D” (colorless) to “Z” (light yellow). As you make your way down to Z, each letter has a little more color than the last and that takes away from its value.
Let’s get some clarity on what “clarity” means for diamonds. Evaluating diamond clarity involves determining the number, size, relief, nature and position of these characteristics, as well as how these affect the overall appearance of the stone.
Flawless diamonds are extremely rare; most diamonds have tiny internal imperfections called “inclusions.” Natural diamonds are the result of carbon exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep in the earth. This process can result in a variety of inclusions as well as external characteristics called ”blemishes.”
It’s helpful to know that inclusions aren’t necessarily the sign of a lesser diamond. In fact, these spots are very common as they occur when a natural diamond crystallizes in the earth’s mantle under intense heat and pressure. The same happens to lab-grown diamonds, such as Forever Pure™ lab-grown diamonds, which are created through a process that mimics the environment of the earth’s mantle.
The GIA Clarity Scale has six categories, some of which are divided into a total of 11 specific grades. Your DeVons jeweler will be able to walk through these categories as you select the piece that suits you.
Last, but not least nor largest, is carat weight — and bigger is not always better. Carat is the measurement weight of a diamond, not its size. Simply put, pay attention to the carat weight and not the visual size. A diamond with a smaller carat size but a shallow cut may look larger than a diamond with a bigger carat size and a deeper cut.
Carats are the core measurement people use to weigh diamonds. One carat is 0.02 grams and can be broken down into a smaller measurement of weight called points. The good news is that you only need to know the carat size. While some professionals and websites may describe a diamond’s points, you’ve likely never heard anyone say, “This diamond is 50 points.”
One More “C”
Finding the perfect stone is all about following your own aesthetic while using the 4C’s as a guide. It all comes down to your personal preference when looking for a diamond that suits your budget.
But if there was a fifth C, we’d make it “confidence.” The confidence you’ll have with this core knowledge of the 4Cs combined with the ease of knowing a DeVons Jewelers expert is waiting to serve you will enhance your experience. When you choose your jewelry from DeVons you are taking advantage of our multi-generational history of understanding how to bring the best quality, styling and values to our customers. We look forward to seeing you soon.