If you’ve been searching for a diamond for a while, you’ve probably run across the 4Cs. But do you know what they are? Or more importantly, do you know what they mean? If you don’t, don’t sweat it. That’s what we’re here for.
The four Cs of diamond quality is a system that was invented in 1940 by the Gemological Institute of America. The 4Cs represent the cut quality, colour, clarity, and carat weight of a diamond. These four pillars contribute to the overall cost and value of a diamond.
These factors are not the only pieces to the puzzle of diamond prices. The origin of your diamond can have one of the biggest impacts on price. Natural diamonds are more expensive than lab-grown diamonds, despite the fact they are both real diamonds.
Diamond Cut Quality
The cut quality of your diamond is a very important element when choosing the perfect diamond for your bespoke engagement ring from Grace Diamonds.
The GIA cut grades are:
- Very Good
- Ideal/Excellent Cut
Usually, only round brilliant diamonds have an official cut grade on a diamond certificate. Other diamond shapes have a range of measurements that make them ideal quality for athat shape. Round diamonds are the only ones that have exact symmetry and proportions.
You’ll want to choose a cut grade or cut quality of Good and above. Ideal and Excellent cut quality means the diamond has been cut to the best of its ability for brilliance.
A diamond’s colour grade can get confused with coloured diamonds, but they are completely different. When we’re speaking of diamond colour grades, we’re referring to the colour tint of the diamond.
The GIA colour grade scale for colourless diamonds are:
- DEF- Colourless
- GHIJ Near-Colourless
- KLM- Faint
- N-Z Yellow/Brown
Rarely will you ever see any colourless diamonds with N-Z colour grades. Your diamond’s colour grade is merely an optical feature, but it is more valuable and more expensive as you go up in colour grade.
All diamonds have imperfections that happen either during their formation or during the cutting process. This is true for both mined and man-made diamonds. But make no mistake, both mined and lab grown diamonds can be eye-clean or included. An eye-clean diamond is a diamond without inclusions visible to the naked eye.
The GIA Clarity Grade Scale is as follows:
- F-Flawless IF-Internally Flawless
- VVS1 VVS2- Very Very Slightly Included
- VS1, VS2- Very Slightly Included,
- SI1, SI2- Slightly Included I1, I2, I3- Included
Clarity grades VS2 and above are considered eye clean. Instead, they will have small inclusions that may be visible under magnification. Flawless diamonds are very rare.
Diamond Carat Weight
Most people know the carat weight of your diamond is how big it is. This isn’t completely true. A one carat round diamond will appear bigger than a half-carat diamond and smaller than a 2 carat diamond.
But if you choose a fancy diamond shape- any other shape than round- you might find the same carat weight appears bigger than the round diamond. Some diamond shapes are cut with a wider crown, or the top facets of a diamond.
The most popular carat weights are sold in fractions:
¼ carat, ⅓ carat. ½ carat, ⅔ carat, ¾, carat, 1 carat, 1.5 carat, 2 carat, 2.5 carat and so on.
Carat weight is how much the diamond weighs, but carat size may different between shapes. For example, a one carat cushion cut diamond may appear smaller than a 1 carat emerald cut diamond. They are equal in carat weight, but the elongated shape of an emerald cut appears larger on the finger.
If you really want a big diamond, you might consider one of the shapes that looks bigger in order to save cost. Or, you could opt for a lab grown diamond with a higher carat weight than you could afford as a natural diamond.
How To Choose the Four Cs of Your Diamond
Choosing the 4cs of your diamond is prioritising what is most important to you in order to fit within your chosen budget. You don’t need to have the highest diamond grades in every one of the 4Cs. The key to picking your grades is all about balance and personal preference.
If the sparkle of your diamond is important to you, set aside more of your budget for a diamond with excellent cut quality. If you’re not very sensitive to colour, you might find you can save more of your budget for a bigger stone with a lower colour grade. The choice is up to you!