The Four C’s Overview
Even if you have never bought a diamond before, chances are you have heard of the “four C’s.:” Cut, color, clarity, and carat weight are the four main identifiers of any diamond, and should be where your attention is focused when making a purchase. Understanding these four keys unlocks greater understanding of a diamonds value.
Listed next are the “four C’s”, what they mean and why they are important. Each of these factors should be taken into account when buying a loose or mounted diamond. They are not necessarily They are not necessarily given in any order of importance, as this is up to the particular tastes of the individual. They are, however, given in order of noticeability.
Cut: Cut is the first thing one sees when examining a diamond. It is simply the specific proportions to which a diamond is crafted by a skilled artisan. Although it is the only “C” completely controlled by man, cut is the main factor that contributes to a diamonds brilliance.
Color: After cut color is the second most noticeable attribute of a diamond. Generally, the less color a diamond has, the more precious it is. Specimens with too much color tend to look dull and those at the end of the color scale are completely lackluster.
Clarity: A diamond's clarity is also referred to as “natures fingerprint” , and is judged by the number of external and internal irregularities and flaws. These marks are called blemishes or inclusions respectively, and can be viewed with a 10x loupe. Smaller characteristics generally have little effect on a diamond.
Carat Weight: The fourth, and final, “C” is not a factor in a diamond’s brilliance, but has direct influence on its cost. Carat (ct.) weight simply refers to the actual weight (not size) of a given specimen.