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Understanding the 4 C’s of Diamonds

4Cs of DiamondsEach of the 4 C’s (Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat) play a role in a diamond’s beauty, though it is difficult to decipher one component by itself. As a comprehensive whole, the 4 C’s interact with one another within each diamond. As a general rule, we suggest a high quality Cut above all else—as this greatly impacts a diamond’s beauty and brilliance—while balancing a fine line on Color and Clarity to get the best bang for your buck.

Gradings of the 4 C’s help determine the value of a diamond and indicate its quality. Diamond sellers often set their prices based on grading reports. Knowing the basics of these gradings is helpful when comparing two similar diamonds, but what remains most important is how the diamond appears to the naked eye—and how attractive the diamond is overall. In this sense, having a foundational understanding of the 4 C’s is imperative as a buyer, so that you can avoid spending your budget on a component that will go unnoticed.

Diamond Color

Diamond Color Actually Means Lack of Color. The diamond color evaluation of most gem-quality diamonds is based on the absence of color. A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue, like a drop of pure water, and consequently, a higher value. GIA’s D-to-Z diamond color-grading system measures the degree of colorlessness by comparing a stone under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions to master stones of established color value.

Diamond Clarity

Diamond Clarity Refers to the Absence of Inclusions and Blemishes.  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 internal characteristics called ‘inclusions’ and external characteristics called ‘blemishes.’ 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. While no diamond is perfectly pure, the closer it comes, the higher its value.

A Diamond’s Clarity grade evaluates how clean a diamond is from both inclusions and blemishes. Clarity is graded by the GIA on the following scale:

Diamond Clarity Guide

  • FL (Flawless)
  • IF (Internally Flawless)
  • VVS1 (Very, Very Slightly Included 1)
  • VVS2 (Very, Very Slightly Included 2)
  • VS1 (Very Slightly Included 1)
  • VS2 (Very Slightly Included 2)
  • SI1 (Slightly Included 1)
  • SI2 (Slightly Included 2)
  • I1 (Inclusions 1)
  • I2 (Inclusions 2)

Diamond Cut

A Diamond's Cut Unleashes Its Light.  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 a diamond’s cut grade is really about how well a diamond’s facets interact with light. Precise artistry and workmanship are required to fashion a stone so its proportions, symmetry, and polish deliver the magnificent return of light only possible in a diamond.

Diamond Carat

Diamond Carat Weight. Diamond carat weight is the measurement of how much a diamond weighs. A metric “carat” is defined as 200 milligrams.

Each carat can be subdivided into 100 ‘points.’ This allows very precise measurements to the hundredth decimal place. A jeweler may describe the weight of a diamond below one carat by its ‘points’ alone. For instance, the jeweler may refer to a diamond that weighs 0.25 carats as a ‘twenty-five pointer.’ Diamond weights greater than one carat are expressed in carats and decimals. A 1.08 carat stone would be described as ‘one point oh eight carats.’

Shop diamonds at U.S. Coins and Jewelry

Diamond Cuts at U.S. Coins and Jewelry

Considering Selling Your Diamond? 

If you are considering selling your diamond, we are Houston’s most trusted source and will match or beat any reasonable offer. Bring it in and we will be happy to get you a free appraisal. No appointment is necessary. 

Want to know what your item is worth quicker?

Let one of our professional staff help you identify your coin or jewelry. Simply upload an image to the right in and we will contact you with any questions for a professional evaluation.

U.S. Coins and Jewelry Buys: 

We buy all large GIA (Gemological Institute of America) Diamonds.

  • Round Diamonds
  • Emerald Cut Diamonds
  • Heart Shape Diamonds
  • European Cut Diamonds
  • Fancy Shaped Diamonds
  • Damaged Diamonds
  • Pear Diamonds
  • Princess Cut Diamonds
  • Canary Diamonds
  • GIA Diamonds
  • Oval Diamonds
  • Brilliant Cut Diamonds
  • Marquis Diamonds
  • Asher Cut Diamonds
  • Mine Cut Diamonds
  • EGL Diamonds
  • Oblong Diamonds

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