The 4Cs of Diamonds
What are the 4Cs of Diamonds?
The 4Cs are the 4 main attributes of a diamond, and how diamonds are evaluated and graded. The better each attribute, the more beautiful and flawless a diamond is, both to the eye, and under intense magnification.
The 4Cs are:
Most people believe that a diamond's carat is a measure of it's size. This is close to the truth, but technically, a diamond's carat is it's weight.
1 carat = 200 milligrams.
Carat measurement does not represent a diamond's beauty or how much light it reflects, it is simply the mass of the diamond. In general, the more carats, the larger the diamond is. However, other factors such as the shape of the diamond, and the cut, can determine how large the surface looks.
The highest grade a diamond can get for color is a "D" - which is absolutely colorless, and extremely rare. "Z" is the lowest color grade, and has a yellow to light brown color. "H" diamonds have a very slight yellow color to them, but it is hard to tell with the eye, unless compared side by side to a diamond with a higher color grade.
Color grades and descriptions:
- D - Absolutely Colorless - Extremely rare. 2% of customers buy.
- E - Colorless - Rare. 4% of customers buy.
- F - Colorless White - The most white of white diamonds. 16% of customers buy.
- G - Near Colorless - White, with a slight tint in color. 24% of customers buy.
- H - Near Colorless - White, with a faint color noticeable to the eye. 30% of customers buy.
- I - Near Colorless - White, with a noticeable tint. 20% of customers buy.
- J - Near Colorless - Light yellow tone. 2% of customers buy.
- K - Faint - Yellow tone. 1% of customers buy.
- L-Z - Light Color. Strong yellow to brown tone. Less than 1% of customers buy.
A diamonds's clarity is a measure of the absence of inclusions and blemishes. Blemishes are flaws to the surface, inclusions are internal flaws.
Diamonds are carbon that are formed under extreme heat and pressure. This process can create internal flaws in the forms of scratches, fractures, pits, and chips. Blemishes can also occur on the surface during the cutting process.
All diamonds have flaws. Their grade depends on how many flaws, how large the flaws are, and whether or not they are visible to the naked eye, only under magnification, or only internally.
- FL - Flawless - No visible inclusions or blemishes under 10x magnification. less than 1% of customers buy.
- IF - Internally Flawless - No visible inclusions under 10x magnification. 2% of customers buy.
- VVS1 - Very Very Slightly Included - Minor inclusions/blemishes under 10x magnification. 12% of customers buy.
- VVS2 - Very Very Slightly Included - Minor inclusions/blemishes under 10x magnification. 17% of customers buy.
- VS1 - Very Slightly Included - Small inclusions/blemishes under 10x magnification, may have some minor visible flaws. 27% of customers buy
- VS2 - Very Slightly Included - Small inclusions/blemishes under 10x, more visible flaws than VS1. 20% of customers buy
- SI1 - Slightly Included - Inclusions/blemishes easily visible under 10x magnification. Small visible flaws. 17% of customers buy.
- SI2 - Slightly Included - Inclusions/blemishes easily visible under 10x magnification. More visible flaws than SI1. 2% of customers buy.
- I1 - Included - Included, with multiple visible flaws. 1% of customers buy.
- 12 - Heavily Included - Multiple obvious inclusions. Multiple visible flaws. Less than 1% of customers buy.
- I3 - Heavily Included - Multiple obvious inclusions. Even more visible flwas then I2. Less than 1% of customers buy.
Diamonds are so beautiful because of their ability to reflect and transmit prisms of light. A diamond's cut is what gives it its sparkle. A diamond's cut is not it's shape (round, oval, princess, etc.), but is a measure the quality of its facets, and their ability to reflect and refract light.
- Ideal/Excellent - Reflects the most amount of light possible that enters a diamond. The GIA and IGI use different names for their top grade of diamond cut.
- Very Good - Reflects almost all of the light the enters a diamond.
- Good - Reflects most of the light that enters a diamond.
- Fair - Reflects a moderate amount of the light that enters a diamond. Glassy in appearance.
- Poor - Reflects some of the light that enters a diamond. Dull in appearance.