When you’re shopping for a diamond, there’s quite a few factors that distinguish a low-quality rock from a treasure that you can slip onto your engagement ring. However, while there are many factors at play, most of them are small touches that help to “polish” the quality of a given diamond. Four factors, on the other hand, are called the 4 C’s because of their fundamental ability to alter the quality of a diamond (and subsequently, its price).
To help our customers with a little diamond education, we at BARONS JEWELERS want to provide a quick guide to the 4 C’s and how they impact your chosen stone.
Diamond CutWhen you think of the word “cut,” your mind may automatically jump to the shape of a given diamond. And while those two concepts are intertwined, there is a distinction. Every diamond shape has a certain set of proportions that have been scientifically determined to be best for them. There’s some flexibility to those dimensions, but the ability of a diamond to reflect light will rapidly degrade if the cut is poor. Of course, it’s important for you to judge for yourself how good the reflectivity is—and that requires looking at a diamond in person!
Diamond ColorColor is another of those C’s you need to see in person to determine the quality. Consider it this way: Diamonds are supposed to be as close to clear as possible, but there are over a dozen color gradients from completely translucent to corn-yellow. While digital representations of these colors can be close to the natural color, there’s a limit to the quality of even the best representation—and you won’t be seeing the color in natural light. See your diamond in natural light to see if you’re willing to pay more for a clearer diamond or if it’s a less important “C” than the others.
Diamond ClarityClarity is one of the more important C’s. Not only does it affect how immediately a diamond presents to others, it also impacts the fire and scintillation of the jewel. Clarity refers to how many inclusions are present in a given diamond, and the nature of an inclusion can vary dramatically. Materials trapped in the stone, such as carbon or iron, as well as natural irregularities in the crystal structure all affect how the stone looks and captures light.
Diamond Carat WeightWhile carat size is considered one of the four crucial determinants for the quality of a diamond, it’s the most subjective trait. After all, who can tell you how big you want your diamond to be other than you?
A carat is a measurement of weight, equal to 0.2 grams, but this weight can be distributed differently given the shape and cut of a diamond. For example, a 1-carat round-cut diamond will appear much smaller than a 1-carat emerald-cut diamond thanks to the compactness of the former and length of the latter. You may wish to stop by your local jeweler to see how a given carat weight will work with your preferred setting!