A Beginner's Guide to the Four C's of Jewelry

by Reggie Moore Professional writer and proto entrepreneur

Diamonds have been enchanting humankind since time immemorial. But, are you familiar with how they are valued? When you are shopping for timeless jewelry, you want to know that the investment you are making has aesthetic appeal and true value. Jewelers use a simple mnemonic to remember a diamond's 4 most important factors. These are the diamond's cut, color, clarity, and carat. Each diamond can be described using these values, determining its market price.


A diamond's cut determines its shape and its sparkle. We can describe the cut by analyzing the number and position of its facets. These are where a jeweler has made a mark on the diamond. Cutting a diamond with a large number of facets usually means that it will have more of a sparkle. There are countless varieties of cuts, but some of them are much more popular than others. Below, we've listed some of the world's most recognizable. The round brilliant cut is considered the most prevalent by the Cape Town Diamond Museum. Still, you'll find all of the following cuts pretty commonly.

World's Most Popular Cuts of Diamond

Round Brilliant: 57 facets

Rectangular Emerald: 44 facets

Square Princess: 50 or 58 facets

Oval: 56 facets

Slender Marquise: 58 facets

Hybrid Pear: 58 facets

A diamond's cut impacts the following three factors directly.


Brilliance is used to describe how brightly the diamond shines. It is a result of light being combined within the stone. Certain cuts are much more brilliant than others.


Have you ever looked closely at a diamond? The splashes of colored light that you see are its fire.


This describes how light reflects within the diamond. Inside of a diamond, you'll see some areas are brighter than others. Scintillation tells us how those areas behave.


Diamonds can be found in a variety of colors. The most coveted are the ones without any color at all. Grading the color of a diamond is done using the GIA scale. This was developed by the Gemological Institute of America.

Color Grading Scale

Colorless (D-F):
The most valuable diamonds don't have any color at all. Any diamonds with a letter grade between D and F would be considered colorless. The different grades distinguish subtle color gradients.

Near Colorless (G-J):
When it is nearly colorless, it'll receive a grade between G and J. While these aren't as valuable, they are still prized.

Faint Color (K-M):
At this point, most people can see the color with their naked eyes. A faint color looks slightly yellow when viewed from the back. These stones receive a grade between K and M.

Very Light Color (N-R):
Between N and R, you've got very light color diamonds. These look almost brown under the right light.

Light Color (S-Z):
Grades between S and Z have easily noticeable colors. Even without training, you'll be able to tell.


Clarity describes the surface of a diamond. When they are formed, blemishes often become inscribed on the stone's surface. A flawless diamond won't have any blemishes at all. These tend to be quite rare, so a rating scale should be used.

GIA Clarity Rating Scale

Flawless (FL):
Flawless diamonds don't have any inclusions, even under a microscope.

Internally Flawless (IF):
If diamonds don't have any surface blemishes. But, there may be something noticeable under magnification.

Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1, VVS2):
These diamonds have inclusions that even trained examiners struggle to see.

Very Slightly Included (VS1, VS2):
Without magnification, you won't notice anything wrong with a diamond of this grade.

Slightly Included (SI1, SI2):
Sometimes, you'll notice inclusions with the naked eye at this point.

Included (I1, I2, I3):
Anyone can tell that there are inclusions.


Although people associate carats with size, it actually measures the diamond's weight. 1 carat is equal to 0.2 grams. Each carat is further subdivided into 100 points. So, you can have a diamond that is 0.5 carats, and people might call it a half-carat.

How to Accurately Value a Diamond

Diamonds have long been some of the world's most precious stones. Throughout their history, people have tried to accurately assess their value. Today, we go by the Four C's. These measurements tell us about the diamond's characteristics and qualities.

Sponsor Ads

About Reggie Moore Freshman   Professional writer and proto entrepreneur

6 connections, 0 recommendations, 22 honor points.
Joined APSense since, April 22nd, 2021, From Lehi, United States.

Created on Oct 8th 2021 13:38. Viewed 76 times.


No comment, be the first to comment.
Please sign in before you comment.