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There are four basic ways to identify a diamond and determine its worth: the cut of the diamond, the diamond color, the clarity, and the carat weight. These "four c's" are important to consider when making your next diamond purchase.

The Cut of a Diamond

In order to highlight a diamond's beauty, the cut must be perfect. The proportions are directly related to the amount of brilliance displayed by your diamond. The correctly cut proportions maximize the amount of light that is reflected through the diamond. The goal of the cut is to bounce the light throughout the diamond and back out the crown or top surface of the diamond. If the diamond is cut poorly, the light will pass through the bottom of the diamond and will reduce the sparkle.   

Basic Diamond Cuts:

Emerald Shaped Cut


Oval Shaped Cut


Marquise Shaped Cut


Heart Shaped Cut


Pear Shaped Cut


Radiant Shaped Cut


Round Shaped Cut


Princess Shaped Cut




Colors of Diamonds

Diamonds are found in many colors; however, the goal of most diamond buyers is to purchase a diamond that is as close to colorless as possible.  A colorless diamond has a higher monetary value than on that has visible color. When purchasing a diamond you need to be sure to learn how a diamond's color is graded. The grade of the diamond's color is directly correlated to its value.

Color Rating System

Diamond Cuts

Diamonds are rated in color from D, which is nearly colorless, to Z, which is light yellow in color. The less color visible in a diamond, the more the diamond is worth. However, according to the American Museum of Natural History, there are many color variations, from blue and pink to yellow and violet. Internationally colored diamonds are created by adding gasses, which increases their value.

Diamond Clarity

The clarity of the diamond is the purity of the stone.  The higher the grade of diamond, the fewer flaws there are.  When choosing a diamond, you do not want flaws, which show up as dark specs.  In other words, you want the diamond to be as clear as possible.

Diamond Clarity Scale

Diamond Cuts

Flawless diamonds reveal no flaws on the surface of the diamond or internally and are the most rare and most beautiful gems.

The Carat Weight of a Diamond

The term "carat" is a measurement of weight although it is oftentimes confused with the size of the gem.  Of course, a larger diamond is going to weigh more than a smaller diamond, but some cuts of diamonds can actually make them look larger than a heavier diamond (a diamond with a higher carat weight).

Carat Weight Scale

Diamond Carat Weight Scale

One carat is equal to 200 milligrams (about the weight of a small paperclip).  One carat can be divided into 100 "points," each of which is equal to 2 milligrams.  For example, a 75-point carat diamond is equivalent to a three-quarter (.75) carat diamond. Since larger diamonds are rarer than smaller diamonds, the value and cost of the diamond increases as the weight of the diamond rises.

Consider the 4 C's

When purchasing your next diamond ring, diamond earrings, or diamond bracelet, be sure to consider the cut of the diamond, the diamond color, the clarity, and the carat weight so that you can make an informed decision on a very important purchase.

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