The 4 C's of Diamonds

What are the 4 C's of Diamonds?

An essential step for picking the perfect diamond is understanding the key factors that determine the appearance and value of the stone These are comprised of what jewelers call the 4 C's—carat, cut, color, and clarity. Each characteristic contributes to a diamond's worth and quality. Learn about the basics of these attributes with this guide from Bob Richards Jewelers.


A carat is a unit of measurement that displays the weight of a diamond. This quality is the most commonly recognized “C” out of the other characteristics. A diamond's carat weight is not always representative of its size. For example, diamonds can have similar weights but appear different depending on the other qualities. The cut of the diamond, such as an emerald cut that has a long table, may look larger than a round diamond, however, the two stones can have the same carat weight.


The cut determines the shape and overall appearance of the stone. There are various cuts such as round cut diamonds, pear shaped, and oval cut stones. This will contribute to the aesthetic of an engagement ring as well. In a perfect cut, the amount of light that passes through the stone will reflect a brilliant sparkle. Consider your personal style when determining a cut for a center stone.


A diamond's color is actually a reference to the lack of color within the stone. A diamond as close to colorless as possible is exceedingly rare and more valuable. On a scale of D-Z, a GIA rating between D-F is colorless, G-J is near-colorless, and anything below that will have a yellow or brown tinge. The increase of yellow or brown hues in the diamond continues to decrease the rarity, cost, and thus value of the diamond itself.


Clarity indicates how many of the naturally occurring internal flaws, referred to as inclusions, can be seen as you look through the diamond. Inclusions are measured by their nature, location, and size within the stone. The GIA uses a 10x loupe to view a diamond and detect the number of inclusions within it. Diamonds with an “FL” rating are flawless while diamonds with an “I3” rating have visible inclusions that can be seen by the naked eye.

Why Shop for Loose Diamonds at Bob Richards Jewelers?

Our experts at Bob Richards Jewelers are here to help you learn even more details about diamonds and answer any questions you may have that weren't answered in this guide. Come into our Germantown jewelry store so we can guide you through the diamond selection process. Our staff is gemologically trained and equipped with extensive knowledge of the diamond grading system. Contact us today to speak to an associate.

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