What do the diamond 4C's refer to?
The 4C's stand for the Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat Weight of a diamond. They are the official techniques used to grade a diamond, and are certified by an official body such as the GIA, and are examined against these criteria by a certified gemologist. Due to this, you can have every confidence that the diamond you take home is exactly as described! Understanding what each of the 4C's refer to will give you all of the background knowledge you need when shopping around, alongside help from our in store team, who will be happy to guide you towards your perfect stone. Get in touch here, or feel free to visit us in our Ludlow showroom today. We look forward to hearing from you!
The cut has the greatest effect on a diamond's beauty. The more precise the diamond cut, the more enthralling the diamond is to the eye. Diamond cutting is the process of turning a rough stone into a faceted one; the cut being skilfully crafted to maximise its interaction with light.
Brilliance or sparkle is created from the way a diamond is cut. For example, if a diamond is cut poorly, then it will appear dull, even if it has a high colour or clarity grade. If the stone is cut well, then it will reflect and refract light very well. This specifically refers to the quality of a diamond’s symmetrical facets, scintillation, proportions, brilliance, fine polish and detail.
The GIA Diamond Cut Charts grade a diamond’s cut on the scale of excellent, very good, good, fair and poor. The significance of these ratings cannot be overlooked, as there are noticeable price differences between each of them.
However, it is important to remember that there is a difference between a Diamond's Cut and a Diamond's Shape, as many people tend to think that they are referring to the same thing. The cut determines how the Diamond's facets interact with light, whereas the shape refers to the Diamond's geometrical appearance. For more information about Diamond shapes, view our guide to diamond shapes.
Diamond colour is graded on the basis of how white or colourless a diamond is. The GIA grades diamonds on a scale from D-Z; D being the most colourless, and Z containing a noticeable brown or yellow tint. D graded diamonds are significantly more valuable than any other, as the more colourless a diamond is, the rarer it is, and this rarity will be reflected in its price.
It is important to make note of a Diamond's colour, as a low rating can interfere with, and reduce the light refractions within the stone. Highly colour graded diamonds have less internal absorption of light and expel more light outwards, ensuring that they shine to the optimum brightness and brilliance. Essentially, the more transparent a diamond is, the more it shines, and therefore, the more it is worth!
The clarity of a diamond is based on the amount, and size of, imperfections inside and on its surface. A diamond's internal imperfections are called inclusions, whereas those on the surface are known as blemishes. Diamonds without these characteristics are graded as flawless. These are very, very rare. However, not all imperfections within a stone are visible to the naked eye. So, do not be put off by stones solely based on the clarity rating.
Factors such as the size, position and darkness of the inclusions and blemishes can hinder the refraction and return of light within a diamond. This leads to the brilliance and beauty of the stone being dulled. This is a great example of how each of the 4C’s interact with each other, as these inclusions and blemishes will significantly hinder the cut and colour of the diamond, even if these are graded extremely highly.
As clarity is a measure of purity, diamonds are graded by the visibility of these characteristics. Naturally, the more flawless the stone is, the higher the price will be. If the grading is poor, then the diamond will appear cloudy, reducing its brilliance. As it is very rare for a diamond to be totally flawless, most diamonds are graded on the size and severity of the flaws. This is what you should be paying attention to.
Contrary to popular understanding, a diamonds carat refers to its weight as opposed its size, although in most cases, the higher the carat the larger the diamond. Dating back to the 16th century, jewellery was measured using carob seeds which were thought to be a reliable counterweight due to the little variance in their mass, which explains where the name carat originates from. Of course there are many factors that make up the beauty of a diamond besides its weight and appearance in size, perhaps one the largest contributing factors is the skill in cutting the diamond to accentuate its natural beauty and optimise sparkle.
Get in touch with Bensons of Ludlow
We hope that this guide to the diamond 4C's has given you a better understanding as to how diamonds are graded and the characteristics that make them so special. However, if you feel that you would like to find out more about the 4C's of a diamond, as well as the diamond that would be perfect for you, then please feel free to get in touch with a member of our team at Bensons of Ludlow. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have!
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