The 4 C's & Beyond - A Diamond Purchaser's Guide

Understanding The 4 C's & Beyond - Become an Informed Diamond Purchaser! 

While we have done our best to compile some important information about selecting a diamond, a true understanding of a diamond's quality & characteristics takes time, research & a well-educated jeweler.

Select A Diamond Shape

Often the first step in choosing an engagement ring is determining the shape (round, pear, oval, etc.) of the diamond you like best.

Shape describes a diamond's form, primarily as viewed from above; and although a round, or brilliant-cut, diamond is the most popular, there are many others to consider.


Round Shape Engagement Rings        Princess Cut Engagement Rings    Oval     Cushion

The shape is one of personal taste and once that has been determined, you can move into discovering the 4 C's of the diamond.

Marquise Diamond Engagement Rings    Pear    Emerald Diamonds

Did you know that the shape of diamond you prefer may reveal something about your personality, style or love life? Take a moment to read about each shape, their special characteristics & what your choice in diamond shape reveals about you!

Diamond Carat Weight

  • Carat is the measurement diamond weight. 1.00 carat = .20 grams. Carats are then divided into 100 points. So a quarter-carat has 25 points and is written as 0.25 carats, or ¼ carat.
  • Because of its rarity, one larger diamond is more valuable than a combination of small diamonds.
  • Diamonds of the same weight can vary significantly in value depending on their color, clarity & cut.

Diamond Carat Comparison Chart

Shop By Carat Weight

Diamond Color

Though it rarely occurs, the best color for a diamond is no color

Diamond color is graded by letter. That letter indicates the whiteness and rarity of the diamond.

Diamond Color Grading Scale



The rarest and most valuable diamonds. Virtually no color when viewed by a gemologist.


Near Colorless
Appear to be colorless when viewed face up by a gemologist but will display a slight amount of color when viewed face down on a pure white background. The slight amount of color is generally not detectable to an untrained eye especially after it has been set in a piece of jewelry.


Faint Yellow
Diamond in this range generally have a very faint yellow tone to them, but well cut diamonds will still constrain the brilliance and fire that make them beautiful and unique.


Very Light Yellow
Diamonds in this range generally have a very light tone to them, but will still contain the brilliance and fire that make them beautiful and unique.


Light Yellow
Diamonds in this range generally have a light tone to them, but will still contain the brilliance and fire that make them beautiful and unique.


Though it rarely occurs, the best color for a diamond is no color.

Less than 2% of all diamonds are colorless. As color tones become more apparent, the rarity & cost decrease.













Diamond Clarity 

The clarity of a diamond is determined by the quantity & degree of internal birthmarks, called inclusions.

Diamond Clarity Grading Scale            Diamond Clarity - The 4 C's


F - Flawless; IF - Internally Flawless
No inclusions visible to an experienced grader using 10X magnification.

VVS - Very Very Slightly Included
Contains minute inclusions that are difficult for even an experienced grader to see under 10X magnification.

VS - Very Slightly Included
Contains minute inclusions which can be seen with effort under 10X magnification.

SI - Slightly Included
Contains inclusions that are noticeable using 10X magnification & may be visible with the unaided eye.

I - Included
Contains inclusions that are easily visible under 10X magnification & may affect transparency & brilliance.


Did you know? Approximately 80% of all diamonds fall into the I1, I2 and I3 range.

The better the clarity, the greater the rarity.











Diamond Cut

  • Cut is the most important factor in determining a diamond’s brilliance & beauty.
  • The better the cut, the more your diamond will sparkle.
  • Small dimensional differences have a dramatic effect on a diamond’s reflection of light.
  • Even if a diamond has a perfect clarity and color grade, if it has a poor cut, it may appear dull.


 Perfectly Proportioned.

Ideal Cut Diamond

Cut to ideal proportions, virtually all light entering the stone reflects from one facet to another, then back through the top for optimal sparkle.


When a diamond is cut too deep...Example of a diamond cut too deepCut too deep, light escapes through the sides of the diamond - resulting in a dull appearance & darker center.


When a diamond is cut too shallow...Example of diamond cut too shallowCut too shallow, light falls out of the bottom of the diamond before it can be reflected - resulting in a watery appearance. 


Diamond Cut - The 4 C's


Diamond Certificates

Diamond Certification

A certificate gives you a detailed scientific analysis of your diamond which is done by an impartial gemological institution, not the grading of the seller.

There are many different gemological labs that are recognized and regarded in the jewelry industry such as EGL USA (Gemological Laboratory), GIA (Gemological Institute of America), AGS (American Gem Society), IGI (International Gemological Institute) and GSI (Gemological Science International).

Diamond Certificates vary greatly in terms of accuracy & should ONLY be used as a reference when comparing various diamonds & gems.

Since grading is heavily based on opinion, various certificates can differ greatly on what grades a diamond should receive.


Our Policy on Conflict Diamonds

Please be advised that we fully support a policy of not purchasing diamonds illicitly seized and sold by rebel forces.

Since it is not currently possible for retail jewelers to verify the country of origin of diamonds, we work closely with our diamond suppliers to ensure that they do not knowingly purchase diamonds from conflict areas.

Accordingly, we ask them to commit that all diamonds sent to us have been purchased from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict and in compliance with United Nations Resolutions.

They guarantee us that these diamonds are conflict free, based on personal knowledge and/or by written guarantees provided by the supplier of these diamonds. 


Now that you have the basics, make an appointment with one of our in-store diamond specialists to answer all your important questions.


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