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The Four Cs

All diamonds can be broken down into four main aspects, better known as the four Cs. The four Cs are color, cut, clarity, and carat. In regards to white (colorless) diamonds, all four of these factors are of equal importance. Color diamonds on the other hand are first and foremost judged by their color. Here is a bit more about each of the four Cs.




A diamond’s color can refer to different things, depending on whether it is a colorless diamond or a color diamond. Colorless diamonds try to achieve as little color as possible. This means it is the absence of color that one is looking for. The presence of color in diamonds is what sets them apart from ordinary diamonds. Therefore, the rarer and purer the color, and the more intensely it shows, the more expensive the diamond.


Colorless diamonds are graded based on the color scale, which uses letters from the alphabet. The first grade is the letter D and it goes all the way through the alphabet to the letter Z. The last few letters actually contain a bit of yellow color and are considered the lowest quality for colorless diamonds as well as for color diamonds.


Color diamonds are graded based on their hues and their intensity levels. The hue can be pure which is preferable, or contain several secondary colors. In terms of the intensity level, it works differently for every diamond color. Some colors have all of the intensity levels, while colors such as black only have one: Fancy Black. The possible intensity levels are as follows: Faint, Very Light, Light, Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, Fancy Deep, and Fancy Dark. 


The colorless diamond color scale works itself down as far as the color quality whereas the color diamond color scale works itself up.


There are twelve main colors in color diamonds. Diamonds can have one color, or several. These colors include: Yellow, Pink, Blue, Green, Orange, CognacGrey, Purple, Red, Fancy Black, and Fancy White.




The cut of a diamond refers to the way it is cut, and not necessarily its shape, though the two are often used interchangeably. There is a correlation between the diamond’s cut and shape, but the chosen cut does not necessarily determine a specific shape. The main diamond cuts include: the brilliant cut, the step cut, the mixed cut, and the modified cut. The two former cuts are the basic ones whereas the two latter ones were introduced later to create more modern shapes. A diamond’s cut can affect its brilliance in colorless diamonds and the diamond’s ability to retain color in color diamonds. In colorless diamond’s, the quality of the cut is examined carefully but is less of an issue with color diamonds. The cut of a diamond has a direct impact on the stone’s appearance, especially in terms of the depth.




As mentioned earlier, it is extremely important for a colorless diamond to exude brilliance, also known as fire. In order to do so, the diamond must not only lack color and be cut a certain way, but it must also be free of flaws such as various inclusions and imperfections. Such flaws can bring down the value of a diamond drastically. Certain shapes need to be more perfect than others as their shape is less forgiving. Emerald-shaped diamonds for instance must be as flawless as possible since its entire surface is exposed leaving much to be seen. The clarity of a diamond is graded, based on the clarity grading scale. Although a color diamond’s clarity is also important, it is often not an issue if there is an inclusion since many times the color can camouflage it.




Diamonds are measured in carats or in points. A carat is equivalent to 0.20 grams or 100 points. The measuring method dates back to when a carob seed, similar in size to many diamonds, was used to measure diamonds when placed side by side on a precision scale. Today it is widely accepted to categorize diamonds based on their carat weights. It is ideal to get the largest, high quality diamond as possible. However, if it comes down to reducing the diamond’s weight in order to get rid of flaws, many individuals as well as diamond cutters choose to take the risk. While a 1-carat colorless diamond is considered on the smaller side, a 1-carat color diamond for the most part is quite big.


There are other size factors that must be taken into account besides the carat weight. A diamond may appear large but not weigh quite so much. This is possible simply because the stone carries its weight in its width and not in its depth. Such a diamond will most probably be very shallow. On the other hand, sometimes diamonds will appear small because their weight is hidden in the depth. Therefore, it is wise to choose a diamond that has its weight evenly distributed. Diamonds that are too shallow cannot retain color well.


Each and every one of the four Cs need to be examined carefully, but as mentioned earlier, when talking about color diamonds, the color is the main issue.


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