Choosing The Right Diamond: The 4 Cs

Theres no doubt about it, diamonds are one of if not the most popular gem used in jewellery pieces today.

Not only do diamonds stand out for their sheer beauty and elegance, but they also have a unique quality called dispersion.

This refers to an optical property of gemstones that can absorb white light, and then when they are turned in the light, flashes of spectral colours of fire will appear. If youve ever looked at a diamond closely then you will have probably seen it for yourself!

As you way well know, diamonds are categorised into a number of groups to help classify them. For professionals, diamond grading will be relatively straightforward, however for the young man entering the jewellers in order to pick out an engagement diamond ring for his girlfriend, the huge amount of information about diamond classifications can make choosing the perfect ring that little more daunting!

The four main groups which diamonds are graded into and which are recommended to look out for are known as the four Cs which refers to cut, colour, clarity and carat.


When looking at the qualities of diamonds, cut is considered to be one of the most important things to look for and has the biggest effect on the sparkle factor of the diamond, also referred to as its brilliance.

Not only will the cut of the diamond affect its brilliance, but the fire which we already mentioned, as well as its scintillation (flashes of light and dark and the sparkle which the diamond emits) will also depend on the cut, so you can clearly see why the cut is so important.

The cut of a diamond exists on a scale which will determine the brilliance of the cut. For example, if you were wanting a diamond with super brilliance, then a cut grade of Excellent or Very Good would be the best choice.

However, if you are watching your pennies, in terms of size, a diamond of Good to Fair would be an acceptable choice, as even though the brilliance would not be the same as a well cut diamond, the size will be significantly larger for the same price.

The last thing to note about the cut of the diamond is that you should try and avoid poor cut diamonds due to a noticeable lack of brilliance and fire.


For the best value, it is generally thought that the closer the diamond is to being colourless, the greater its value of the diamond. Therefore, when you are out and about looking at diamonds remember to keep in mind that the perfect white diamond shouldnt hold any colour.

The Gemmological Institute of America (GIA) has created a scale in order to determine the colour of the diamond which will help you to see which diamonds are the best to go for!

The colour of diamonds are arranged on a scale from D-Z. A colour which is grade D is of the highest value possible, whilst Z is at the bottom of the scale.

Although it is best to strive for grade D, if you are watching your budget but still want value for your money, then diamonds graded G-H are probably your best option!


When looking for the clarity of a diamond, you are trying to look out for the number of inclusions inside it. By inclusions, were referring to a small mineral, fracture or perhaps even a void, all of which could disrupt the flow of the light and reduce its brilliance.

A diamond which is free of inclusions is known as flawless, however finding the perfect diamond with no imperfections is rather rare to find.

When a diamond is graded for clarity, the number, size, colour, reflectivity and position of the inclusion will be examined under a 10x magnification. Therefore, a diamond which is classed as being flawless will mean that no inclusions can be found using a 10x magnification, but does not necessarily mean that imperfections may not be uncovered when using a higher magnification.

The grades of clarity are classified using the letters V, S and I referring to Very, Small and Inclusion. After flawless, the grades are VVSI1 (very very small inclusion one), VVSI2, VSI1, VSI2, SI1, SI2. The further down the scale you go, for instance when you begin to reach SI2, the inclusions will become more visible to the naked eye.


The carat of a diamond simply refers to the weight of the diamond. Also, as smaller diamonds are more frequent than larger rarer diamonds, the value of a diamond will depend will depend on its carat. Remember though this doesnt mean that you are not looking for the size of the diamond.

It tends to be the case that the higher the diamond carat, the more value it holds, however there could be exceptions to this in some instances.

Furthermore, its also important not to compromise the cut, clarity and colour of the diamond, unless you would prefer a larger carat weight which may mean that the other three Cs are of a lower grade.

However, its generally recommended that that the cut, colour and clarity should be considered before the carat is chosen. If you want to learn more about the diamond carat size chart, then head to Beyond 4Cs where you can find out more about the weight of carats in different shaped diamonds.

Although you might not feel like you know enough to open a diamond jewellers tomorrow, youll definitely have a better understanding as to what each of the 4 Cs refers to.