The Four C’s of Diamond Buying

I’m getting ready to get on an airplane to head off to a convention in Dallas. I have my airline tickets and my coupon got me a great deal on a room and I’ll be leaving in a few hours. Before I leave for my trip though, I wanted to put a quick post ( on my website about the four C’s of diamond buying. It’s no secret that diamonds are valuable and because they’re so valuable, it is important to have a grading system that is universally accepted. A system that rates diamonds ( to determine how valuable they are. The agreed-upon grading system evaluates diamonds based on carat, clarity, color, and cut and these are known as the four C’s of diamond buying.


When we are talking about diamonds, carat is the standard unit of weight. The name carat is derived from carob seeds which were once used by gem traders as counterweights to balance their scales. Carob seeds are fairly uniform in weight ( but needless to say, it is not a perfect way to measure valuable gemstones. In 1913, the United States defined a metric carat as 0.2 g and other countries soon adopted that measurement as well. Now, a carat will weigh exactly the same amount anywhere in the world.

Of course the carat weight alone is only one of the important factors to consider when determining a diamond’s value. Two diamonds of equal carat size can be worth very different amounts of money.


When we are talking about diamonds, clarity does not refer to whether a diamond is clear or not, it has nothing to do with color. Clarity is really a measure of how close to perfect a diamond is. If there are imperfections in a diamond, known as inclusions (, the diamond will be worth less money. Clarity is a measure of inclusions. Inclusions are rarely visible to the naked eye and diamonds must be viewed under magnification to see them. The fewer inclusions there are, and the smaller the inclusions are, the more valuable the diamond will be.


Generally speaking, the more valuable diamonds will be as close to colorless as possible. The color of diamonds is graded ( on a scale from colorless to light yellow. The exception to the rule are diamonds with more vivid colors which can actually be much more expensive.


The cut of a diamond is generally considered to be the most valuable C in the four C’s of diamond buying. It is also the only one of the four C’s that is controlled by human beings. The cut ( of a diamond does not refer to the shape of the diamond but rather the way it is cut. When a diamond is cut it creates facets and the facets allow light to enter, reflect, and exit the diamond. People want their diamonds to sparkle and there are different ways to cut diamonds to get different effects. When a diamond is cut properly, light enters the diamond and is then dispersed through the top of the stone, giving it maximum sparkle and brilliance.

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