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Diamonds: The Four Cs

Updated: Jan 22, 2021

Whether you're thinking of splashing out on a special piece of jewellery for yourself, or in the market for the perfect engagement ring, knowing the details and the difference between each diamond you come across can be daunting and frankly, can become quite complicated. From knowing the size of a carat, to recognising your emerald cut from your princess cut, a little bit of diamond knowledge can go a long way to making sure such an important decision is the best one.

When certified using the appropriate gemological tools, all diamonds have their own qualities which are then listed on their own unique certificate. Diamond grading is often categorised into the Four C's: cut, clarity, colour and carat.

The First C - Cut

The cut of a diamond refers to the proportion of how a stone is cut and how the various sections of the stone are shaped. When the diamonds are certified, the cut is categorised from Ideal cut — a diamond with maximum brilliance to excellent, very good, good to fair/poor, which often means it does not give off a lot of 'sparkle' and can mostly be expected when the size of the stone is being prioritised rather than the quality or fire the diamond gives off.

The cut of a diamond also refers to the shape. Your classic diamond is referred to as a round brilliant cut, but other cuts such as pear shaped, oval, princess (square) and marquise shaped diamonds are popular stones.

The photo above shows an emerald cut and a brilliant cut diamond.

The Second C - Carat

The carat of a diamond refers to the size of the stone. Carats can start from a small a diamond as 0.05. Carats may often be referred to as points. If a diamond is said to have 20 points of diamonds, this means the stone is 0.20ct. Or if there are multiple diamonds in a ring, it has the weight equal to 0.20ct. The more carats in a diamond, the bigger the stone — however the carat of a diamond cannot be used alone as an accurate measurement of the quality, as you will find out with the next two Cs.

The smallest ring (first on the finger) is 0.26ct. The second is 0.50ct and the final ring is 1.00ct.

The Third C - Clarity

The clarity of a diamond refers to how many visible blemishes or inclusions you can see in a diamond. The scale starts from Internally flawless, which is a blemish free diamond and would indicate a good quality stone. The scale then progresses to VVS1/VVS2 (very, very small inclusions) which are inclusions which cannot be seen with the naked eye, VS1 (very small inclusions) which are still very difficult to locate with eyes alone. The scale then extends to SI (slightly included) and I stones (imperfect) which both show blemishes and inclusions in a diamond, which would look like a black dot in the stone. The more flawless the diamond, the better the quality, but stones which have blemishes unable to be seen without magnification can also make great and typically more affordable stones.

The Forth C - Colour

The colour of a diamond refers to how white the stone is. The scale for this is graded in letters. The most exceptional white begins at D. The further down the scale, the more yellow/tinted the diamonds become. From D to around H, would be classed as a white colour diamond. From I, the diamonds become slightly more tinted the further down the scale you go. Simple!

When searching for your perfect diamond, the 4 Cs are always something that should be considered, and having a little bit of knowledge before you purchase is always helpful! All of these categories go hand in hand with each other and knowing which to prioritise is essential, whether its carat and size over colour/clarity, or a smaller, more flawless diamond you'd prefer, knowing the attributes will make your search feel a lot less overwhelming.

All of our second hand and new diamond pieces are available to view via the links below. We are always happy to help you make your decision and will always try to provide you with any information you may need.

Second hand diamond:

New diamond:

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