A diamond’s grade depends on four characteristics, also known as the Four C’s: cut, carat, clarity, and color. Together, these properties determine how much your gorgeous stone is worth. For additional information, read more about diamond education.
The first C is Cut. Cut is extremely important in determining value. A round brilliant has about 58 facets and the proportion of the facets on each diamond determine a very key characteristic in quality. The better the proportion of the facet, the more light will be reflected into one’s eye. The diamond will also sparkle more and give off a bigger shine. The cut can also refer to the shape, such as: round, princess, emerald, heart, pear, or oval.
The next C is for Carat. Carat refers to the size and weight of your gemstone. Larger diamonds, of course, cost more per carat because of their size. Diamonds are measured in points, with 100 points per diamond. A half carat gem has 50 points.
Clarity, the third C, describes how clear the diamond is and ranges from flawless, which is perfect to I, meaning Included.
It goes by this chart:
- Flawless: The stone is perfect inside and out, the rarest of them all. Flawless diamonds are very difficult to find and they are the purest. They contain no imperfections what so ever.
- Internally Flawless: These diamonds are internally flawless and have no imperfection inside at all and are also very rare.
- VVS1, VVS2: These have practically no imperfections. It is very difficult to see any imperfections, even under 10x magnification. Stones in this range are more rare than the lower clarity grades.
- VS1, VS2: Stones in this range are the most sought after for being as clear as possible without the heavy price tag of VVS and Flawless. Diamonds in this category have very small imperfections which are not visible by the naked eye and sometimes can be picked up using 10X magnification.
- SI1, SI2, SI3: The gems in the SI1 category tend to be eye clean with some exceptions. Some SI2s are eye clean as well. Once in the SI3 range, you can expect to see small imperfections by the naked eye. The SI1-SI2 range is very popular because it will give you the most bang for your buck.
- I1, I2: A clarity grade of I1 or I2 tend to have multiple imperfections visible by the naked eye. Stones in this range are great because of the relatively low cost compared to other clarity grades. Clients tend to like this range when looking for a larger size stone at a lower cost. As in life, not everything can be perfect, some of the worlds most beautiful gems can have imperfections and still be the most beautiful in the world.
Lastly, the fourth C represents color.
It describes the amount of color the diamond contains. The most flawless and perfect gem should have no color at all and others will range from colorless to yellow with slight tints of yellow, gray or brown. Some can also range from intense yellow to brown, blue, green, pink and red. Fancy colors are rare and therefore more valuable. Their range is measured on a letter scale from D-Z, with D being exceptionally white and so forth. Color can be determined using a Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Certified set of master stones or by using a Colorimeter. The colorimeter is a computer that accurately grades a polished gemstone's color.