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Star129 Education: the 4 C’s

The 4 Cs of a diamond – cut, color, clarity, and carat - are the most important characteristics to comprehend when buying a diamond. These characteristics allow you to compare and contrast a diamond’s quality and value. These 4 characteristics make up the diamond’s grade. Each “C” also has its own scale of grading to determine quality. The combination of these helps sellers set the ideal price for a diamond.


The Cut refers to the stone’s facet pattern, shape, and polish. Cut is the most important of the 4 Cs because it has the greatest influence on a diamond’s brilliance. Diamonds can be cut to optimize carat weight or possibly to minimize or completely hide the look of inclusions. Three things determine the quality of a cut diamond: proportion, symmetry, and polish.

The cut grade scale most often uses GIA standards to describe the diamond as Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor. A diamond’s cut often speaks for itself when determining quality.


Color is often referred to as the second most important of the 4 Cs. Color actually refers to the lack of color in a diamond; the less color a diamond possesses, the higher the grade. The grading scale for this C is built of 5 groups which totals 23 letters to reflect each color.


Clarity of a diamond refers to the assessment of imperfections in or blemishes on a stone. Imperfections are normal because a diamond is natural; in fact, only 2% of diamonds in the world are actually flawless. Flawless meaning a diamond with no imperfections at all which is the highest grade of the clarity scale. There are 5 main categories for this scale with 11 grades in all.


Carat weight is a term used to refer to a diamond’s total weight not its size. The weight is measured in carats, 100 points is equal to 1 carat. This scale allows for precise measurements to the hundredth decimal place. Simply, as a diamond’s carat weight increases so does its price.