A Quick Guide to the 4cs of Diamonds
Learn what makes diamonds valuable before you buy a
The brightest part in many a woman's life is diamond. It's an allotropic form of carbon and (paradoxically), one of the darkest elements in the periodic
table. Yet, it's one of the most desired and most brilliant forms on Earth.
The most fought for of all the gems, diamonds, have a long romancing
history. Welcome to the exciting world of diamonds.
|In addition to diamond's carat, clarity and color, the
cut is the most important,
ideally being of 57 cut and polished faces - 33 on the top and 24 on the bottom.
Diamonds in History and Today
Diamonds have had a bloody history right from Cleopatra to the famed Koh-I-Noor. This famous diamond, at the
earliest recorded date in 1526 AD, weighed 793 carats before being reduced to 186 carats by the lapidary
Today De Beers monopolizes most of the world's diamond production and trade, which is around 130 million carats
annually, according to some estimates.
A diamond is weighed in units of carats. The carat originally meant the weight of
one carob seed. However, the present standard carat is metric and equals 0.2 grams (200 milligrams) in mass, or
1/42 of an ounce. See more below, under Carat heading.
What are the 4Cs of
If you have ever taken an interest in diamonds, or have bought one, you would have heard of the 4Cs of diamonds.
What are the 4Cs?
Diamonds are mostly mined in South Africa, Russia, Australia and Botswana. They can't sold directly as such, as
they're raw - dirty looking and imperfect. Instead, they have to be professionally cut into chosen shapes, which
will then determine their individual value.
The 4Cs stand for: carat, clarity, color and cut of diamonds. These four characteristics of
each diamond determine the quality and price of these gems. Here's some more info about each of these
When it comes to weight, one carat equals 0.2 g (grams), or 200 mg (milligrams) in metric measures. This is
important to know when you want your diamond's weight expressed in grams.
However, one carat is usually divided into 100 points, to make it more precise in measuring the actual weight of
diamond. Thus, for example, one quarter of a carat equals 25 points and it's written as 0.25 ct. You will find that
a diamond's weight is almost always in fractions of carats.
The next thing that matters for diamond's value is its clarity. The clearer the diamond, the more brilliant it
is, and the higher is its value. Tiny inclusions (impurities due to presence of other minerals) mask the
When determining the cost of a diamond, the numbers of inclusions, their colors, and their positions are
considered. Fewer inclusions in the stone mean greater is the reflection (brilliance) and higher is the value.
Diamond's clarity is graded on the scale from I3 to VVS1, starting from
Very Noticeable Inclusions to Very, Very Slightly Included, listed in decreasing order.
The best color for a diamond is having no color. White light passed through it will come out in rainbow
colors. Although most diamonds look colorless they are slightly yellow or brown with subtle shades. Proximity to
being colorless raises the value.
But there are exceptions to this, especially when it comes to larger diamonds of fancy color. This is sometime
reflected in the extremely high prices fetched by such diamond sales at auctions.
Cut is the dictator of a diamond’s value. A best cut diamond reflects all the light without allowing it to pass
through, giving it the brightest of shines. The best cut diamond has 57 facets (cut and polished faces) with 33 of
them being on the top half, crown, and the rest on the pavilion, bottom half.
Mathematically this gives diamond the total reflection. The best cut diamond will have a round shape with
the pavilion having an included angle 600, albeit there is a complex guidance chart for cutting diamonds.