The Diamond Guide: All You Need to Know About the 4 Cs


Buying a diamond or a piece of diamond jewellery is usually a big investment. It’s important therefore that you get it right and buy a diamond which fits your needs within the piece of jewellery you’re purchasing as well as your budget. This is where the 4 Cs of diamonds comes in: the four factors which can alter a diamond’s beauty as well as its cost. These are namely a diamond’s colour, cut, clarity and carat.

What are the 4 Cs in diamonds?

The 4 Cs of diamonds are a way of grading a diamond in order to establish a diamond’s rarity and value. The 4 Cs stand for:

·  Colour: how colourless the diamond is.

·  Clarity: how clear the diamond is of inclusions and blemishes.

·  Cut: the diamond’s angles, facets and proportions.

·  Carat: the diamond’s weight.

These four factors combine and complement each other and this gives each diamond its own unique look and qualities. For example, how much light the diamond is able to reflect back will depend on both its colour and its clarity, but mostly on the quality of the cut; each factor interacts with the others to give the diamond its own unique qualities.

Diamond colour

You may think that all white diamonds are, as the name suggests, simply white in colour. Whilst that is broadly true – and the untrained eye would be forgiven for thinking otherwise – white diamonds actually occur in a variety of shades from completely colourless (which is extremely rare) through to warm whites and even hints of yellow. Beyond this, they become known as ‘fancy colours’.

Although each different shade of white diamond is very, very subtle, the colour of the diamond is important, as it affects the diamond’s sparkle, as well as how it looks within a piece of jewellery. There is no real right or wrong when it comes to a diamond’s colour, either; sometimes the colour that you choose is simply down to personal choice, and sometimes you may decide on the colour based on the piece of jewellery you’re buying and how it will look within it. It may be as simple as you prefer a warmer white colour over an icy white colour.

The colour will also affect the diamond’s price; an ice white diamond will be more expensive than a warm white diamond. This will also help you to determine which size of diamond will fit your budget, depending on which colour you go for.

Diamond Clarity

Because of the natural process that creates diamonds – the extreme heat and pressure within the earth millions of years ago – almost all diamonds feature inclusions. The clarity of a diamond will refer to its inclusions, and how they affect the way that the diamond is able to reflect and refract the light. Although often not visible to the naked eye, diamonds with fewer of these perceived blemishes will be higher in price, as flawless (or ‘FL’ rated in diamond terms) is very rare whereas a diamond with lots of inclusions (rated ‘I’) will be more budget friendly.

Because the 4 Cs of diamonds interact with each other, however, a diamond with lots of inclusions can be balanced out with the colour of the diamond that you choose, too.

Diamond Cut

The way that a diamond is cut will affect its sparkle. One facet will reflect light to another, much like a mirror, meaning that a badly cut diamond can look dull. On the other hand, a well cut diamond which has a lesser grading in terms of clarity or colour can be more expensive to buy, because the cut creates more sparkle. As such, cut is the biggest indicator of a diamond’s beauty and when purchasing diamond jewellery, this should be your biggest consideration.

Diamond carat

Although many people believe that the diamond’s Carat refers to the size of the diamond, it actually refers to its weight. A 1 Carat diamond weights 200 milligrams, but depending on the shape of the diamond and how it is cut, two 1 Carat diamonds might be quite different in size.

Many people believe that Carat is the most important factor to bear in mind when purchasing a diamond, but of course, clarity, cut and colour all work together: it’s therefore important to bear all of the 4 Cs of diamonds in mind when purchasing a diamond.

Looking to buy diamond jewellery? Visit E.K. Jewellers.

If you’re in the market for a diamond or a piece of diamond jewellery, pop into E.K. Jewellers, Hainault. We can advise on the 4 Cs of diamonds, and help you to choose a diamond to fit not only your style, or the piece of jewellery you’re commissioning, but also your budget. Let us give you the best sparkle possible from your diamond jewellery.


Posted on by Ian Tubby.