The 4 C’S of Diamonds

Every diamond is completely unique — much like a snowflake. This is because each individual diamond has different variations that make it unique. These variations can affect a diamond’s desirability and price.

Believe it or not, there was no set standard to which all diamonds were judged until the middle of the 20th century when the Gemological Institute of America, or GIA for short, created the first globally-accepted standard for describing diamonds. Those elements are:


  • Color
  • Clarity
  • Cut
  • Carat weight


Today, the four C’s are universally accepted for determining the quality and worth of any diamond on the planet. This presents two benefits: not only can the diamond quality be communicated in a language everyone can understand, consumers now know precisely what they are getting when making a purchase, according to GIA.


Explaining the 4 C’s

So what do each of the 4C’s mean? Let’s take a look:



When the term “color” is used to describe gem-quality diamonds, it’s actually the absence of color on which the evaluation is based. When a diamond is found to be chemically pure and structurally perfect, it has no hue, shading or coloring. This gives it a higher value than a diamond with slight coloring to it. Take a look at the GIA’s D-to-Z diamond color-grading system, which measures degrees of colorlessness through controlled lighting and optimal viewing conditions. It starts with the letter D and goes all the way to the letter Z, organized by increasing presence of color. To put it in perspective, D is colorless and Z has the most color. Unless you have a trained eye and viewing apparatus, you likely can’t tell the subtle differences between one and another.




Referring to the absence of inclusions and blemishes, clarity measures the flaws present on the inside and outside of the gem. Because diamonds are mined from the earth, originating from carbon that’s exposed to high heat and pressure, inclusions (internal characteristics) and blemishes (external characteristics) can arise. Many factors go into evaluating clarity, such as the number, size, relief, type, and location of these characteristics, and how they affect how the stone looks overall. The fewer flaws a diamond has, the more valuable it is.




A diamond’s brilliance and appeal lies in how it’s cut. When the average person thinks about cut, they often think about the shape they find it in at the store, such as princess, round, etc. However, cut really refers to how well the gem’s facets interact with the light. This is all a result of the workmanship and precision that goes into the cut of each diamond in a perfect balance of proportion, symmetry, and polish so maximum light is reflected. This happens to be the most difficult category to analyze but in general, brightness, fire (scattering of white light), and scintillation (sparkle) all come into play, as well as the design, craftsmanship, weight and thickness of the gem.


Carat Weight


A carat — at least in terms of diamonds — is a reflection of how much it weighs, with one metric carat equaling 200 milligrams. To allow for the utmost in precision, one carat is divided further into 100 points. The higher the carat, the more valuable it is and the higher price it can command. That being said, two diamonds of equal carat weight may come with different price tags because the other factors (color, cut, clarity) affect the overall rating as well.

Contact Diamond Factory Dallas


Looking to increase the value of your inventory? Here at Diamond Factory Dallas, our team helps wholesalers and retailers increase the value of their diamond inventory through the improvement of cut, color and clarity of the diamond. From factory to finger, we offer the very best in diamonds, engagement rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets. Contact us today for more information.

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