The 4 C s

The 4 "C"s is a classic model used by jewelers, wholesalers and consumers to describe a diamond's quality. Learning this model is an excellent way to increase your diamond knowledge, and should be your main focus when looking for loose diamonds, as well as diamond engagement rings and other diamond jewelry.

Carat Weight

Carat Weight is simply the weight of the diamond (size).

By definition, 1 carat is exactly 200 milligrams. Since most diamonds sold in the jewelry industry weigh less than 1 carat, the carat is subdivided into �points.� There are 100 points in 1 carat, so that a diamond weighing 3/4 carat would be a �75 point diamond.�

In summary:1 carat= 200milligram= 100 points.


CF: Completely Flawless

No internal or external characteristics. An expert with a 10x microscope cannot see any internal or external flaws.

IF: Internally Flawless

Only external characteristics are present, which can be removed by further polishing the stone.

VVS1 � VVS2: Very Very Slight (Inclusions)

Only an expert can detect the internal characteristics with a 10X microscope. If an expert can see internal characteristics from the top of the diamond, it is a VVS2. Otherwise, if an expert can only detect flaws when viewing the bottom of the stone, then it is a VVS1.

VS1 � VS2: Very Slight (Inclusions)

You can see the internal characteristics with a 10X microscope, but it takes a long time (more than about 10 seconds).

SI1 � SI2: Slightly Included

You can see the internal characteristics with a 10X microscope.

I1 � I3: Included

You can see the internal characteristics with the naked eye. Consider avoiding I2-I3 diamonds.


The color of a diamond refers to its degree of �yellowness.� The ideal diamond is completely colorless, and therefore it will be the most expensive. The Gemological Institute of America (G.I.A.) grades color alphabetically from D (totally colorless) to Z (yellow)



In an ideally-proportioned diamond, all of the light entering the diamond from the top will bounce within the diamond and be reflected back through the top, giving the stone maximum brilliance and fire. If the stone is too shallow or too deep, some light will escape through the bottom part of the diamond, giving the appearance of shadows when viewed from the opposite side.

It�s easy to see that the deep-cut diamond shown above will have a higher carat weight, but is clearly the less desirable stone! Many jewelers will not discuss cut proportions unless the customer specifically asks; a stone rich in carat weight but poorly proportioned can be deeply �discounted,� giving the buyer a false impression of a great deal.

Common Proportion Metrics

In order to assess how well a given diamond is cut to ideal proportions, you will have to measure the diamond. If the stone has a G.I.A. certificate, the measurements will be on the certificate. Otherwise, ask the jeweler to perform the measurements in front of you.

You don�t have to be a perfectionist. It is acceptable to purchase a diamond that rates �good� or even �fair/poor� on any category, as long as you are AWARE of what you�re purchasing and understand the cost and quality trade-offs.

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