The 4 C's of Diamonds

To simplify diamond grading, the 4Cs refer to cut, color, clarity, and carat weight - a universal language developed in collaboration with the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

What Are the Four Cs of Diamonds?

Before purchasing a diamond, it is critical to understand how to ensure you are getting what you pay for. Understanding how the value of a diamond is determined will also help you make tradeoffs. You might prefer a larger stone with less clarity or minor flaws over a flawless but much smaller stone.

These four diamond qualities are the most important factors influencing its beauty and structure. The combination of these factors determines a diamond's relative rarity and value. Within the diamond, the 4Cs interact with one another. They determine how the diamond appears and its quality. For example, the ability of a diamond to reflect light to your eyes is determined primarily by cut quality but also by color and clarity.


The first of the four C's that most people learn about is the carat weight, which is also the best indicator of a diamond's size.

The weight of a diamond is measured in carats. The weight is rounded to two decimal places. One carat is equal to 0.2 grams. A half carat (0.50 carat) is thus equivalent to 0.10 grams. In contrast, 1 gram equals 5.00 carat. The greater the carat weight, the more unique the diamond and, as a result, the greater the price.


The clarity of a diamond is determined by its inherent inclusions, typically tiny in size. According to expert analysts, the clarity of a diamond is determined by the defects associated with it. Contrary to popular belief, many specialists in diamond extraction and cutting agree that the clarity of such precious stones is strongly tied to the purity and rarity element associated with such assets.

When evaluating the clarity of a diamond, gemologists can be an excellent choice. A gemmologist thoroughly examines the product qualities and magnifies the product to note the clarity linked with the costly stone.

FL Flawless No internal or external inclusions of any kind visible under 10x magnification to a trained eye, the most rare & expensive of all clarity grades.
IF Internally Flawless No internal inclusions visible under 10x magnification to a trained eye, but there may be some tiny external irregularities in the finish.
VVS-1 Very Very Slightly Included 1 Usually just one tiny inclusion visible only to a trained eye under 10x magnification.
VVS-2 Very Very Slightly Included 2 Tiny inclusions visible only to a trained eye under 10x magnification.
VS-1 Very Slightly Included 1 Very small inclusions visible with 10x magnification.
VS-2 Very Slightly Included 2 Several very small inclusions visible with 10x magnification.
SI-1 Slightly Included 1 Small inclusions visible with 10x magnification.
SI-2 Slightly Included 2 Several small inclusions visible with 10x magnification.
SI-3 Slightly Included 3 Inclusions that may be visible to the naked eye for a trained observer.
I-1 Included 1 Flaws that are visible to the naked eye.
I-2 Included 2 Many flaws clearly visible to the naked eye that also decrease the brilliance.
I-3 Included 3 Many flaws clearly visible to the naked eye which decrease the brilliance and compromise the structure of the diamond, making it more easily cracked or chipped


Diamonds are found in every color of the rainbow. The finest colour for a diamond is none at all or something that cannot be seen. Most people, however, are preoccupied with diamonds that are white or clear in color.

Light can easily flow through a colorless diamond, resulting in light dispersion as a rainbow's hue. Colors range from entirely colorless to pale yellow. Differences between diamond grades are relatively subtle; therefore, grading is done under limited lighting, and color grading diamonds requires a skilled eye and many years of practice.

D Absolutely Colorless The highest color grade, which is extremely rare.
E Colorless Only minute traces of color can be detected by an expert gemologist. A rare diamond.
F Colorless Slight color detected by an expert gemologist, but still considered a "colorless" grade. A high-quality diamond.
G-H Near-colorless Color noticeable when compared to diamonds of better grades, but these grades offer excellent value.
I-J Near-colorless Color slightly detectable. An excellent value.
K-M Faintly tinted Usually yellow. Tint can be seen with the naked eye.
N-Z Tinted Usually yellow, may progress to brownish. Tint visible to the naked eye, even when mounted.


The proportions and symmetry of a diamond are what genuinely characterize its cut. The proportions of your diamond significantly impact how brilliantly it shines. To make an "ideal cut" diamond that allows the most excellent light to travel through the top of the stone, the depth, table size, crown height and angle, girdle thickness, and other criteria are considered.

A rough diamond's optimal cut is established after it has been mined to keep the maximum levels of clarity, color, and carat weight. The terms "cut" and "shape" of a diamond are frequently used interchangeably, such as round brilliant or princess cut.