You know the saying: Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. And you wouldn’t want your BFF to be anything but fab! So, how do you make sure the diamond in that gorgeous bezel pendant necklace is truly top-notch? Pay attention to the 4 C’s!
Grab your handy notebook, fashionista, because it’s time for another short lesson! Pretty soon, you’ll be an expert at choosing quality diamonds for everyone in your life.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, what in the heck are the 4 C’s?! They refer to a diamond’s Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat weight. These four components are the basis of the international diamond grading system, which was developed and introduced more than 60 years ago by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Whoa! Each area is evaluated differently, based on unique scales. So, let’s dive in a bit further!
According to experts, this is the most important characteristic when choosing a diamond. Many people think a diamond’s cut is the same as its shape. But hold on! That’s not true! “Cut” actually refers to how well the stone’s facets (aka flat, polished surfaces) interact with light to produce its stunning shimmer.
After trained gemologists calculate the proportions of the facets and study how they reflect light, diamonds can be given a range of ratings, from “excellent” to “poor.” For reference, “excellent” and “very good” diamond cuts will give off plenty of white light and flashes of color, while poorly cut diamonds will offer very little sparkle. And you DEFINITELY wouldn’t want that!
*Pro Tip: Interestingly enough, a diamond’s overall size doesn’t impact the cut rating. But FYI: Sparkle might be limited in gems that are cut too shallow or deep!
Who doesn’t love a big, crystal clear diamond? That’s right. When it comes to diamonds, the less color, the better. The diamond color scale features letters of the alphabet, starting with D and ending with Z. That means stones given D through F rankings are colorless and therefore more valuable. On the other hand, Z-rated gems often have light yellow or brown tones.
But what if you want a bold pop of color, like a blue, pink or canary yellow diamond (aka fancy colors)? Since these stones fall outside of the standard color range, the Federal Trade Commission doesn’t offer any guidelines. In this case, the deeper the color, the better!
*Pro Tip: If you’re unable to get your hands on a completely colorless diamond, it’s no big deal! Near colorless diamonds are just as good, and your eye won’t be able to tell the difference! You might be able to save a few bucks too. CHA-CHING!
As you may have guessed, clarity refers to the purity of a stone. A diamond might look flawless to the untrained eye, but there’s a good chance it has small cracks, scratches or even polish lines that we simply can’t see! So, GIA’s diamond clarity scale ranks gems based on their internal (inclusions) and external (blemishes) imperfections. Here’s a peek at those ratings:
● Flawless (FL) - No inclusions or blemishes can be seen under 10x magnification.
● Internally Flawless (IF) - No inclusions can be seen under 10x magnification.
● Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) - Inclusions are so minor that they’re difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification.
● Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) - With effort, inclusions can be seen under 10x magnification, but they’re typically characterized as minor.
● Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) - Inclusions are visible under 10x magnification.
● Included (I1, I2, and I3) - Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification and can affect the diamond’s transparency and brilliance.
*Pro Tip: Check the diamond certification for placement of any imperfections. If possible, it’s better to choose a diamond with scratches, etc. located near the sides of the stone, as these are less noticeable!
Let’s debunk another diamond myth. The term “carat” DOES NOT refer to the size of a diamond! Instead, it actually indicates the stone’s weight. One carat is equivalent to 0.20 grams (or 200 milligrams), but carats are often represented as points, where one represents 100 points. For example, one carat would be 1.00 ct and a half carat would be 0.50 ct.
*Pro Tip: Several factors affect a diamond’s price. But here’s a good rule of thumb: As carat weight increases, cost rises too. While a huge sparkler is tempting, keep in mind that it will also be pretty expensive.
About grace von
grace von is a female-founded and led brand committed to offering the highest quality and craftsmanship in every design. Our fine jewelry celebrates women and features bold and playful pieces crafted entirely of real 14k and 18k gold paired with natural and lab-grown diamonds and colorful gemstones.
From tennis bracelets to diamond studs, pearls and Zodiac-inspired pieces, grace von allows women to commemorate their own unique stories and experiences with every piece.
Shop our collection at our in-person showroom in Chicago’s vibrant River North Gallery District. We offer no-credit-needed financing – feel free to apply and get your approval within 24 hours!