In selecting a diamond, the rarity, value and beauty is determined by the four factors mentioned above, called the 4C’s: Carat Weight , Color , Clarity , and Cut (proportions & finish). Today, many consumers are aware of the 4C’s, however, understanding how they determine value is important to discover what appeals to you in selecting a diamond, and getting the most for your money.
Carat weight refers to the size of the diamond. Based on a standard unit of measure, one carat is divided into 100 points. The term originated from carob seeds that were used to balance scales in ancient times.
The most desirable diamonds are colorless because the absence of color enhances the diamond’s ability to reflect a rainbow of color. Diamonds are graded on a scale of D (almost clear white) to Z
Diamonds can contain slight imperfections. Often invisible to the naked eye, these natural birthmarks fall into two categories-inclusions (internal) and blemishes (external). Fewer inclusions increase the value of the stone.
Cut gives the diamond its brilliance. Of the four C’s, it’s the only one dependent on a human touch. Using precise mathematical formulas, the cutter transforms a diamond in the rough into a sparkling jewel that reflects and refracts light.
Finding the right diamond for you
To understand how the 4C’s work together to determine a diamond’s rarity and value, consider this diagram, like a classic balance. For a given PRICE (the fulcrum), you balance the (Carat Weight) on the left side and (Color, Clarity, and Cutting) on the right side. To select a larger size for a given price, to stay in balance, you would choose a less rare quality diamond. To select a rarer quality diamond, to stay in balance, you would choose a smaller size.
The combination of the 4C’s is strictly personal preference. By understanding this information, you can make the best choice. Realize that Carat Weight affects the value by about 10-20% per step up or down in size, Color/Clarity by about 10-15% per/grade, and Cut Quality can affect value by a considerable amount (25-50%), as it is almost completely controlled by the cutter.
Garcia's extensive online diamond education will teach you everything you need to know to choose the perfect diamond with confidence and success.