If you’re beginning your search for the perfect diamond, you may find yourself searching for the ‘best diamond rating’. While it may seem like this is an easy way to find the perfect diamond, there’s more you need to know. All diamonds are rated based on a grading system known as the 4 Cs. The 4 Cs of a diamond are cut, color, clarity, and carat. These four factors are used universally to not only grade (or rate) a diamond but to also determine a diamond’s quality and price.
Why do you need to learn about the 4Cs? Well, these factors help any diamond buyer understand the blueprint of the diamond they are looking to buy. Every diamond, whether it is mined or lab grown, is unique. While two diamonds may look similar, small differences in a diamond’s cut, clarity, color, or carat size can greatly affect the value of the diamond and its overall appearance. Understanding the 4 Cs will help give anyone looking to buy a diamond the right tools necessary for choosing the best diamond at the best value. If you’re in the market for an engagement ring or loose diamond, we’re giving you a quick rundown on diamond ratings and what to know about the 4 Cs.
Diamond shape is often confused with diamond cut. While the shape of a diamond could be round, oval, or rectangular, the cut of a diamond refers to how well this stone interacts with light. The better a diamond is cut, the more brilliance or brightness the diamond will have. Diamond cut is graded (or rated) on a scale that includes: Fair and Poor, Good, Very Good, Excellent, and Ideal. When a diamond has an Ideal or Excellent cut, this means that diamond is cut for maximum fire, scintillation, and brightness. One of the most popular diamond shapes, the round brilliant, has 58 facets. This cut reflects light extremely well, giving this shape superior sparkle. If you see a fancy-shaped diamond (anything besides round) with a cut grade of ‘NONE’ it’s because most of these shapes do not have a universally accepted grading method for their distinct cuts. If you are comparing two stones, we suggest taking a deeper look at their certificate and referencing their symmetry and polish.
With color, diamonds are actually graded (or rated) based on the absence of color found. Diamonds are graded on a scale from D to Z, with Z containing noticeable yellow color on the diamond, and D being colorless or white. More often than not, it is hard to notice the difference in color grade between colorless and near-colorless grades, but the price could still differ significantly. To the naked eye, it can be hard to see color within a diamond, but if you’re unsure if a yellow tint will be noticeable, consult with a diamond expert. Oftentimes, in diamond boutiques, experts will lay stones on a white piece of paper to illustrate the differences in color as this makes it easier to see. Not all diamond shapes show color the same way, either. Diamonds with more facets, like the round brilliant, will hide color better than fancy cut diamonds (oval, emerald, pear, marquise, etc.) However, no matter which shape you choose, the larger the carat size, the presence of color in a diamond will be more apparent.
All diamonds, whether they are formed in nature or in a lab, have flaws. Clarity grades diamonds based upon the lack of flaws present. There are internal flaws, known as inclusions, which could be cracks, fractures, and cavities, which are formed when the diamond is created. There are also external flaws (found on the surface of the diamond) known as blemishes, which could be scratches, pits, or chips. These imperfections typically occur during the diamond cutting process. Diamonds are graded (or rated) on a scale from Included (blemishes and inclusions visible to the naked eye), to Flawless (free of blemishes and inclusions). While a flawless diamond will have a larger price tag, you do not need a flawless diamond in order to have a beautiful diamond. Just as long as your diamond is “eye clean,” or without visible imperfections to the naked eye, it will both look great and help you save.
Diamonds can be certified by independent gem labs, which assess the quality of a diamond. This certification can be seen as a blueprint for your diamond, showing you exactly what you are buying, which can help you determine its value and quality. It is important to purchase a certified diamond from a reputable lab such as GIA (Gemological Institute of America), GCAL (Gem Certification & Assurance Lab), or IGI (International Gemological Institute). These 3rd party labs will help define your diamond’s characteristics through an unbiased source. GIA is one of the leading labs and is responsible for creating the system by which all gemologists and labs grade (or rate) diamonds — the 4 C’s.
Clean Origin is proud to carry diamonds that are certified by GCAL (Gem Certification and Assurance Lab), IGI (International Gemological Institute), and GIA (Gemological Institute of America). Every diamond purchase from Clean Origin comes with a diamond certificate, and our lab created diamonds are graded (or rated) for quality using the exact same standards as mined diamonds. You can learn more about our diamond certification process, here.