Do Your Diamonds Make the Grade?

Using the 4 Cs of Diamond Grading

Evaluating diamond quality can take the eye of a well-trained professional. With a little knowledge, though, you can estimate the value and quality of diamonds. Start by using these tips. Many diamond graders refer to them as “The Four Cs” of diamond evaluation.

The First C: Carat Weight

Image via Flickr by Kim Alaniz

Diamonds are weighed by carats. One carat equals .2 grams. If you have an accurate kitchen scale, then you can measure a diamond’s weight.

Large diamonds are typically more valuable than smaller ones. When determining value, though, you also have to consider the overall diamond quality.

The Second C: Color

If you take a close look at your diamond, you’ll likely see that it isn’t truly clear. Most diamonds have some tint to them. Very few are completely colorless.

Color gets measured on a scale from D to Z, with D being totally clear and Z being yellow diamonds.

The Third C: Clarity

Clarity describes how many inclusions or blemishes a diamond has. Inclusions are defects inside the diamond. Blemishes are defects on the diamond’s surface.

The diamond quality chart for clarity might look complicated at first, but it gets easier to use with experience. Basically, a flawless diamond is graded “F.” Those without any inclusions and only minor blemishes are graded “IF.” The diamond quality scale continues from there.

If you plan to rate a diamond’s clarity on your own, then you will need a magnifying glass powerful enough to increase size by 10 times. That’s what the pros use when they look at diamonds for imperfections.

The Fourth C: Cut

All natural diamonds mined from the earth are completely uncut. If you happened to find an uncut diamond, you probably wouldn’t even know you had something valuable in your hand.

It’s the cut that brings a diamond to life by adding reflective surfaces that enhance the stone’s beauty. It takes a master craftsman to cut a diamond perfectly without adding any flaws. That’s one of the reasons that diamond cut and clarity play such an important role in establishing a stone’s value.

Anyone who has bought a diamond ring, necklace, or other type of jewelry knows that diamond cutters use different styles. Some popular cuts include:

  • Pear
  • Marquise
  • Round brilliant
  • Oval
  • Emerald

The number of facets cut into the diamond helps determine its value. Most diamonds have 58 facets. Those that stand out as the world’s most beautiful diamonds, though, usually have more. The Hope Diamond, for instance, has 74 total facets (including those on the girdle).

When counting facets, refer to this chart to help you identify different parts of the diamond. The more you know about the shape, the easier it becomes to count the facets. Although, considering that most diamonds are quite small, it’s still difficult to count the facets accurately.

Now that you know more about determining diamond quality, do you think you could judge the stone? What obstacles have your encountered when choosing the best diamond? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

About the Author:

Chloe is a freelance writer that focuses on luxury asset trends for Borro Private Finance.