Diamond Guide: The Four C's

With diamonds, it’s all about the four Cs – cut, colour, clarity and carat weight. 


Weeks, or months, of painstaking work go into cutting and polishing diamonds so that they catch the light just so.

In fact, the way a diamond is cut determines its brilliance, dimensions and finish. The better its cut, the better it handles light, giving it more sparkle and brilliance.


Just like with the clothes we choose to wear the colours of diamonds are all important.  They come in an amazing array of often rare and very valuable colours, from yellows, blues, through pinks and greens. Naturally-coloured diamonds are much sought after and they don’t come cheap, either.  But the rarest, and of course most highly-prized of all, is the totally colourless.

Jewellers use the alphabet to grade diamonds, starting with D for that elusive colourless diamond, and moving through the alphabet the more visible the colour.


Flawlessness: The complete and utter pinnacle of perfection, inside and out; a rare quality in anything, but especially in diamonds.

This is how we judge diamond clarity. Does it have any identifying characteristics on the outside (fittingly called a blemish) or on the inside (an inclusion)? The vast majority of diamonds contain miniscule inclusions. They won’t affect the beauty or durability of the diamond but the fewer and smaller the inclusions, the greater the sparkle.

After flawlessness, there’s a scale of inclusions that can help you judge the diamond’s clarity and worth:

  • Very, Very Small Inclusions Grades 1-2 (VVS1, VVS2) are internal flaws that are only visible under 10x magnification. These are also very rare.
  • Very Small Inclusions Grades 1-2 (VS1, VS2) have inclusions which are not visible to the naked eye which means they’re very high quality.
  • Small Inclusions Grade 1-2 (SI1, SI2) diamonds have small inclusions that may be visible to the naked eye but represent excellent value.


Something as special as a gemstone deserves its own system of measurement. Originally, they were measured with carob seeds, and this may be where the word ‘carat’ comes from. Carat weight is an easy way to compare diamond sizes, no matter what the cut.

One carat is 0.2 grams and less than five per cent of diamonds weigh more than a carat (in other words, only a few ladies will be carrying anything heavier than 0.2 grams on their finger).

Most diamonds are weighed in hundredths of a carat, or ‘points’. So, 25 points is a quarter of a carat, or 0.25 carats.


Some diamonds carry a certification that includes an analysis of their dimensions, clarity, colour, polish, symmetry and other characteristics. The certificates serve as proof that they have undergone an unbiased, professional examination, and that they can be traced back to suppliers who comply with the UN-mandated Kimberley Process.

Daily care of your diamonds

Diamonds may be the hardest substance known to man, but they can still get scratched and damage. Here are some tips on how you can make your diamond really sparkle:

  • Avoid contact with chlorine bleach, which can pit or discolour the mounting.
  • Avoid wearing your diamond while doing heavy work – diamonds are hard, but can still be chipped by a hard blow against the grain.
  • Diamonds can scratch each other, as well as other stones and metals, so keep them separate from your other jewellery to avoid damage.
  • To clean your diamonds, brush them gently with a clean toothbrush in a bowl, of warm, liquid detergent suds. Then rinse through a wire strainer before patting dry with a soft, lint-free cloth.

We recommend getting your diamonds professionally cleaned once a year.


The original source of this information came from: http://www.goldsmiths.co.uk