The 4 C’s of diamond grading are a specific assessment scale used in order to determine the overall quality and monetary value of a diamond. Whether the diamond is large, small, set into a jewelry piece or loose, it is still measured using the same exact standards. This rigorous assessment process is highly regulated internationally to ensure quality control among professionals.
Color is the first of the 4 C’s. Appraisers will check the color of a diamond closely. Many diamonds have natural hints of pale brown or yellow. Artificially heat treated diamonds can appear in a variety of bright and exciting colors, including reds and blues. Naturally colored diamonds are rare and very expensive to purchase, with pink being the most abundant natural color.
Carat weight refers to the size and weight of a diamond, but is only one of several factors that end up determining the overall value of the gem itself. A heavier and larger diamond, simply put, means more diamond. That will have a hand in the final price, but size means much, much less if there is prior damage.
Damage can come in the form of scratches, either surface or internal, cloudiness, inconsistency, and other errors in clarity. Clarity, the third of the 4 C’s we are discussing today, is perhaps the most obvious one to most of us. Appraisers give a visual test to the diamonds, looking at them without the use of a high powered microscope to determine if there are visible surface imperfections. Then, with the use of the high powered magnification, they are able to make clear judgments in regards to the diamonds internal make up and potential imperfections. This factors very heavily into the final value assessment.
Cut is the final of the 4 C’s, and is a way of denoting how many facets have been cut into the gem, as well as the size. Facets mean more cutting has been done to the diamond, and will affect the way that the diamond itself shimmers and throws back light. More facets is not necessarily more valuable, given that it means there is less diamond to work with, but the craftsmanship of the overall final product will speak for itself and lend credence to the final price tag.
Appraisal professionals all around the world use the 4 C’s as a means of accurately determining the monetary value of diamonds, and understanding them can be valuable when you are shopping for fine jewelry yourself.