Today, the 4Cs of a real diamond quality is the universal method for assessing the quality of any diamond, anywhere in the world. Right upto the middle of the twentieth century, there was no de-facto standard by which diamonds could be graded in quality. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) created the very first set of regulations, and now globally accepted standard for describing the four essential characteristics of diamonds: Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight.
What are the 4 C’s?
The most important characteristic of a diamond is cut, which refers to its basic shape and the quality of its proportions. When evaluating the quality of a cut, the diamonds facets and surfaces are examined to determine how well they reflect light. The more brilliant and luminous the diamond, the better the cut. The grading scale for the cut of a diamond ranges from Poor to Excellent.
The second most important characteristic of a diamond is color, which refers to its natural color. It’s incredibly rare for a natural diamond to be colorless, almost all diamonds have some type of inherent color, no matter how faint. During inspection, a diamond is assigned a letter to describe its color grade, these letters range from D (colorless) to Z (pale yellow). The closer a diamond is to being white, or colorless, the higher the value.
The third most important characteristic of a diamond is clarity, which refers to the internal characteristics, or flaws, of the diamond. Flaws are considered to be any blemishes or internal inclusions. Since a diamond is a natural stone, flaws are quite common and expected. Most minor flaws are usually not visible to the naked eye, and do not affect the beauty and brilliance of the diamond. Each diamond is given a Clarity Grade that ranges from Included to Flawless. The closer a diamond is to Flawless, the higher its value.
The final characteristic of a diamond is carat, which refers to its weight. It’s important to note that carat weight should never be confused with dimensions, or size. A diamond’s size often depends on how the weight is distributed, which can be affected by the shape and cut of the diamond. In general, the larger the carat weight, the more expensive the diamond.
What are the different diamond shapes?
There are 10 standard shapes, or cuts, for real diamonds, each with their own unique characteristics. Most people have an opinion on which shape is the most beautiful or valuable, but in the end, the only opinion that matters is yours. Choosing the shape of a diamond is a matter of personal preference.
Eight of these cuts are considered Brilliant, and these include: round, princess, oval, cushion, radiant, pear, heart, and marquise. Brilliant cut diamonds have a larger amount of facets, which are intended to maximize light reflection and brilliance.
Their exceptional sparkle is the reason brilliant cut diamonds are so very popular. The emerald and asscher cuts have larger, wider facets that really showcase the color and clarity of a diamond. Their particular beauty and appeal lies in their transparency and depth.
Valued for its exceptional shine, the round brilliant is the most popular shape for diamonds, particularly engagement rings. It gets its intense beauty from its unique multi-faceted cut. Achieving this intricate cut requires more time and expertise, which is reflected in its higher price.
With its crisp lines and fiery brilliance, it’s no mystery why the princess diamond is so very popular. This square brilliant shape consists of multiple sparkling facets. Although it may be a classic, the princess cut also has a very contemporary appeal.
The elegant cushion diamond gets its name from its pillowy shape, which is square with gently rounded corners. It has a very luxurious, old world feel to it, which may be why it is sometimes referred to as an old European mine cut. The brilliant cushion cut has large facets that give it wonderful radiance and a very substantial appearance.
With its lovely elongated shape, the oval diamond offers a refined, graceful look for a woman’s hand. This special brilliant cut has an extraordinary sparkle and expansive surface area, which gives it a larger appearance than other shapes of the same size.
Nothing compares to the old world glamour of an emerald diamond. Its clean rectangular shape really showcases the diamonds color and clarity. Unlike other multi-faceted shapes, the appeal of the emerald cut lies in its openness and depth.
The pear diamond has a lush teardrop shape that is both dazzling and feminine. This beautifully faceted brilliant cut features one rounded, well-balanced end and one pointed end. It offers a very bold and unique look.
Square Emerald Cut
The regal square emerald cut is one of the rarest diamond shapes, and it is admired for its ability to showcase a diamond’s depth and clarity. It has a lovely square shape with softly rounded corners and large, elegant step-cut facets. Much like the emerald cut, the beauty of the square emerald cut diamond lies in its transparency.
Considered the most romantic of diamond shapes, the heart shaped diamond features a perfect balance of curve and symmetry. This complicated brilliant cut requires extra time and precision, which is reflected in its higher price. A heart diamond makes a definitive statement, and is a sentimental choice for engagement rings.
The gorgeous radiant diamond owes its remarkable sparkle to its highly-faceted brilliant cut. Incredibly luminous and fiery, the rectangular radiant is an exquisite blend of the princess and emerald shapes, and is a fashionable choice in engagement jewelry.
The most unique of all the diamond shapes, the marquise diamond is long and lean with tapered ends. Gorgeously faceted, the brilliant marquise cut emits an impressive amount of sparkle and depth, and because it is the longest of all diamond shapes, it looks much larger than other shapes of the same size. The elongated cut also gives a lovely slender look to a woman’s hand.