Education: The 4 C’s of Diamonds and Beyond

If you’re in the process of choosing engagement rings, our experts will tell you to learn a little before you shop.

While every diamond is unique they share certain features that allow us to compare and evaluate them. Often referred to as the 4 C’s of diamonds, these comparison points are:

  • Carat weight: One carat equals 0.2 grams. For diamonds under a carat, each carat is divided into 100 points. (i.e. 0.75ct. = 75 points and 1/2 ct. = 50 points)
  • Clarity: The GIA Clarity Scale, which includes eleven clarity grades ranging from Flawless to I3, measures internal inclusions and external blemishes.
  • Color: The GIA Color Scale extends from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown). Each letter grade represents a range of color and is a measure of the degree of color within the diamond, all measured by comparing the diamond to a set of master stones.
  • Cut: A polished diamond’s proportions affect the performance and interplay of light. Brightness is the combination of all white light reflecting from both the surface and interior of a diamond. Fire describes the color flashes that can be seen in a diamond. Scintillation is the sparkle of light you see and the overall pattern of bright and dark areas when you look at a diamond face-up. The design and craftsmanship of a diamond also affect its cut quality, and these factors are considered in determining a diamond’s GIA Excellent-to-Poor Cut Grade.

Diamond Care

Diamonds are ideal for everyday wear due to their remarkable durability, resistance to scratching and ability to maintain their fire. However, a diamond isn’t indestructible and should be properly cared for to maximize its life. To remove the grease and oils diamonds tend to attract, wipe the ring with a lint-free cloth or use warm water, mild soap, and a soft toothbrush or a commercial cleaning solution.


Gemstones come in virtually every color of the spectrum, however it might come as a surprise to learn that one gem can occur in many different hues. For example, sapphires are not only blue, but can be yellow, pink, and a wide range of other colors. Many gems are available in various colors, and some are very affordable. Pricing for these different gemstone varieties is affected by factors such as rarity, durability and popularity.