A Brief Look at the 4 Cs

A Brief Look at the 4 Cs

Written by on 15 August 2012

Diamonds are the hardest material known to man and one of the most sought after. They are the most popular of all the gemstones due to their lustre, brilliance and fire. Diamonds can come in many different colours but the colourless variety is the most popular. Pink, yellow and blue diamonds are also popular and if they are a lovely rich colour and are natural they can be more expensive than their colourless cousins. Other colours that diamonds come in are brown, green, red and black. Brown (cognac) diamonds are also quite a popular stone chosen here at Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery for engagement rings and eternity rings, customers really love the richness and warmth of the stone.

Diamonds are formed under a vast amount of pressure and heat and are normally found roughly 50 meters below the earth’s surface. They are always graded on the 4 c’s: cut, clarity, carat and colour. There are many different words and letters associated with these 4 c’s which to the everyday person may seem a little confusing so I will explain them a little more which will help you understand more about why certain stones are valued higher than others may be.

Carat: The mass of any diamond is measured by carats. 1 carat is divided into 100 points and a 1 ct stone is a very popular size but normally the customer will have to sacrifice a little on the other four c’s as this size of stone would be very expensive if the quality of the stone was high as well as the size.

Cut: There are various different cuts for diamonds; the most common being brilliant cut which enables the most amount of refraction internally because of the number of facets cut into the stones resulting in a beautifully sparkly stone. Other cuts for diamonds include baguette, marquise, princess, heart, briolette and pear. Any cut other than a brilliant cut stone is considered to be a ‘fancy’ cut stone.

Clarity: Clarity is measuring how many inclusions if any are present in the stone. Stones with no inclusions in them are classed as a type F meaning flawless, the next grade down is classed as IF internally flawless. VVS1 stands for very very small inclusions; VVS2 is a very high quality stone with only a tiny amount more inclusions in it than a VVS1. VS1 means the stone has very small inclusions as is a VS2. Diamonds with an SI next to them mean that the stone has slight inclusions. I or PK would mean that the inclusions in the diamond can be seen by the naked eye and will mean it is considerably lower quality.

Colour: The colour of diamonds is measured on a scale starting at D ( the best class for a diamond) going down to Z. D-F are considered colourless. G-J are near to colourless and are the most commonly used diamonds in engagement rings and jewellery. K to M have a faint yellow colour and N-R have a very light yellow colour, anything lower is classed as yellow.