Understanding The 4 C’s Of Diamonds

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Most people believe that the cost of a diamond is relative to the size of the stone. This is a great misconception as size plays a very small role in the actual value of these precious gems. The factors that do contribute to the value are often referred to as the 4 C’s and it is important to understand these in order to get the greatest value for your money when buying a diamond.

The 4 C’s are Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat and affect the value in that order. Below is a brief explanation of each:

Cut

The cut selection often relies on the type of cut that will bring out the greatest brilliance in the stone as well as the popularity of a certain type of cut. A cut can also be used to hide flaws called inclusions or blemishes. A master jeweler will be able to select a cut that maximizes the shine and minimizes the visibility of these flaws.

It is a little known fact that the cut is one of the factors that greatly affects the value. Currently, the most popular cuts include Princess, Round and Oval.

Clarity

It should go without saying that the more clear or pure a diamond, the greater the value. There are very few diamonds that have no flaws whatsoever and these are the most valuable. Diamond clarity is graded according to a chart that evaluates the visibility of the flaws. Flaws that are visible to the naked eye detract from the value.

Flaws on the surface of the diamond are called blemishes and those on the inside, inclusions. These flaws are formed when the diamond is created under huge pressure. The more flawed a diamond is, the lower it’s value will be.

Color

Another fallacy regarding diamonds is that colored diamonds are more rare and therefore of greater value than clear or white diamonds. White diamonds that are not tainted with any coloration are the most valuable. A color chart is used to grade white diamonds to establish their value.

Diamonds that have a color concentration that is higher than accepted by the grading chart are called fancy diamonds and their value is determined on popularity and scarcity. Colors in diamonds are the result of chemicals being present when the diamond is formed and depending on the type of compound, can appear yellow, pink or blue. There are other colored diamonds but these are more rare.

Carat

Finally we come to the size and how this affects the value of a diamond. Value is not actually determined according to size but rather weight which is measured in carats. The higher the carat weight of a diamond, the more expensive it will be. In general, carat weight is directly related to the size of the diamond.

The most expensive diamonds in the world therefore have no flaws, no color, are cut to perfection, have a high carat weight and are not simply large in size.

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