Diamond Buying Guide
Within the diamond buying world there are four specific criteria that contribute to the quality of a diamond. As such, every source of information imaginable regarding diamonds will rattle off on how to measure the 4-C’s of a diamond. These relate to Cut, Color, Clarity & Carat (Size). In reality though, there are 5-C’s, because Cost is definitely a factor.
The simplest way to imagine this is to have each of the 4-C’s as a slider, with Cost as an output. As you slide each of the 4-C’s higher, your cost will grow, but they don’t all carry the same weight. Increasing some will cause massive increases in Cost, while other will cause just little bumps.
The goal then is to maximize the total value of the 4-C’s while maintaining Cost as low as possible. To do that we’ll need to know where to compromise, but before, let’s see what the 4-C’s are all about.
Cut is the number one factor in determining the quality of a diamond. It is by far the most important aspect in purchasing and as such its effect on pricing is significant.
Cut refers to how well the diamond reflects light to provide maximum brilliance. A diamond with an excellent Cut will sparkle and shine when seen in the light. The better the Cut, the greater amount of light entering the diamond will be reflected out correctly, creating a high degree of fire and brilliance.
While diamonds come in a variety of colors, and distinct colors are rare and prized, the majority of people are interested in colorless or near colorless diamonds.
Colorless diamonds can be completely colorless, or have a faint to light yellow tint. The yellow tinting is seen as a detriment to the quality of the diamond as it will have a muting effect on the light entering and reflecting out of the diamond, essentially dulling its appearance. A diamond rated highly in regards to color will in fact be nearly colorless.
Clarity refers to the amount of debris found within the diamond. Or in other terms, how much stuff is there in the diamond that’s not diamond.
Inclusions come in all different sizes, can be located in different layers and locations within the diamond, and can vary significantly in the intensity of their color. Some inclusions are easier to identify than other due to their color, while some can blend in naturally.
The number of Carats a diamond might have refers to the stone's weight. Each diamond carat weighs exactly 200 milligrams.
The cut and shape of the diamond can have an effect on how we perceive that weight. When choosing between diamonds, a smaller carat stone can look larger because it was cut with the proper proportions as compared to a larger stone that was cut poorly.