This week we wrote about the holiday season being a popular time for couples to get engaged. The ring is of course often the first thing to set your wedding planning in motion. You and your partner will of course want to make sure that you got the best value and quality for your money.

When it comes to judging any diamond, it’s important to remember the four c’s: cut, color, clarity and carat (weight).

We’ve talked the four c’s in the past, but a little refresher to start the new year is something we all need.




The cut of the diamond refers to how the facets interact with light, which relates to the symmetry, proportions and polish. The shape refers to exactly what you think, whether it’s round, pear shaped, emerald cut, princess and so forth. The eight most popular diamond shapes, according to the Gem Institute of America (GIA), are marquise, cushion, emerald, asscher, princess, round and oval.

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*L to R: cushion cut and emerald cut



The diamond’s color is rated using the GIA scale. GIA says, “a chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue, like a drop of pure water, and consequently, a higher value.” So the scale they have set up to judge color relies on if the diamond is colorless (D) or has a yellow tint (Z). You want to stick in the DEF range, or no less than I.

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DEF – colorless

GHIJ – near colorless

KLM – faint

NOPQR – very light

STUVWXYZ – light yellow

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*GIA image



When discussing clarity, we’re looking at the flaws of the diamond, or imperfections. These imperfections are referred to as inclusions. A stone’s degree of flawlessness, or lack of imperfection, affects the value of the stone. The fewer imperfections it has the more its worth, as well as the more reflective it is of the light. When it sparkles and shines, you’ve picked the right one.

Clarity is also rated the GIA scale. Size, type, number and placement of the inclusions determine the clarity rankings for diamonds.

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From great clarity to very poor:

FL = flawless – free from all inclusions or blemishes at 10x magnification

IF = internally flawless – no inclusions visible at 10x, insignificant surface blemishes

VVS1 = minor inclusions (very, very slightly included) – difficult to see face up at 10x

VVS2 = minor inclusions (very, very slightly included) — difficult to see face up at 10x

VS1 = minor inclusions (very slightly included) — difficult to see face up at 10x

VS2 = minor inclusions (very slightly included) — difficult to see face up at 10x

SI1 & SI2 = notable inclusions (slightly included) – easy to see at 10x

I1, I2, & I3 = obvious inclusions (imperfect-eye-visible inclusions) – easily visible to unaided eye



The carat is the numerical weight of the diamond. Typically, jewelers use 1/4 increments to describe carat weight. The price of the diamond of course increases significantly as the weight increases and correlates to the other factors as well.

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*Measurements from GIA