What is the Most Important “C” out of the 4C’S?
June 12, 2014
Diamond or engagement ring shopping, to some, can feel as though you are learning a whole new language. It can be an overwhelming amount of new information and at times confusing. A little preparation prior to beginning your expedition is highly recommended!
One term that you will hear often is ‘the Four C’s’. You only have to google ‘diamonds’ or ‘engagement rings’ to realise the importance of this term. What do the four C’s stand for? Each one represents a characteristic of the stone that combine to determine the grade/quality of a diamond.
The four C’s are: Carat, Colour, Cut and Clarity.
Before we discuss which is the most important of the four C’s, here is a quick run-down on each:
Carat: The Carat is a standard unit of measurement that defines the weight of a diamond. One carat is made up of 100 points.
Colour: A White diamonds are colour graded according to how colourless they are. Diamonds are graded on a scale from D to Z. ‘D’ is at the top of the scale and refers to the whitest diamonds. At the other end of the scale, diamonds with a grade of ‘Z’ are strong yellow or brown in colour. D, E and F graded diamonds, generally considered as colourless, are the most prized; however G, H and I can also be wonderful near-colourless options. Anything lower on the scale than ‘I’ will begin to appear yellow to the naked eye.
Cut: Unlike the Colour of a diamond, the Cut is determined by the human hand and not the natural formation of the stone. The cut of a diamond determines its brilliance and refers to its proportions, symmetry and finish/polish.
Clarity: The Clarity of a diamond is referring to the purity of a diamond and the presence of any imperfections / blemishes. These imperfections are called ‘Inclusions’. Most diamonds will have an at least one inclusion, it is the location and visibility of the inclusions that determines the grade. The clarity is graded from IF (Internally Flawless) to I3 (Included). A flawless diamond is very rare, but diamonds with a grade of VVS (Very Very Slightly Included) or VS (Very Slightly Included) are wonderful options. A SI (Slightly Included) diamond can also be a great option depending on the location of the inclusions.
So now that you have a quick rundown on the four C’s, which is considered the most important?
The Cut is widely considered to be the most important of the four C’s. Why is this? How well a diamond is cut will determine its brilliance. The proportions, symmetry and polish all determine a diamond’s ability to reflect and refract light. In a diamond that is well-cut, light enters through the table and travels through the stone where it is reflected from one side to another before the light is returned back to the viewer’s eye creating that sparkle that we all love! A diamond with a great colour and clarity grading but poor cut can appear dull and lifeless.
Before purchasing a diamond, it is always a good idea to educate yourself. Finding a jeweller that you feel comfortable with is so important. A good jeweller will be able to answer any of your questions and show you a range of diamonds so that you truly have a good understanding before making that final choice.