What are the 4Cs of Diamonds?

Diamonds come in all shapes and sizes but did you know that they also vary greatly in colour, clarity and cut? All of these factors impact the quality and appearance of your diamond. Knowing what to look for is important if you want to ensure you get the maximum beauty and sparkle from your diamond!

The 4C’s of Diamonds

When it comes to diamonds, there are four defining factors that determine its quality: Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat. These characteristics will directly impact the lustre, sparkle and overall look of your diamond - and let’s not forget the price tag! Let’s take a closer look at each of these categories.

Diamond Cut

A diamond’s cut refers to the balance of proportion, polish and symmetry in order to maximise a stone’s light performance.This is arguably the most important category, as the cut has the most significant effect on the appearance and amount of sparkle of a diamond. A well-cut diamond will reflect any light that enters the stone off the facets and straight back up through the crown, displaying a scintillating appearance. If a diamond’s cut is too deep, shallow or out-of-proportion, light can leak out of the bottom of the stone, reducing sparkle and creating a dull appearance. At Cullen Jewellery, we exclusively stock diamonds that have an Excellent to Ideal Cut.

Aurora: oval halo with pave band
Laura: round trilogy with pave

Diamond Colour

Colour refers to the natural colour or lack of colour visible within a diamond. The clearer, or more “colourless” the stone is, the more valuable it is. Diamond colour is not necessarily a bad thing - it simply means that different trace elements were present while the diamond was being formed. Diamonds with more colour in them will exhibit a yellow or brown tint, reducing its colour grade and value. Selecting your diamond’s colour is a personal choice and if you are not colour sensitive, the colour of your diamond may be an area that you can compromise on to fit your budget. It is important to note that the less colour a diamond has, the more light is able to pass through which will ultimately result in more fire and brilliance - AKA more sparkle!

Every diamond is professionally evaluated and graded according to the following GIA diamond scale:

D

Absolutely colourless or icy white. The highest colour grade—extremely rare and most expensive.

E

Colourless. Only miniscule traces of colour can be detected by an expert gemologist—a rare, highquality diamond.

F

Colourless. Slight colour detected by an expert gemologist, but still considered a “colourless” grade—a highquality diamond.

G

Near-colourless. Colour noticeable when compared to diamonds of better grades, but offers excellent value.

H

Near-colourless. Colour noticeable when compared to diamonds of better grades, but offers excellent value.

I

Near-colourless. Slightly detected colour—a good value.

J

Near-colourless. Slightly detected colour—a good value.

Diamond Clarity

Clarity refers to how clear a diamond is, grading its purity according to the number of imperfections or inclusions present within the stone. When a diamond is growing, it is extremely common for microscopic impurities to be trapped within or on the diamond, giving it its own unique character. Though typically only visible under 10x magnification, these imperfections are used to measure the clarity of a diamond and will impact the diamond’s value. The less imperfections, the higher the value of the diamond.

Cullen Jewellery exclusively stocks gemstones that have a nearly perfect clarity grading (VVS1-2), ensuring your stone will have a clear, scintillating sparkle.

Grace: oval trilogy

Gemological labs such as GIA and IGI grade the clarity of diamonds according to the following scale:

FL

Flawless - Diamonds with no internal or external imperfections. These are incredibly rare and valuable.

VVS1

Internally Flawless - No internal flaws. VVS1 (Very Very Slightly Included 1) - Very difficult to see under 10x magnification.

VVS2

Very Very Slightly Included 2 - Slightly more inclusions than VVS1 but still very difficult to see under 10x magnification.

VS1

Very Slightly Included 1 - Difficult to see inclusions under 10x magnification but typically cannot be seen with the naked eye.

VS2

Very Slightly Included 2 - Slightly more inclusions than VS1 but still difficult to see inclusions under 10x magnification and typically cannot be seen with the naked eye.

SI1

Slightly Included 1 - Inclusions are visible under 10x magnification but may not be very visible withnaked eye.

SI2

Slightly Included 2 - More inclusions than SI1. Inclusions are visible under 10x magnification but may not be very visible with naked eye.

Round solitaire with pave

Diamond Carat

Carat (ct.) refers to the specialised unit of measurement used to weigh a diamond and other gemstones. It’s important to note that carat weight does not determine the size of a gemstone. Since diamonds can be shaped a number of ways, the weight will show itself differently across different shapes. For this reason, the size of a gemstone is measured in millimetres by length and width. This means that an emerald cut diamond and a round cut diamond that both weigh 1 carat will have different measurements in millimetres.

With diamonds, the larger the stone, the rarer and more valuable it becomes. To retrieve 1.00 carat of natural diamond, miners must sift through around 250 tons of ore - explaining why natural diamonds are so rare and expensive!

Thankfully, any size diamond found and mined in nature can also be found in a laboratory! Since lab diamonds are just as real as natural diamonds, all of the 4C’s still apply and are reflected in the pricing of lab diamonds. This means that there is no set price difference between lab and natural diamonds - though it is estimated you may save more than 40% by purchasing a 1 carat lab diamond.