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The 4 C's of  Diamonds  

Also see discount engagement rings and inexpensive wedding rings

Buying a diamond can be confusing.  What are the 4 Cís of diamonds and how do you buy a diamond engagement ring?


Carat refers to the unit weight for measuring precious gems, so the Carat measurement is whatís used to show the size of the diamond in your engagement ring.  There are a hundred points to one Carat, so diamond weights can be anywhere from .1 Carat and up. For engagement rings, the weights are typically from .25 Carats and up.  A 1 Diamond Carat stone is about the size of a pea.

When you shop for and buy a diamond engagement ring, donít worry too much about going up or down about .25 Carats, most people cannot tell the difference between a 1 Carat and a 1.25 Carat diamond.

Clarity 4 c's of diamonds, how to buy diamonds

Most diamonds have some natural flaws, however these imperfections should not hamper the flow of light through the diamond. Clarity refers to the imperfections that are or arenít present in the diamond.  A diamond engagement ring with a high rank in Clarity would have very few flaws.

So, what are these flaws?  Well, most of them cannot be seen without looking through a jewelerís magnifying glass.  Most flaws are known as either Blemishes or Inclusions.  Blemishes are flaws on the diamondís exterior surface. Inclusions are flaws inside the diamond and can consist of tiny spots, crystals or cracks inside the stone.

Diamond Clarity is measured by the following grades:

  • Fl, Flawless: No internal or external flaws.
  • IF, Internally Flawless: No internal flaws.  Slight external blemishes.
  • VVS1 & VVS2: Very, very slightly included.  Minute inclusions.  Difficult for even an experienced grader to detect.
  • VS1 & VS2: Very slightly included.  Minute inclusions. Not easily seen by an experienced grader.
  • SI1 & SI2: Slightly included.  Inclusions that are noticeable to an experienced grader.
  • I1 & I2 & I3: Included.  Obvious inclusions that may affect transparency and brilliance.

Because different grades in Clarity are so hard to detect with the naked eye, this may be one place where you could compromise with your diamond engagement ring if you want to place more emphasis on another item in the ď4 Cís.Ē 


Though diamonds look white compared to other stones like rubies or emeralds, most diamonds are not colorless stones.  True colorless diamonds, known as White Diamonds are the standard against which we measure the Color of other diamonds.  Changes in Color grades are often visible to the naked eye and usually range from the diamond looking a little yellowish or brownish to the diamond displaying a brilliant white color.

Engagement Ring, Diamond Engagment RingDiamond Color is measured by the following alphabet guide:

  • D-E-F: Colorless.
  • G-H-I-J: Nearly colorless.
  • K-L-M: Faintly tinted, usually yellow.
  • N-O-P-Q-R: Lightly tinted, usually yellow.  Tint can be seen with the naked eye.
  • S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z: Tinted, usually yellow, and may progress to a brownish tint.  Tint visible to the naked eye, even when mounted.


Not to be confused with Shape (which is not a diamond grade), Cut refers to the diamondís light reflective properties.  Sound like rocket science?  Well, in laymanís terms, the diamondís light reflective properties really affect the way a diamond sparkles and shines.  Ever notice how some diamond engagement rings seem to emit a fiery brilliance?  Cut is what makes those diamonds appear so stunning.

Diamond Cut is measured by these grades:

  • Ideal
  • Premium
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Fair/Poor

Which of the 4 Cís is most important when Buying a diamond engagement ring? 

The most expensive diamonds rank high on all counts, but when you start looking at diamonds, youíll learn which of the ď4 CísĒ are particularly important to you.  Perhaps your hands are petite, so you donít need a huge diamond, but you like a diamond with fewer impurities, then youíd choose something that ranks lower in Carat and higher in Clarity.  If youíve always dreamed of having a 2 Carat diamond, and you donít mind if your diamond isnít the whitest white, youíd choose a diamond engagement ring something with a higher Carat and a lower rank in Color. The choice is completely yours.  If quality is very important to you, you can always opt for an engagement ring with a smaller Carat weight for now and talk to your fiancť about upgrading your diamond in the future (perhaps as an anniversary gift.)