The 4 C's of Diamonds.

The 4 Cs, as they are known within the jewelry industry, are the standard way to measure the beauty, craftsmanship and value of a diamond.

#1 Cut

The term “diamond cut” refers to the quality of a diamond’s proportions and symmetry. These elements determine how much light a diamond captures and reflects, and therefore how much it sparkles. This is a direct result of the skill of the craftsman who shaped and cut the diamond. There are four grades of diamond cut: Ideal, Very Good, Good and Poor. If you compare two diamonds of different cuts grades, you will see that the higher cut grade has significantly more sparkle. There will also be a difference in their prices, with the better cut grade commanding a higher price. Of the 4 Cs, cut is generally recognized as the most important, since it has the greatest impact on a diamond’s appearance and quality.

Given that cut has the most impact on a diamond’s overall appearance, we recommend you put the greatest priority on finding a high quality cut grade. The diamond’s clarity and color should be considered secondary. We do not recommend purchasing a larger (higher carat) diamond if it means sacrificing the quality of the cut.
All diamonds that are not the classic round shape are categorized as “fancy shapes”. Due to the alignment of its facets, only a classic round diamond can earn the Ideal cut grade. This is not to say fancy shaped diamonds are less desirable — far from it. They are graded differently though; if you are seeking a fancy diamond shape such as princess, cushion or radiant, the cut grades to look for are Very Good or Good.

#2 Clarity

FL, IF
Flawless - No inclusions or surface blemishes under 10X magnification. Internally flawless - No inclusions under 10X magnification; either no surface blemishes, or insignificant surface blemishes that can be removed with minor polishing.
VVS1, VVS2
Very, very slightly included - Diamonds will have minor inclusion or blemishes that are difficult for even a trained gemologist to see.
VS1, VS2
Very slightly included - Minor inclusions or blemishes that are generally not visible to the naked eye. These inclusions are somewhat difficult to see with a trained eye and would be very difficult to see with an untrained eye under 10X magnification.
SI1, SI2
Slightly included - Inclusions that are easy for a trained eye to see under 10X magnification. These inclusions may be visible to the naked eye, although they are generally difficult to see with an untrained eye in stones under 1ct.
I1, I2, I3
Included - Inclusions that are very easy for a trained eye to see under 10X magnification. These inclusions are often visible to the naked eye and in the case of I3 diamonds the inclusions may affect the structural integrity of the stone as well as impacting its brilliance.

#3 Carat

Carat is the measure of how much a diamond weighs. Carat is also related to size (how big a diamond looks), although it’s not the only factor that determines size. Depending on shape, weight distribution and cut quality, two diamonds with the same carat weight can be different sizes. It’s worth noting that some diamonds are cut solely with an emphasis on weight. These gems can sacrifice brilliance and symmetry in favor of delivering a larger carat figure. At Ritani, we recommend seeking a balance between cut and carat weight in order to ensure a symmetrical, brilliantly sparkling diamond.

Focus on finding a cut grade of Very Good or Ideal for a brilliantly sparkling diamond.
Inclusions will be difficult to see in a 0.50 carat diamond, so lower the clarity grade and focus on getting the best color and cut grade within your budget.
At this size, any visible inclusions will be less noticeable, so you can afford to go for a lower clarity grade such as SI1 or SI2. Seek a cut grade of Very Good or Ideal.
If you’re looking for a solitaire engagement ring, focus on Ideal cut with Excellent polish and symmetry grades. If you’re pairing with side stones or a halo, focus on higher color and clarity grades.

1.25CT

TIf shopping for a diamond 1.25 carats or larger, opt for VS2 clarity or better, since inclusions are more noticeable in larger diamonds.

As an above-average purchase price, focus on mid-range color and clarity while maximizing cut grade.
Some SI inclusions will be visible with the unaided eye, so avoid anything less than VS1 clarity.
The larger size magnifies any natural inclusions, so if choosing a diamond lower than VS1 clarity grade, make sure it is eye-clean. Avoid any diamonds with fluorescence in this carat range and above.
Approaching the ultra-luxe, look for diamonds whose natural inclusions are on the pavilion side of the diamond, where they will be less noticeable.

#4 Color

D,E,F - COLORLESS
The rarest and most valuable diamonds, these diamonds will exhibit virtually no color when viewed by a gemologist.
G,H,I,J - NEAR COLORLESS
These appear to be colorless when viewed face up by a gemologist, but will display a slight amount of color when viewed face down on a pure white background. This slight amount of color is generally not detectable to an untrained eye, especially after it has been set into a piece of jewlery.
K,L,M - FAINT
Diamonds in the K-M range generally have a very faint yellow tone to them, but well cut diamonds will still contain the brilliance and fire that make them beautiful and unique.
N,O,P,Q,R - VERY LIGHT
Diamonds in the N-R range generally have a very light yellow tone to them. S,T,U,V,W,X - LIGHT
Diamonds in the S-Z range generally have a yellow tone to them.