The 4 C's of Diamonds – Cut, Color, Clarity, Carat



It is the brilliance of a diamond that makes it such a sought after gem.

It is the cut, of all the various properties of a diamond, that gives it the brilliance.

A diamond gets its brilliance from the light rays that enter it and are reflected back to the observer's eye.

However, if the diamond has too shallow or too deep a cut, the light rays are not able to reach the eyes of the observer. Instead they are lost in the sides or bottom of the diamond.

Since the cut is so important, diamonds have been graded into the following categories:

  • Ideal
  • Premium
  • Very good
  • Good
  • Fair
  • Poor


See some examples of the different types of diamond cuts here.


After the cut, it is the color that determines the quality and price of a diamond.

It is needless to say that the colorless or the white diamond, which is the rarest variety, is also the most expensive.

Diamonds are graded alphabetically, from D (colorless) to X (colored).

Color grading of diamonds is done by placing them face down on a white background and comparing their color to a set of master stones graded by the Gemological Institute of America.

You can click here to see a diamond color chart.



A diamond's clarity refers to how 'clean' the diamond is.

A diamond may have certain impurities that have been part of it right since the time it started forming inside the earth.

However, there are a few clarity flaws like scratches, air bubbles and other foreign material either inside the diamond or outside it, that reduce the quality of this precious gem.

The clarity of a diamond is graded depending upon the color, size, number, and location of the inclusions or blemishes.

These clarity flaws are observed under 10x magnification.

The various clarity grades of a diamond can be found here.



Carat refers to the standard unit of weight that is used to measure the weight of a diamond.

One carat equals to 200 milligrams.

Once the cut, color, and clarity have been decided, it is easy to determine the carat of a diamond.

You can learn more about carat weight by clicking here.