Q: The 4 C's
The 4 C's refer to color, cut, clarity and carat weight. These characteristics determine a stones value, quality, brilliance and overall beauty.
For colorless diamonds there can still be a variation in color. On a scale from D (colorless) to X (light yellow). A "colorless" rated diamond allows more light to pass through the stone making it sparkle more and increases the over value. Fancy colored diamonds are not graded on the same scale as colorless diamonds and are rarer, making them more valuable and expensive.
Carat weight measures how big the stone is. Appearances may be tricky, while two stones may look equal in table size, or looking down on the stone, their carat weight may be different because of their depth. Alternately, two stones may have equal carat weights, but one may appear smaller when looking down at it (the table size). For help on determining the appropriate carat weight or stone size click here.
The relative measurement of a gemstone's inclusions and blemishes. Sometimes clarity is referred to as purity; in Europe, quality. Most diamonds contain some inner flaws, often referred to as inclusions, which occur during the formation process. The visibility, number and size of these inclusions determine what is called the clarity of a diamond. The better clarity of a diamond delivers greater brilliance and increases the value or price of the stone. Diamond clarity is measure on a scale from Flawless (F, IF) to Included (I1, I2, and I3).
Probably the most important quality of a diamond, yet least understood of the 4 C's. Cut is imperative in determining how light passes through the stone – determining fire, brilliance, and sparkle. Not to be confused with the shape the cut includes the shape and the entire anatomy of the diamond and refers to the combined optical properties of a diamond; the proportions, symmetry and finish.