Like a fingerprint, each diamond is unique and each has different qualities that influence its beauty and value. Because there are so many characteristics used to explain the quality of a diamond, shopping for a diamond engagement ring can feel overwhelming but it doesn't have to be.
The 4C's refers to the four criteria used for diamond grading and certification – Carat, Color, Clarity, and Cut. The 4C's was developed by the GIA in response to a desire to have a universal grading system for objectively comparing and evaluating the quality of diamonds.
Carats are the standard unit of weight for diamonds and other gemstones. A carat is divided into 100 points, similar to how a dollar is divided into 100 pennies. Therefore, a 50-point diamond weighs 0.50 carats
The color of a diamond refers to the amount of color, or lack of color, in a diamond.
Clarity refers to the tiny, natural imperfections that occur in almost all diamonds.
The cut of a diamond determines its brilliance and it has the greatest overall influence on a diamond's beauty and value. For these reasons, cut is a diamonds must important characteristic.
Shape describes a diamond's form. Each diamond shape has unique attributes, which distinguish it from other diamond shapes. Ultimately, choosing a diamond shape is a matter of personal preference.
A diamond certificate is a report created by an expert gemologist or gemological institute, which provides an analysis of a diamond's dimensions, clarity, color, polish, symmetry, and other characteristics. The most well known and respected gemological institute is the GIA, the Gemological Institute of America.
During the certification process, a diamond is evaluated, measured and scrutinized by a trained individual using a jeweler's loupe, a microscope, and other industry tools.
A complete diamond certificate typically includes the following information:
Most reports will also include two reference diagrams. One depicts the front and back of the diamond, indicating the presence and location of any imperfections, as well as, a legend describing those symbols. The second diagram depicts the proportions of the diamond.