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The 4C’s of Diamonds

The four characteristics that determine a diamond's value, beauty and rarity are known as the 4Cs. When making a purchase, it's essential to consider these factors. During your consultation, we will ensure you can find high-quality diamonds within your budget. Choosing diamond jewellery based on the 4Cs requires a thoughtful approach considering personal preferences and priorities. Here, we'll educate you about the four factors that impact diamond quality and value: carat weight, colour, clarity and cut.



Arguably the most vital ‘C’ of them all, the first c is the diamond cut, which affects its ability to capture and reflect light. This masterful artistry transforms a rough diamond into a captivating masterpiece. There are many different diamond shapes: the round brilliant diamond is the classic choice, celebrated for its maximum sparkle. Yet, other shapes like emerald cut and kite-shaped facets in fancy cuts unveil unique dimensions of beauty.

However, a diamond’s cut grade primarily concerns the quality of its interaction with light. The best-quality diamond cuts are excellent at reflecting light, but when a diamond is poorly cut, it may exhibit lacklustre areas on coloured diamonds where light fails to shimmer. This deficiency significantly diminishes a diamond’s brilliance, ultimately affecting diamond quality and its coveted sparkle. Even a perfect diamond boasting the highest grades for colour or clarity will lack vibrancy if its cut is subpar.



One of the first aspects that often comes to mind is carat weight. This measurement, denoted by ‘ct’, pertains to a diamond’s size and mass. Larger diamonds above one carat are more desirable because they have a presence. However, it’s important to appreciate the allure of a well-cut diamond. Sometimes, a smaller diamond with a well-cut stone can give off the illusion of being larger than its actual weight to the naked eye.

Diamond size is quantified in millimetres (mm), whereas the diamond’s weight is gauged in carats (ct). While the carat weight of a diamond garners significant interest, it is not the sole determinant of its value. For instance, a flawlessly perfect one-carat diamond might hold a notably higher worth compared to a 3-carat diamond riddled with imperfections. In essence, size alone does not dictate a diamond’s value.



What hue does a diamond exhibit? While many claim they are devoid of colour, a closer inspection often reveals subtle hints of yellow, delicate pinks, and deep browns. To be precise, diamonds without discernible colour are commonly referred to as white diamonds, and they are exceptionally rare and prized.

The colour of a diamond is evaluated on a scale from D to Z. The letter D represents the most colourless state of a diamond, while Z indicates the presence of shades of light yellow, brown or pink. The letters D to Z cover a range of hues influenced by factors such as tone, brightness, darkness and intensity. This combination is referred to as the depth of colour, which measures how visible the hue is and affects overall diamond clarity.



Anything with flawless beauty is rare indeed. But it’s slight imperfections that make beauty unique. And so it is with diamonds. Diamond clarity refers to the assessment of the weaknesses of a stone. Virtually every diamond carries external and internal traits known as blemishes and inclusions. Blemishes manifest as surface marks, while inclusions represent imperfections concealed within the gem.

Diamonds, which form beneath the Earth’s surface under heat and pressure, rarely emerge completely flawless. While the remarkable diamonds come close to perfection, most have some shape or form of visible imperfections or inclusion. Interestingly, these characteristics add to their overall beauty and uniqueness since no two diamonds are exactly alike.


As you explore the world of diamonds, remember that each ‘C’ plays an essential role in the diamond’s ability and value. While some diamonds may boast an excellent range in clarity scale, others may dazzle with their high-quality cut. You’ll find that diamond shape can significantly impact how a diamond appears on the finger. So, whether you’re considering loose diamonds or already set stones, understand that these factors make each diamond a unique work of art.

How To Buy An Engagement Ring Using The 4C's

Choosing an engagement ring based on the 4Cs (Carat, Cut, Colour, and Clarity) is a significant decision, as the ring symbolises your love and commitment. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make an informed choice:

1. Establish Your Budget: Determine a clear budget for the engagement ring. This will help narrow your options and ensure you stay within your financial means.

2. Prioritize the 4Cs: Understand that each of the 4Cs has its importance, but your priorities may differ. Discuss with your partner to determine which C(s) matter most to both of you. Is it the size of the diamond (carat), the way it sparkles (cut), the absence of colour (colour), or the presence of imperfections (clarity)?

How To Buy An Engagement Ring Using The 4C's

3. Select the Right Carat Weight: The carat weight directly affects the size of the diamond. Keep in mind that larger diamonds are often more expensive. So, find a carat weight that fits your budget while still satisfying your partner’s preferences. It’s important to remember that a cut diamond can appear more significant than its actual carat weight.

4. Choose the Cut: The cut is crucial in determining how the diamond interacts with light. A well-cut diamond will exhibit exceptional sparkle and brilliance. Choose one that complements your partner’s style and personality. Options range from classic round brilliants to unique elongated shapes like princess, pear, or marquise.

5. Decide on the Colour: Diamonds come in various colours, and the less colour they have, the more valuable they are. Colourless or near-colourless diamonds (graded D to J on the GIA scale) are famous for engagement rings. However, some individuals prefer fancy-coloured diamonds with a hint of colour. Select a diamond colour that aligns with your partner’s taste.

6. Consider Clarity: When considering your partner’s preference for clarity, it’s important to remember that even diamonds with imperfections can appear flawless to the eye.

7. View Diamonds in Person: We recommend you book a consultation with us at Alicia J to get a good look at the diamonds in person. While online images and descriptions can provide some information, seeing the diamond personally allows you to evaluate its beauty, sparkle and overall appearance.

Diamond a white silk cloth

Answering Your Common Questions:

Here are some frequently asked questions that we hope to help provide some clarity on:

What is the Most Crucial of the 4Cs When Selecting an Engagement Ring?

The significance of each of the four 4Cs of diamonds (Carat, Cut, Colour, and Clarity) can vary depending on individual preferences. However, the cut is often considered the most crucial. A well-cut diamond exhibits the diamond’s beauty with exceptional brilliance and sparkle, making it visually appealing. A poorly cut diamond can appear dull, regardless of its carat weight or other characteristics. Therefore, prioritising the cut ensures your diamond shines radiantly in any setting.

How Do I Balance My Budget With the Desire for a High-Quality Diamond?

Balancing your budget while desiring a high-quality diamond involves making decisions within each of the 4Cs. Begin by determining your budget and then consider what matters most to you. For instance, if size is significant for you, you might opt for a colour or lower clarity grade to accommodate it.

If you appreciate a touch of sparkle and brilliance, consider allocating a portion of your budget towards the cut. It’s also advisable to seek advice from a trusted jeweller who can assist you in striking the balance and obtaining the value for your budget.

Which Diamond Cut is the Best?

The Round Brilliant cut stands as the overwhelmingly favoured choice among diamond cuts. With its precisely aligned fifty-seven facets, its brilliance truly outshines other options. The secret to its radiance lies in the principle of total internal reflection. Light traverses through the gem, delivering optimal sparkle and scintillation that set it apart from the rest.