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Diamonds for Dummies – The four C’s approach to valuation

A quick look: the 4 C’s

So, you are interested in Diamond valuation? Well, it is important to know that certain characteristics of diamonds are categorized and graded by the diamond industry. If you want to know anything about diamonds you first have to learn about the 4 C’s of diamonds. – the following four characteristics are considered the most important when you are trying to determine a diamond’s value:

• Cut
• Clarity
• Color
• Carat weight

So, looking at the above, Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat, created by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), was the the first standard for describing diamonds, and is now the globally accepted method. In fact, the 4Cs of Diamond Quality is the universal method for assessing the quality of any diamond, anywhere in the world.

the-four-c's-of diamond-valuation

Cut - The fist C of Diamond Valuation

When it comes to valuation, the cut of a diamond is its most important feature – with correct proportion of the symmetry of the facets and correct depth, it can gain maximum brilliance. When this is achieved, the round brilliant shape emphasizes the size of the diamond best, being most popular for engagement rings.


The less colour a diamond contains (or the whiter it is), the higher its colour grade, the highest being G all the way down to Z. This is measured by the diamond being looked at upside down – to avoid the sparkling – on top of a white piece of paper and measured against a colour chart.


How few flaws a diamond contains – surface blemishes or internal inclusions – determines its grade, on a scale from ‘Internally Flawless’ to ‘Imperfect’. A jeweller’s loupe, magnifying 10x, is used to determine the grade and recorded on each diamond certificate.


Refers to the weight of a diamond, not its size. 1 carat = 1/5 gram. However, a 4 carat diamond would be much more valuable that 4/5 gram as it is much rarer. Two different cuts of 1 carat diamonds may make them seem different in size and/or brilliance.

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