How To Choose A Diamond Using the 4 C’s

How To Choose A Diamond Using the 4 C’s

Navigating Colour, Cut, Clarity & Carat To Buy The Best Diamond For You

You want to pick the perfect diamond. The only problem - how can you tell what that is? With a plethora of options available, trying to choose the best stone can be overwhelming. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be.

Making a regret-free purchase just takes a little balance. Start with the 4 C's to evaluate quality. Then match them with your budget, personal preferences and what you plan to do with your diamond.

Each aspect helps you evaluate your choices. So you can make a confident decision and pick the right diamond for your needs.

Let's dive in.

What are the 4 C's?

You've heard of them before; Colour, Cut, Clarity, and Carat are universal grading standards that denote a diamond's distinction. They also determine the value.

That's not to say a higher price tag suggests a better diamond. Yes, it's an indication, but it's more of a sliding scale situation. For example, an exceptional colour, lower clarity stone may have a similar value to one that's well-cut.

This is why your personal preferences, budget and plans are as important as intrinsic quality. You may prefer to prioritise one C over another. It doesn't mean you'll choose a less valuable diamond. Instead, you're picking one that best matches your requirements. And that's what's most important.

Colour - Less Is More

Unless you're specifically looking for fancy (coloured) diamonds, the more white or clear the stone, the higher its value. From D (colourless) to Z (noticeable tint), the colour grade indicates other minerals in the diamond-forming carbon.

Should you only buy from the top range of the colour scale? Absolutely not. The shape of the stone and the setting you plan on using affects how white your diamond appears.

For instance, placing a K-grade on a yellow gold ring may look just as pure as an E-grade on platinum. The contrast of the setting can highlight or diminish the tint. It's always about finding the ideal balance.

Cut - It's A Matter Of Brilliance

Regardless of your choice of shape, cut denotes the brilliance (fire) of a diamond. Well-cut stones reflect, refract and disperse light in an eye-catching and dazzling way.

The polish (smoothness of the surface), symmetry (of the facets), and depth proportion (ratio of width and height) all lend themselves to a diamond's brilliance. But rather than get lost in all the technical details, choose a stone that sparkles spectacularly. If the light bouncing off it catches your eye, you're on to a winner.

While some shapes do sparkle more than others, beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder. You may prefer traditional styles like round, pear or emerald. Alternatively, a modern shape like the princess, baguette or radiant may be more appealing. Or something in the middle, such as an oval or cushion, might do the trick.

Clarity - Let Your Eyes Be The Judge

The clarity of a diamond speaks to its natural blemishes. Significant imperfections may impact brilliance. As such, stones with more notable defects (I - inclusions grade) are ranked lower than those without (F - flawless grade).

However, don't automatically reject a less than flawless option. You shouldn't sacrifice an otherwise ideal stone for something barely noticeable. Not to mention, a well-cut diamond will often hide these blemishes anyway.

Aim for "eye-clean" - which is another way of saying - if you can't see any defects with your naked eye, you're good to go. That doesn't mean an imperfection-free stone isn't worth consideration. If you have the budget for it, by all means, choose the best clarity diamond. But if not, prioritising cut and colour may be a better option.

Carat - Pulling Its Weight

Despite what you may think, carat refers to the weight of a diamond rather than its size. Nonetheless, a heavier stone will typically appear larger and cost more than a lighter alternative.

Does this mean you need a higher carat count if you want a big stone? Not exactly. On average, most engagement rings come in at between 0.5 - 1 carat. And a single carat is only equal to one-fifth of a gram.

You can get away with a smaller carat because if it's well-cut, it will appear larger. And let's not forget the setting plays a role too. A thinner ring band, for example, will make your diamond more prominent.

So, what's the most important C?

You may have already guessed it. If you had to prioritise one C, it should be cut (followed by colour, clarity and carat).

Why cut? Because it directly impacts the brilliance of your diamond. On top of this, an excellent cut can conceal any blemishes and make a smaller stone look more significant.

Picking the perfect diamond is a balancing act

If your idea of perfect is a diamond with the highest grades of the 4 C's, you may be disappointed. Even if such a stone existed, you can bet it would be extremely pricey.

Perfection is a matter of preference and need. The ideal diamond is definitely available (we can even help you find it). But it will only be right for you if it matches your requirements.

Think of the 4 C's as levers you can adjust to complement your budget, personal preferences and how you want to use your stone. When you do, choosing the best diamond will be a less stressful task.

Buying a diamond is exciting. Enjoy the experience. And if you need any guidance, suggestions or access to exquisite yet affordable stones, reach out. Let our expertise help you find a diamond you'll love.