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Diamonds. An introduction to the 4 C's

Diamonds. An Introduction To The 4 C’s

What are the 4 C’s?

Maybe you are shopping for rings and need an introduction to the 4 C’s. The 4 C’s are commonly referred to in the diamond world as Carat, Color, Clarity and Cut. To understand how the 4 C’s work together to determine a diamond’s rarity and value, consider a balancing act (or teeter totter) of carat weight vs. color, clarity and cut. To select a larger size for a given price, to stay in balance, you would choose a less rare quality diamond. To choose a rarer quality diamond, to stay in balance, you would choose a smaller size.

Finding the right diamond for you

The combination of the 4 C’s is strictly a personal preference and seeking the guidance of a diamond expert can make the experience of purchasing your wedding day diamond a very intimate and special one for you and your significant other. Gittelson Jewelers in Minneapolis offers a collection of both GIA and EGL certified diamonds. Learn more at “What is a GIA Certified Diamond?

Given the seriousness of the matter, the very day it occurs to you that you are considering purchasing a diamond for the purpose of putting it in an engagement ring, you become a renewed person. You are now a more mature person with important decisions to make. Education is empowerment and buying a diamond is a moment in life when you should be as educated as possible.

So let’s talk through this introduction to the 4Cs: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. These are widely considered to be the building blocks of diamond education.


The cut refers to the craftsmanship of the stone that brings a, once rough, diamond alive. One of the most popular shapes today is a round diamond where there are 58 facets or prisms that gather and reflect light. A stone cut too deep or shallow will let light leak out through its bottoms or sides, but an ideally cut diamond absorbs light and reflects it with absolute brilliance – a sight to behold. 

A diamond’s cut can range from good to very good to excellent/ideal. The better the cut, the more light is reflected at every carat weight.


Color is a factor measuring the quality of the color a diamond possesses. When this refers to white diamonds it depicts how much ‘yellow’ is present in the diamond. Keep in mind color is graded by a 10x power microscope and the color may not be noticeable to the naked or untrained eye. Color also refers to colored diamonds such as fancy yellow, or pink diamonds just to name a few.

Diamonds with absolutely no color at all are rare. The color is graded with a letter scale ranging from D to Z. Those graded D to F are considered colorless; G to J, near colorless; and K to Z has a noticeable tint. A diamond with little or no color certainly is a more expensive gemstone.


Clarity measures how many flaws or imperfections are present in a stone. Almost all diamonds have some level of imperfections that can show up like feathers, crystallization or black carbon specks just to name a few. These may be referred to as tiny trace minerals, fractures, and other slight inclusions (imperfections) that are a natural part of a diamond’s formation. Gemologists grade diamonds for clarity, just as they do with color, on a scale ranging from FL (flawless) to I3 (prominent inclusions).

The clearer the diamond the better the clarity, though most inclusing are invisible to naked eye.


Diamonds are measured in carat weight. One carat is equal to a fifth of a gram. When you hear people talk about ‘carat’, they are referring to weight. When a diamond is weighed on a scale it is measured in terms of a carat. Common terms are 1/2 carat, 1.00 carat and up. The heavier the carat weight the larger the gemstone.

Larger diamonds tend to be more expensive BUT that doesn’t mean that a ring with a larger carat weight is a better gemstone or a better buy. High carat weight is nothing without a high cut grade, because a poorly cut, yet heavy stone, can appear dull and stick out like a sore thumb.

The 4 C’s all work together to determine a diamond’s value and entrigue. 

Schedule an appointment

Schedule an appointment today with Gittelson Jewelers – your local Minneapolis family diamond and engagement ring jeweler for 34 years. We’ll teach you all about the 4 C’s and work with you to choose the best diamond ring for your budget. We can even help you custom design the engagement ring of your dreams

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