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The Four C's Explained

Updated: Mar 9, 2021

When purchasing something as valuable as a diamond we know you want to make a good purchase that is worth it's true value. Maybe you've heard of the Four C's before, maybe you haven't, either way we want to lay out for you what exactly the Four C's are and why they are important to consider when purchasing a diamond.


Cut quality is an important aspect of how your diamond will look. The cut is the reason for the diamond's fire, sparkle and brilliance. It involves the physics of light refraction. A diamond cut too deep or too shallow will reflect light out of the bottom of the diamond. A diamond with a brilliant cut reflects light out of the top of the diamond, giving your stone a beautiful shine and sparkle.

The scale used for determining the cut quality of a diamond, ranging from (E) Excellent to (P) Poor, represents a range of proportion sets and face-up appearances.

diamond cut chart


Clarity is graded by the absence of inclusions and blemishes on the stone that can be seen with the naked eye or through 10x magnification, depending on where they fall on the grading scale. Inclusions are often a result of irregular crystal growth or growth deficits. It is important to purchase a diamond with a higher clarity rating, not only for appearance, but inclusions can weaken the durability of the stone, making it easier for the stone to chip or crack. Every diamond is unique. There is no absolutely perfect diamond under 10x magnification, though some come close.

The clarity scale uses 11 grades, with most diamonds falling into the VS (Very Slightly Included) or SI (Slightly Included) range. During the grading process, the factors considered include the size, nature, position, colour or relief, and quantity of clarity characteristics visible under 10x magnification.

diamond clarity chart


Carat refers to the weight of the stone, not to be confused with Karat (referring to the measure of the purity of gold). One carat is equal to 0.2 grams. Stones less than a carat in size can often be referred to as 'points'. Just as a dollar is divided into 100 pennies, a carat is divided into 100 points. For example, a 0.30 carat diamond can also be referred to as 30 points of diamond. Other terminology that may be heard includes C.D.W. (centre diamond weight- referring to the centre stone) and T.D.W. (total diamond weight- referring to the combined weight of all diamonds within the piece).

diamond carat weight


Colour refers to the absence of colour in a diamond. They are valued by how closely they approach colourlessness- the less colour, the higher value (with the exception of fancy diamonds, such as pinks and blues, which lie outside this colour range). The diamond grading scale is an alphabetical scale ranging from D(representing a colourless diamond) to Z(representing a light yellow diamond). Many of these colour distinctions are so subtle it is very difficult to see the differences to the untrained eye.

diamond colour grading scale

To find out the quality of a diamond you already own you can have them appraised by a diamond expert. At Silveri Jewellers we partner with master gemologists at Harold Weinstein Ltd. in Toronto. Contact us today to learn more about having your jewellery appraised.

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