When purchasing a diamond it is important to consider it's quality as well as the size, to appreciate the value of each diamond. For this reason, De Beers created a grading system for diamonds called the four C's, which are Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat Weight.
Larger and higher quality diamonds are now often certificated, which means they have been independenly assessed at a diamond grading laboratory, to determine their quality and therefore value. Below is a brief explanation of each of the four C's.
Diamond cut is likely the most crucial factor among the 4 C’s. Thus, it is important to realize how a top quality cut impacts the values and properties of the diamond. A great diamond cut provides extraordinary brilliance, sparkle and fire, as the measurements of the diamond have been calculated to reflect and diffract the maximum amount of light to create the optimum balance of brightness and fire.
Diamond clarity refers to the size, number and visibility of inclusions within the diamond. (Inclusions are black marks or bubbles etc. within the diamond) Clear diamonds create more brilliance and fire as inclusions can interfere with the passage of light through the diamond. Therefore diamonds with a higher clarity are more highly valued. Clarity is graded on a scale from internally flawless, to very slight inclusions, to slight inclusions to heavily included.
Diamonds that are colorless are the most loved because of their astounding sparkle due to the refraction of light. When we refer to colour in a diamond we are really referring to the lack of colour, as lower quality diamonds can have a dirty yellowish or brown appearance. (This is different from a fancy yellow diamond, which is a more attractive bright yellow colour, usually produced synthetically). A completely colorless diamond lets illumination pass through easily, allowing the light to reflect and disperse into rainbow colors. Colour is graded on a scale from “D” which is colourless to “Z”, a slight yellowish tone can be visibly seen from around colour “I” which becomes more pronounced for lower colour grades.