The 4 C's of Diamonds

Carat weight

Diamond carat weight is the measurement of how much a diamond weighs. The word carat derives from the word carob, a Mediterranean seed, which has an extremely consistent weight for measuring. A metric “carat” is defined as 200 milligrams. Five metric carats weighs exactly 1 gram.

Each carat can be subdivided into 100 ‘points.’ This allows very precise measurements to the hundredth decimal place. A jeweler may describe the weight of a diamond below one carat by its ‘points’ alone. For instance, here at Lyght Jewelers, we may refer to a diamond that weighs 0.25 carats as a ‘twenty-five pointer.’ Diamond weights greater than one carat are expressed in carats and decimals. A 1.08 carat stone would be described as ‘one point oh eight carats. The greater the carat weight, the rarer, and more valuable the diamond becomes.

Some people want the largest diamond possible. If size is a priority, Lyght Jewelers has the biggest, brightest, and brilliant diamonds! We can help you classify the proper cut, color and clarity to fit your budget economically, and fit your jewelry beautifully.

Color Grade

The diamond color evaluation of most gem-quality diamonds is based on the absence of color. A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue, like a drop of pure water, and consequently, a higher value. GIA’s D-to-Z diamond color-grading system measures the degree of colorlessness by comparing a stone under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions to a set of master stones of established color value.

Color can be one of the more noticeable attributes of a diamond and at the ends of the spectrum will have a heavy impact on the price of the stone. The majority of Diamonds range from colorless to yellow or light brown. Very rare diamonds can be found in the spectrum of fancy colors, including yellow, blue, and even red diamonds.

Many of these diamond color distinctions can be subtle that they are invisible to the untrained eye; however, these distinctions make a very big difference in diamond quality and price.

Colorless (D,E,F)

This is the highest-quality color grade a diamond may receive. A D-color diamond is completely colorless, extremely rare, and has unrivaled brilliance. E or F-color rated diamonds contain a very small amount of color but still emit a stunning level of brilliance and sparkle. The average consumers eye would not be able to tell the difference.

Near Colorless (G,H,I,J)

Containing some noticeable color only when compared to higher color grades, G or H color diamonds provide an excellent value to price comparison. I or J-color diamonds may typically appear colorless to the untrained eye. As long as all of the surrounding diamonds are the same color it will be completely undetectable.

Faint Yellow (K,L,M)

A faint yellow color is obviously noticeable. Even with the presence of color, these grades of diamonds can emit fire and beauty if cut properly to correct proportions. Consider selecting a lower color when setting in yellow gold as color will be not as apparent and will mask the faint yellow color.

Clarity Grade

Diamond clarity is grading scale that refers to the level of absence of inclusions and blemishes. Natural diamonds are the result of carbon being exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep in the earth. This process can result in a variety of internal characteristics called ‘inclusions’ and external characteristics called ‘blemishes.’

Evaluating diamond clarity involves determining the number, size, relief, nature, and position of these characteristics, as well as how these affect the overall appearance of the stone. While no diamond is perfectly pure, the closer it comes, the higher its value. The scale is as follows.

The GIA Diamond Clarity Scale has 6 categories, some of which are divided, for a total of 11 specific grades.

  • Flawless (FL) No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification
  • Internally Flawless (IF) No inclusions visible under 10x magnification
  • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) Inclusions so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterized as minor
  • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification
  • Included (I1, I2, and I3) Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance

Cut Grade

The cut of a diamonds is the most important element in the 4 C's. This factor accounts for up to 60% of the price of the diamond! Cut is what gives a diamond its sparkle, brilliance and fire. It is way more important to have a well-cut diamond than a colorless or flawless one.

Cut refers to a diamond’s engineering not the type of cut or diamond shape. A perfectly cut diamond maximize the amount of light reflected back to your eye like a mirror and a prism reflects, splitting the beams of light. The quality of cut also accounts for the polish (smoothness of the surface) on the diamond. Graduate Gemologists refer to the way a diamond reflects light as its fire, which is the prismatic effect of a split beam of light into individual colors.

At Lyght Jewelers, we only sell diamonds that are certified by best labs in the United States, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or American Gem Society.(AGS). GIA has five cut grades from Excellent to Poor, while AGS has eleven levels of grades. AGS grades cut on a scale from 0 to 10, with 0 being ideal and 10 meaning poor. Ideal is rare and is reserved for only the best cut diamonds.

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