The physical attributes of diamonds are assessed using the 4Cs classification system - Cut, Carat, Color and Clarity.


Refers to the angles and proportions of a diamond. It is the only one of the 4Cs that is influenced by the human hand.

While most of a diamond's qualities are defined by nature, it takes a master craftsman to unlock the diamond's true brilliance, fire and beauty. Diamond cutting requires great skill and training. To cut a diamond perfectly, a craftsman will often need to cut away more than 50% of the rough diamond. A well-cut diamond will be higher in quality and value than deep or shallow-cut diamonds.

Cut also refers to the shape of a diamonds - Round, Square, or Pear, for example.


Is a measure of weight. One carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams. One carat can also be divided into 100 'points'. A .75 carat diamond is the same as a 75-point or 3/4 carat diamond.

Since larger diamonds are found less frequently in nature, a single 1-carat diamond will cost more than two 1/2-carat diamonds, assuming the color, clarity and cut are the same.


Refers to the degree to which a diamond is colorless. Diamonds can be found in many colors, and are graded on a color scale which ranges from D (colorless) to Z. White-colored or colorless diamonds remain the most popular- however, color is subjective. Diamonds can also be found in shades of blue, green, yellow, orange, and pink. Red is the rarest of all. These diamonds are called 'colored fancies' and are extremely rare and highly treasured.



Refers to the presence of inclusions in a diamond. Inclusions are natural identifying characteristics such as minerals or fractures, occurring while the diamond was being formed in the Earth. Inclusions appear as different shapes, such as crystals, clouds or feathers. The majority of these natural birthmarks are invisible to the naked eye, yet they affect the way light is reflected and refracted within the stone.

Inclusions are ranked on a scale of perfection, known as clarity, ranging from F (Flawless) to Included (I). The position of inclusions can affect the value of a diamond and you should consider the number, size, brightness, nature and position of inclusions. There are very few flawless diamonds found in nature, making these diamonds much more valuable.

IF - Internally flawless
VVS1 / VVS2 - Very Very Slight Inclusions
VS1 / VS2 - Very Slight Inclusions
SI1 / SI2 - Slight Inclusions
I1 / I2 / I3 - Larger and/or numerous inclusions

GIA IF VVS1,2 VS1,2 SI1,2 I1 I2 I3 I4
HRD LC VVS1,2 VS1,2 SI1,2 P1 P2 P3 P4

The 4Cs help to evaluate a diamond's commercial value. In the end, however, diamonds are really bought primarily on the basis of emotional appeal.

"There are no measurements to describe how to find your perfect diamond.

However important the 4Cs are - beauty is the only arbiter. All diamonds should show Fire, Life, and Brilliance. Fire is the beautiful rainbow effect that is produced by the dispersion of light, Life is the scintillation and sparkle when you move the stone in front of your eyes, and Brilliance is the brightness of the diamond due to reflected white light when the diamond is still. Ultimately though, it is the diamond that chooses you."