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Diamond Grading — The 4Cs

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Unlike buying clothes, shoes or cars, buying a diamond is a very special experience since it represents the gesture of love, faithfulness as well as signifies a milestone in people’s life. Therefore, when choosing diamonds, it is essential to know which shape suits your personal preference and how to evaluate the quality of diamonds so that you can create your one-of-a-kind diamond jewellery.

The 4C’s method below invented by GIA (The Gemological Institute of America) is a global method used to assess the standard for describing diamonds. Let’s take a look to find out what characteristics you should consider when purchasing diamonds.


Colour Accordion arrow
Clarity Accordion arrow
Carat Accordion arrow
Cut Accordion arrow
Shapes Accordion arrow



In the World of diamonds, the less visible of colour, the higher value of the diamond. Colourless or near colourless diamonds are chemically pure and therefore it appears to be rearer and more valuable. Increasing degrees of colour are measured on a scale starting from D (colourless) to Z (deeply coloured). Diamond Boutique only uses diamonds within the “colourless” and “near colourless” range and our minimum standard colour is ‘H’.




The clarity of a Diamond is determined by the presence of internal ‘inclusions’ or external ‘blemishes’. Clarity is ranked on a scale from IF to P3, where ‘IF’ is Flawless, and ‘P3’ is heavily included. This rank is calculated based on how many inclusions there are, how big they are, what their colouring is and where they are located in the stone. Some may be visible with the naked eye (which would result in a low grade such as P1, P2 or P3), and others would need a loop, or microscope to see. Diamond Boutique’s minimum standard for clarity is SI2.

Please note that the clarity characteristic is affected by other diamond qualities such as shape/cut and size. Some step cut gemstones such as emerald or baguette, have larger facets that can  mean imperfections can be seen more easily.



Carat(ct) refers to the unit of measurement when weighting diamonds and gemstones. One carat is equivalent to 0.2 grams and it also be divided into 100 points. For example, jewellers may describe 1/4 carat (0.25ct) weight diamond as 25 points. However, stones that weight greater than one carat will be expressed in carat and decimals.




‘Cut’ is the often forgotten “C”, and is one of the more important factors (along with colour) of what makes a diamond brilliant. Purchasing a stone that is of a poor make means that no matter how high the colour and clarity of the diamond is, the stone will not have good light return and can look lifeless.

A diamond’s beauty can be affected by the skill of the cutter in achieving the correct combination of crown angles and depth percentages. If a diamond is cut well, a ray of light that enters the table of a diamond will reflect on the internal mirrors and return back out of the table to the viewer. This is a scientific principle known as ‘total internal reflection’. The cut of a diamond has three attributes:

Brilliance (or light reflection)

Fire (or dispersion of light into the colours of the spectrum)

Scintillation (or sparkle).

If a diamond is cut too deep or shallow, the light that enters the table will not be returned through the side it entered, but lost through the bottom or another side.



Even though shape is not part of the 4C’s grading system, people can confuse it with the cut attribute. When shopping for a diamond, shape is quite often the 1st factor that is considered by customers. Each shape is distinctive and has its own unique features. There are many different factors to consider when selecting the perfect fancy shape diamond. The diamond grading system is based mostly on the round brilliant cut. It is important to speak to a diamond specialist when selecting the correct combination of aspects for a fancy shaped diamond.

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