Sign Up Log in (800) 466-4900

Diamond Guide

The Four Cs of Diamond Grading

When it comes to selecting and marketing the perfect diamond, many retailers are convinced that there are only four things the customer needs to know about: cut, color, clarity and carat. So why are the four Cs of diamond grading so critical to the pricing of a diamond? And which characteristic ultimately influences a diamond’s final asking price? Unique Settings has the answers:


Color: Retailers should always look for diamonds with as little color as possible, as colorless diamonds refract more light. Diamond color grades go” D” through “Z “ and divided by five different sections which are D-F (colorless), G-J ( near colorless), K-M (faint yellow), N-R ( very light yellow) and S-Z (light yellow). Because only a few rare diamonds are truly colorless (or “whiteless”, as some jewelers say) gemologists use the GIA’s professional color scale to rate how closely the diamond comes to being colorless. When choosing high-quality diamonds look for grades D through F, as these grades denote colorlessness. Keep in mind that these rules don’t apply to colored diamonds (or “fancy diamonds”), as these incredibly valuable gems are rated on another grading system.

Diamond Color


Clarity: Like with people, very few diamonds are perfect – but some do get very close. Here, clarity refers to any internal characteristics called “inclusions” (which are internal marks or flaws) or blemishes (surface flaws) on the diamond itself. Diamonds that boast very few blemishes or inclusions are rated as more valuable than diamonds that display obvious flaws. Retailers should look for diamonds with a clarity grade of I – IF for high-end product lines, while VVS and VS grades are more affordable and still just as stunning.


Carat: The carat is a unit of measurement by which a diamond is weighed, with a single carat weighing in at approximately 0.2 grams. Unlike the clarity of a diamond, carat size is extraordinarily visible to the naked eye, which results in much higher asking prices for higher carats. However, as a retailer, it’s important to know that carat is not the most influential characteristic when pricing a diamond – in fact, we’ve saved that characteristic for last. 1 carat=0.2 grams


Diamond CutCut: The cut of a diamond will ultimately determine just how brilliant and sparkling the stone will be. By carefully cutting multiple angles and percentages into the stone, a master diamond cutter is responsible for turning a diamond into a brilliant thing of beauty. If a diamond isn’t properly cut, it simply won’t sell as well. Retailers should look out for diamonds with a grade of 1 to 3 on the Cut Grading Scale.