Unearthing the 4 C's of a Diamond's Fingerprint

by Alaina Latiolais

Every diamond tells a story. Just as no two fingerprints are alike, each diamond has its own unique identity — a crystal-clear testament to the course of nature. While they're all undeniably beautiful, understanding the subtle qualities that make each diamond a singular masterpiece is an enlightening journey across the millennia of its formation. Dive with us into the heart of the 4 C's, the global standard for evaluating the quality of a diamond.

1. Diamond Cut
Beyond the diamond's shape lies the magic of its cut. It's about how expertly it's crafted to play with light, creating a dance of brilliance and sparkle. The artistry of the cut elevates a diamond’s luminosity, making it either radiate with unmatched brilliance or, if poorly executed, seem lackluster. Cut at the perfect angle, and you get a magical dance of every color of the rainbow. Cut too shallow or too deep and only a fraction of the light is reflected. If your aim is sparkle, look for diamonds with an ideal or very good cut.

Rating Scale:
Ideal      Excellent      Very Good      Good      Fair      Poor

2. Diamond Color
The spectrum of diamond colors is vast from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow). Diamonds also come in a range of fancy colors from pink to blue, and yellow to brown or black, but when it comes to grading, it's often the absence of color we look prize. With the exception of fancy diamonds, diamonds with the least color are the most prized.

Diamond Color Scale

3. Diamond Clarity
A diamond's clarity is a diary of its creation story, cataloging its unique journey over eons. Every inclusion (internal characteristic) or blemish (external trait) is a chapter in its journey throughout history. Though graded from Flawless to Included based on these features, it's these very inclusions and blemishes that make each diamond unique.

Rating Scale:
Flawless   Internally Flawless    VVS1, VVS2    VS1, VS2    SI1, SI2, SI3   I1, I2, I3

VS Quality Diamond vs. SI2 Quality Diamond 

2. Diamond Carat
Carat speaks of a diamond’s weight, not its size. One carat equates to 0.2 grams in weight. Two one carat diamonds can have the same carat weight and appear to be different in size simply because of the way the diamond is cut. A diamond can be cut at a deeper angle and therefore have much of its weight in the bottom vs. a shallow cut diamond which may hold much of its weight in the table (top of the diamond) and subsequently appear bigger. Intertwined with the other 3Cs, a diamond’s weight is just one facet of its value. Sometimes, a smaller diamond, with a superior clarity and color, might be more valuable than a larger, less distinct one.

When you purchase a diamond, you're not just selecting a set of criteria; you're connecting with a unique fingerprint etched by nature over millennia. As you search for the perfect stone there will often one that speaks to you and defines your story. Need help planning an engagement ring? We can help.