4 C's Basics

Buying a diamond is not as complicated as you think.  The diamond industry has developed basic tools for the consumer -- known as the 4C's.  These help to objectively determine the diamond's value and therefore its price.  The rest is your personal taste and budget.  At Diamond Spark we will be happy to help you find the diamond you'll love forever. 

The 4C's

The 4C's provides a way to objectively compare and evaluate diamonds.

Carat, Cut, Clarity and Color are the four key parameters that determine a diamond's value.   Most of these factors either cannot be seen by the naked eye, or distinguished without in-depth knowledge and experience. 
The 4C characteristics are specified in the certificate that accompanies your Diamond Spark.  This certificate is issued by an independent gemological laboratory such as GIA or EGL and is given to you with your diamond, at no extra charge. 

Carat

A carat is the standard unit of weight for diamonds.   Of the four parameters that determine a diamond's value, the carat factor is the only one that is scientific or measurable. 
The carat takes its name from the carob seed. Because these small seeds had a fairly uniform weight, early gem traders used them as counterweights in their balance scales. The modern metric carat, equal to 0.2 grams, is uniform throughout the world. In the diamond industry, weight is often measured to the hundred thousandths of a carat.  Since even a fraction of a carat can make a considerable difference in cost, precision is called for. 

Cut

Cut refers to a diamond’s proportions, symmetry and polish. The allure of a particular diamond depends more on cut than anything else.
Though difficult to analyze or quantify, the cut of any diamond has three attributes: brilliance (the total light reflected from a diamond), fire (the dispersion of light into the colors of the spectrum), and scintillation (the flashes of light, or sparkle, when a diamond is moved).
An understanding of a diamond cut begins with the shape of a diamond. The standard round brilliant is the most popular shape used in diamond jewelry. All others are known as fancy shapes. A round brilliant cut diamond has 57 facets. The proportions of a diamond refer to the relationships between these facet's sizes and angles.  A wide range of proportion combinations are possible and these ultimately affect the stone's interaction with light. 

Color

The average eye cannot see a diamond's color.  In the world of diamonds, the closer a diamond approaches colorlessness the higher its value. The exception to this is fancy-color diamonds, such as fancy yellows, pinks and blues, which lie outside this color range.
The color scale begins with the letter D, representing colorless, and continues to the letter Z, with slight hints of yellow or brown.  Each letter grade has a clearly defined range of color appearance, with distinctions so subtle that they are indistinguishable to the untrained eye. Diamonds are color-graded by comparing them to stones of known color under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions.  Each color variation affects the diamond's price.

Clarity

Since diamonds are formed in the depths of the earth, under tremendous heat and pressure, they come with 'birthmarks' or what are called inclusions.  These characteristics help distinguish one diamond from another.  Rarity of these marks affects a diamond’s value.  There are usually 11 grades in determining clarity. 
Diamonds are assigned a clarity grade that can range from flawless -- which are extremely rare -- to diamonds with inclusions.  10x magnification is the universal standard for clarity grading.