4C's of Diamond

Must read article as we have added nuggets of information scattered throughout this page.

Any diamond is mainly characterized by 4 C’s namely Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat. Though they are the most prominent, the 4C's don’t give the complete picture and thus way to assess a diamond’s value. Lets look at what the 4C's mean and go beyond them.


The Cut of a diamond is the only factor which is influenced by humans and also the one which largely affects its value,fire and life. They are usually graded as Excellent (Ideal), Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor. Cut accompanied with Symmetry and Polish should be ideally all EX, EX, EX or Triple EX in the industry language. In our advanced search we have a check box which helps you identify just those diamonds which are triple EXs.


In a diamond, the color greatly enhances its visual beauty. A diamond comes in a VIBGYOR of color ranges but it’s the color-less which is most desirable. Diamonds with D grade are perfect colorless and E,F, G, H,I,J and so on move towards increasing tinge of color shades of Yellow , Brown , Green etc. Of these Yellow shade is most desirable as it enhances the brilliance. While we are talking about color its worth mentioning Fancy Color diamonds. Fancy colors are more rarer and desirable. They have a very prominent color shade.


A lot of diamonds come with inclusions or tiny particles. This affects the beauty of it depending on the number and sizes. Some of these impurities are not even visible with naked eye which are often referred to as eye-clean. Clarity is graded as FL, IF, VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2, SI1, SI2, I1, I2, I3.


Or the weight /size of a diamond. A carat is made of 100 cents so a 50 cent diamond is also a 0.5 carat diamond. The larger the size of the diamond the more desirable it is. But even a 1 carat diamond would be lifeless without the right cut and color. So the caratage of a diamond shouldn’t be given undue importance.

Note the caratage of a diamond signifies size/weight whereas the caratage in precious metals like gold and silver signifies their purity.


Diamonds come in various shapes like Round (Round Brilliant Cut), Hearts, Princess, Marquise, Oval, Cushion, Radiant, Emerald, Asscher, and Pear. The shape of diamond is often mistaken for the Cut. Every shape other than round is considered as fancy shape. GIA and other leading labs do not grade the Cut of fancy shapes.

Less talked about characteristics of a diamond

Symmetry: Diamond graders look for the symmetry of the facets on a diamond. A diamond has 57 facets. Some proprietary diamond cuts have even more facets.

Ideal | Excellent | Very Good | Good | Fair | Poor

: The facets of a diamond are polished to remove any unevenness. Inspite of which some diamonds have fine grain lines. Polish is graded as Excellent, Very Good, good, Fair, Poor.

Ideal | Excellent | Very Good | Good | Fair | Poor

: The last facet in a diamond. A diamond usually has 57 facets and 'closed' at the bottom to form the 58th facet sometimes. In the presence of a culet (unclosed bottom) a small 'black hole' is visible.

Pointed | Chipped | Abraded

: A factor which can greatly enhance the value of diamond. This can be tested in UV lights only where certain diamonds exhibit strong or medium flouro.

None | Faint | Medium Blue | Medium Yellow |Strong | Very Strong

: This is specified as a percentage of total depth of the diamond.

: The top surface of a diamond. Its specified as a percentage of the total girth of the diamond.

: Is the upper portion of the diamond. 

: Is the middle girth of the diamond (As depicted in the picture). This is where the laser inscription on the certificate number can be viewed through a magnifying lens.

Extra Thin | Very Thin | Thin | Slightly Thin | Medium | Slightly Thick | Thick | Very Thick | Extremely Thick

: It is the portion below the girdle as depcited in the picture.

Note: Throughout this site we refer to educational content from GIA- The world's foremost gemological lab and a non-profit organization.