The 4 C's

Introducing the 4 C's

In the 1940s and '50s, GIA developed the 4 C's: the definitive qualities of cut, colour, clarity and carat, as a universal method and reference to compare and evaluate diamonds.

Diamond Cut

Commonly misunderstood, diamond cut refers to far more than the shape a rough diamond is polished into. The cut of a diamond is what determines its brilliance, more simply known as sparkle, and is influenced by the proportions, polish and symmetry of a stone. The GIA employs a five-point scale for grading diamond cut, ranging from Excellent (which has the highest level of sparkle intensity), to Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor (the lowest grade). 

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Diamond Colour

Diamond colour is measured based on the degree of colourlessness or lack of colour in a diamond. The highest grade in diamond colour is D being the whitest or most colourless and therefore most desirable. However the difference between two colour grades is sometimes hard to tell in which case a slightly lower colour grade may be more suitable when looking for better value. 

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Diamond Clarity

Clarity refers to the small imperfections, which occur in a diamond and are often not visible to the naked eye. The size and location of the imperfections play a vital role when determining the price of a diamond. Diamonds with few or no imperfections receive the highest clarity grade. The GIA grades clarity on an 11-point scale, ranging from FL/IF (Flawless) where the diamond is completely free of inclusions to I3 (Included) where the diamond has obvious visible inclusions. 

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Carat Weight

Carat is specifically the measure of a diamond’s weight. Of the 4 C’s, carat weight is the easiest to determine. However how large a diamond appears is also heavily influenced by the shape and cut of a diamond.  

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