2 min read

Trick question! Gemologically speaking, the 4 C’s shown are all equally weighted in terms of importance when looking at a diamond. No one particular 4 C supersedes another.

That said, with such a highly technical and specific purchase like a diamond, sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between which to choose. The international language of diamonds is called the 4 C’s, it’s not a valuation tool, but more of a way to methodically differentiate and classify the rarity of the stone. I’ve gone into specifics of the 4 C’s in previous blog posts, so I’ll be brief in it’s overview below.

4 C’s:

  • Clarity (as clarity grade decreases, clarity characteristics increase under 10x magnification)
Courtesy of GIA
  • Color (as color grade decreases, the more yellow color is visible)


Courtesy of GIA 

  • Cut (measurement of relationship between proportions, symmetry, and polish)


  • Carat Weight (unit of measure, the higher the carat weight, the increased rarity of the diamond)

The overall combination and interplay of the 4 C’s are what give a diamond their uniqueness, which is why absolutely no two diamonds (lab-grown or mined) are the same. Occasionally, you may come across two stones that on their grading reports, have the same 4 C’s in a general sense, but when you dig deeper it’s highly unlikely they have the same proportions, or better yet, the same inclusions or blemishes (think of your fingerprint).

The specific 4 C qualities are not priced individually or a-la-cart. Trying to find a balance of size, quality, and make (referred to as proportions and finish) isn’t easy but when found, strikes the right accord of most buyers.

When shopping for diamonds, all other things being equal, it’s important to realize that bigger is not always better. For example, if you focus on carat weight, you may be neglecting or compromising when it comes to the remaining 3 C’s. Again, it’s an interplay of rarity. It just depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.

Occasionally, you may read an article of a record breaking diamond of extreme rarity that sold for millions! This is because of the rarity of maximizing each component of the 4 C’s. These types of museum quality diamonds and gemstones are not typically worn as jewelry and are treated like prized possessions.

So if you’re in the market for a diamond, working with a trusted diamond expert is invaluable. Why? Because if they cannot explain the difference and reason why one diamond costs more or less than another, then you should reconsider who you choose to do business with. Be mindful of people exaggerating one aspect of the stone. Ask, “what are we compromising here?”

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