Explaining the 4 Cs
The 4 Cs are used worldwide to establish the value of a diamond. The scale was first coined by Robert M. Shipley in the 1940s, inventing this pneumonic device to help his pupils memorize the four characteristics of a faceted diamond: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. This was later expanded upon by Shipley’s successors, and they were the ones who implemented the grading scales that jewelers everywhere have adopted and continue to use to this day.
When looking to purchase a diamond, you should always inquire about the 4 Cs that are used when determining the value of that diamond. The 4 Cs are as follows:
1. Cut: The way a diamond is cut affects the light that is refracted back into your eye when you look at it. If the cut is too deep or shallow, the light will not be refracted back through the face of the diamond.
2. Color: The color of a diamond is ranked on a scale from D to Z. Diamonds that are completely colorless start with the rank of D, which is extremely rare, continuing with E and F colorless, continuing through the alphabet with ever so slight increases in yellow color until arriving at Z.
3. Clarity: Clarity refers to the number of imperfections present in a diamond. The ranking for clarity ranges from F (flawless) to I3 (Included 3). There are 11 rankings. A flawless diamond has no clarity characteristics or "imperfections", whereas an I3 diamond has numerous eye visible inclusions, or "imperfections", that prevent light from properly passing through the diamond. The fewer clarity characteristics there are, the more rare and the more valuable the diamond.
4. Carat weight: Carat weight refers to the actual weight of the diamond not the dimensions or size that many tend to believe. A one carat diamond has 100 points. At 25 points, a diamond would be considered a ¼ carat, whereas a 200-point diamond is a two-carat diamond.