Every diamond is as unique as the individual that wears it and weighing the pros and cons of a particular stone can be confusing. Here’s a quick overview of the 4C’s
CUT - The most identifiable of the four C’s and the only grade that humans actually play a role in influencing. The cut of a diamond does not only refer to the shape but the facet design, finish and proportions of the diamond. A diamond that is well cut will radiate light and brilliance because the facet angles are optimum. Vintage diamonds can be an exception to this rule.
COLOR - The color of a diamond refers to the hue and saturation of the intensity or lack of color in a diamond. Color is graded in shades of yellow, brown and gray and comes from different levels of nitrogen below the surface of the earth; little to no nitrogen produces colorless diamonds. High levels of nitrogen produce yellow and brown hues. Color is graded in letter classifications from colorless (D-E-F), near colorless (G-H-I-J) and degrees of yellow and brown (K to Z). Some of the most rare colors occur in fancy, vivid shades of yellow, pink and even blue.
CLARITY - Clarity refers to the natural inclusions within diamonds. Mostly foreign bodies, inclusions happen during the development of the diamond and are sometimes present on the outside of the stone as external scratches or blemishes. Inclusions can take different forms and shapes. The grading of a diamond’s clarity is determined by the number, size and location of these inclusions. There are eleven grades within five classifications ranging from Flawless and Internally Flawless (FL-IF), Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1-VVS2), Very Slightly Included (VS1-VS2), Slightly Included (SI1-SI2) and Included (I1-I2-I3). Stones are graded under 10X magnification. Inclusions graded VS2 and better cannot be detected with the naked eye. SI1 and SI2 can appear “eye clean” as well, depending on where the inclusions are in the stone.
CARAT - A carat is a unit of measurement that is 1/5th of a gram and is measured in whole and decimal units to the hundredth and is expressed as ”points” or fractions. A half carat stone would be expressed as .50 or 50 points. The larger the diamond the more rare and therefore more valuable. For more about Karats, Carats & Carrots http://www.bmjnyc.com/2012/01/30/about-carats-karats-and-carrots-7/
Remember that Hebrew National Hotdog commercial ” We answer to a higher authority”? I think of The GIA, Gemological Institute of America in the same way. There are a number of laboratories that certify diamonds, some very well respected but GIA certificates carry the most weight because they grade the most conservatively and go more in depth when analyzing a stone. Please check out the GIA’s site for more about the 4C’s http://www.gia.edu/lab-reports-services/about-the-4cs/index.html