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They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend but diamonds, like friends, tend to vary in quality. Thankfully, jewelers, with the aid of the nonprofit Gemological Institute of America, have come up with a way to distinguish the quality of diamonds with a rating system.

There are 4 criteria that determine diamond ratings, known as the 4 Cs, that diamonds are graded on: Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat. In this article, we’ll tell you what you need to know about each one.

Color

The ideal diamond is bright wight, clear, and transparent. But diamonds varying in color on a scale of yellowness. And this criterion alone can drastically reduce the price of a diamond.

The more yellow the diamond, the less it’s worth, and for good reason. Yellow diamonds all the way at the bottom of the spectrum have the appearance of coffee-stained teeth or old glasses.

The best, colorless diamonds are rated as D, E, or F, and the worst diamonds are rated S-Z.

Clarity

Diamonds are also graded on how transparent they are. Diamonds can have internal imperfections, called inclusions that can give diamonds a “cloudy” look. They might also have surface irregularities that are referred to as blemishes.

However, these imperfections can improve the value of a diamond because they prove that the diamond is authentic, and because no two diamonds have the same inclusions, can separate one diamond from another.

For the most part though, jewelers and buyers both want the clearest diamonds possible, though a jeweler or a gemologist can live their whole life without seeing a flawlessly clear diamond.

Cut

The cut has nothing to do with the natural formation of the diamond, like clarity and color, and everything to do with the craftsmanship of the person that cut the diamond.

A well-cut diamond dazzles the eye in three ways. The different edges cut onto the face of a diamond should reflect white light back to your eye (jewelers refer to this as brightness). You should also be able to see flashes of color, such as blue, red, and yellow (this is called “fire”), and lastly, contrasting areas of light and dark on the diamond known as scintillations.

The more dazzling the cut, the more dazzling the light, and the more expensive the diamond is.

Carat

Last, but not least, is the most straightforward criterion: the carat. Carat is a measurement of diamond size or weight (they’re closely related in this case). The bigger a diamond is, the more traditionally desirable it is. This makes it more expensive. Many a woman has been dazzled by the large rocks on their engagement rings.

Larger diamonds are also more rare, which contributes to its price.

Now That You Know About Diamond Ratings…

You can walk into any jeweler and speak about what you’re looking for in a diamond with much more knowledge. Of course, to get what you want at a reasonable price, however, you’ll probably have to sacrifice somewhere in these diamond ratings.

But if you’re looking to get high-quality diamonds at a reasonable price, be sure to check out our collection of diamond jewelry.