These are the 4 Cs of diamond quality. They were developed by the Gemological Institute of America and are used around the world by jewelry professionals to describe and define diamonds. They will help you choose a diamond that is just right for the person you love and she will appreciate the thought and care you put into choosing her diamond ring. They will also help you to get the best diamond you can for the amount of money you want to spend.

Cut – A diamond’s cut determines how brilliant or how shiny the diamond appears. The cut is the only man made characteristic of the diamond.

The term cut is often confused with a diamond’s shape. Round, Marquise and Pear are all names for a diamond’s shape, although they are often incorrectly referred to as the “cut”.

The cut is actually a more technical term that describes how many facets, or smooth flat sides the diamond has. The particular angles the facets have are also determined by the cut. The number of facets and the degree of angles determine how light is reflected and passed through the diamond. This is what gives your diamond its brilliance.

When light reflects out of the diamond and back to your eye it causes the diamond to twinkle and appear more attractive. Good cuts cause the diamond to appear more dazzling and naturally, good cuts cost more.

Clarity – Clarity refers to how clear the diamond is. Diamonds often contain internal or external blemishes that cause the diamond to appear less clear. Internal blemishes might include bubbles, cracks or a non diamond mineral found inside the stone. An external blemish might be a scratch or a chip. Diamonds with fewer blemishes are more highly valued.

A scale called GIA Clarity scale is the industry standard for grading the clarity of diamonds. The scale runs from “included” on the low end, to “slightly included”, “very slightly included”, “very very slightly included”, “flawless”, “internally flawless”.

 Generally, if the diamond can pass the eye test and has no defects visible to unaided eye it will be just fine for jewelry and can be purchased at a much better value.

 Color – Colorless diamonds are the highest valued diamonds and are extremely rare. A scale called the GIA professional color scale is used to grade a diamond’s color. Somewhat counter intuitively, the scale goes from D to Z. Diamonds with a D grade are considered colorless while a Z grade means the diamond is light yellow or brown. Most diamonds used in jewelry are nearly colorless possibly with faint tints of yellow or brown. A diamond’s color is permanent and does not change over time.

Carat Weight –Carat weight is simply the size of the diamond. It may not be a measure of your love, but it goes a long way towards determining the value of your diamond. One Carat equals 200 milligrams (0.2 grams). Larger carat weight diamonds are rarer and thus cost more money. Once a diamond is cut for jewelry it is usually less than half the weight it was when it was raw.