Diamonds are one of the rarest gems in the world. But it is not only their rarity that gives them their value. Diamonds are judged on the basis of four quality categories, "the four Cs". These are cut, carat, clarity and color. Each one of the four Cs has an individual effect on the overall value of a stone, and their combined grades are what determine a diamond's final price. Here is a brief description of these four quality categories.

Diamonds are usually never perfectly white. Most range from almost clear white to heavily yellow-tinged. The highest color grade for diamonds is a D, and the grades continue alphabetically all the way to Z. A D-grade diamond is near-perfect white. Once you get past the H grade, diamonds start acquiring a slight hint of yellow.

Clarity in a diamond is determined by how many imperfections it contains within. These imperfections are known as inclusions, and every gem has them. The more imperfections it has, the lower the diamond's clarity grade. The highest grade for clarity is IF. There are nine more that follow. The difference in clarity between the top three grades in not really noticeable unless you examine the rock using professional grade equipment. But once you get past half-way down the grade list, the imperfections start becoming visible with the naked eye.

A diamond's weight is measured in carats. Since larger diamonds are much rarer than smaller diamonds, ones with higher carat grades are valued more. One carat is equivalent to 0.5 grams. Diamonds that weigh less than 1 carat tend to be considerably cheaper. Once a diamond is past the 1 carat mark, the price increases a lot. But there is more to a diamond's value than just its size.

Cut is probably the most important aspect of a diamond's quality, as it determines the diamond's shape and brilliance. A diamond's cut depends in great part on the ability and professionalism of the diamond cutter. Diamonds worked on by professionally certified master diamond cutters are therefore more valued. There are different types of diamond cuts, the most common of which include the heart, emerald, oval, pear, princess, radiant and round diamond cut. The round cut is by far the most well known of them.

Find out how diamond rings in San Diego can help you determine the value of your next purchase.