Learning About the 4 Cs – Part I

CaratsI have helped many friends over the years search for the perfect diamond. And, one thing everyone finds most helpful is the time I spend educating them on “The 4 Cs”.

I believe an educated consumer will always get the most meaningful diamond for him- or herself, and the best purchase for his or her money.

Though most people may have heard of “The 4 Cs” at some point in time, they may have not paid attention to their full meaning until faced with shopping for a diamond. The most important thing to realize about the Cs is that they are a measuring tool to gauge any particular diamond’s quality based on its unique: Carat, Cut, Clarity and Color.

The way these 4 factors mesh together, plus the ever-important market “supply and demand at the time” are what create the value of a diamond at any given time. A 1ct diamond worth any price today can be worth much more in a year, if demand is high and yield is low that year. The same 1ct diamond can be worth LESS the following year, if suddenly the market is flooded with excess diamonds of that size and shape.

In my three part series “Learning About the 4 Cs”, I will explain each of the Cs and address the issues that are relevant to you as a buyer which will help make your diamond experience an easier and more pleasant one.

But, first, one last note before starting, keep in mind that each diamond is unique and it is the specific combination of all 4 Cs that make up the formula to its unique price.


diamond carat scale


“C” is for Carat

The first and probably most known C is Carat. A carat is a measure used to weigh diamonds. Using a metric system of 100 points = one carat, any diamond can be defined as a decimal number to the closest hundredth. For example a diamond weighing 12 points would be 0.12ct.

Finished diamonds come in many different sizes ranging from the size of a grain of sand and can weigh 0.01ct, to larger size diamonds of 1.00ct, 2.00ct, 3.00ct or larger. Bigger, rarer diamonds can be found even at sizes larger than a quarter. The larger a diamond, the heavier it weighs. The heavier it weighs the more expensive it is “per carat” on a pricing scale.

As diamond’s size grows, so does its rarity and, by default, the difference between the prices per carat. For example a 1ct diamond priced at $2000 per carat, does not mean that a 2ct diamond of the same quality is $4000. The 2ct diamond of the same quality may be $3000 “per carat,” making that stone 2.00ct x $3000 = $6000.

All the other Cs do not affect a diamonds carat weight. So you can have diamonds in all shapes, colors or clarity at any carat weight.

to be continued…

Next In The Series: Cut and Color

Photo credit: GIA (Gemological Institute of America) & Rony Tennenbaum


In his 25 years experience in designing and creating engagement rings and wedding bands, Rony has dedicated more than a decade of service toward helping same-sex couples translate their sentiments of commitment into meaninful custom rings, symbolizing their unique love.