A diamond’s quality and price are determined by a set of four conditions known as the four C’s: cut, clarity, color, and carat. When selecting a diamond, look for one that balances these four qualities without straining your budget. Perfect quality diamonds are rare and extremely expensive, but you can select a slightly less perfect diamond that still appears brilliant to the naked eye.
Method 1 of 4: Cut
The cut determines a diamond’s shape and brilliance. A well-cut diamond reflects light from one facet to another. If cut too deep or too shallow, light escapes from the diamond prematurely, reducing the stone’s quality.
Method 2 of 4: Clarity
Clarity refers to the purity of a diamond. Most diamonds have some surface blemishes known as “inclusions,” but extremely high quality stones have no visible marks and are considered flawless.
Many imperfections are not visible to the naked eye, however, and can only be seen by using a 10-power magnification glass.
- Buy flawless, FL, or internally flawless, IF, for stones without any internal imperfections. These are very rare, though, and very expensive.
- Consider VVS1 or VVS2 clarity grades for high quality diamonds with very, very small inclusions that are invisible to the untrained eye, even with a 10-power magnifier.
- Look at VS1 or VS2 grades for diamonds that are flawless to the naked eye with very minor inclusions.
- Consider a diamond with an SI1 or SI2 rating for a stone with small inclusions that are still invisible to the naked eye, but easy to spot with a magnifier. These stones appear high quality to the vast majority of individuals looking at them.
Method 3 of 4: Color
The highest quality diamonds are colorless, since colorless stones are rare and reflect light better than tinted diamonds. Most diamonds have slight tints of yellow, which are often impossible to see with the naked eye.
Method 4 of 4: Carat
The weight, or size, of the diamond is measured in carats. The more carats a diamond has, the more expensive it will be.