The 4 Cs

Why use the 4 C's?

The four Cs are a simple way to compare and contrast different diamonds. One of the most confusing things about shopping for diamonds is making sense of all of the qualities and grades that you have to choose from. With this universal set of grades, you will have a much easier time looking at diamonds and making decisions. One important thing to note, is that these grades are assigned by a diamond laboratory and noted on a certificate. Even though they may use the same grades, there may be differences between labs.

We sell only GIA certified diamonds, because they are the most respected and accurate lab in the industry. Learn more about why by visiting our page on certificates.

When we talk about each of the four Cs, keep in mind that the most important factors are often ones that you can’t measure. Make sure that your choice of precious stone looks pleasing to you and will make you or your loved one glow with happiness.

When you pick out a diamond or ring, you should be aware of each C to make sure you are getting what you are paying for. Some Jewelers may say that some of the 4 Cs are not important, or as important, as others. They only person who is qualified to make that decision is you.

What are you looking for in a diamond? Which of the four Cs best represent the sentiment of your gift or purchase? It’s a good indicator that you need a new jeweler if they seem surprised when you bring up your knowledge of the 4 Cs.

We would love to educate you and make sure that you are aware of everything about the four Cs. Call (312) 920-0075 or message us today to discuss your needs and set up your appointment.

Carat weight is less a "grade" than it is a measurement. It is important to note that Carat is a measure of weight, not size. In most cases, diamonds get larger as they get heavier, but this is not always the case.

Even though size is not directly related to carat, this is a good time to talk about it. What we might consider the "size" is primarily related to the millimeter measurement of the diamond. Also referred to as the spread, the first measurement determines the diameter, or how big a round diamond is across the top. Other diamonds can have both a length and width. This allows for different ratios, so while round diamonds are always round, princess cuts, radiants, and other shapes can be square or rectangular. Who is to say what looks larger? A spreadier square diamond, or a longer and thinner rectangular diamond? That is a matter of taste, but some people really like the unique look of a rectangular diamond.

Now that you know exactly what carat weight refers to, you should know that it has a major effect on price. Diamonds are priced per carat, and you take the per carat price multiplied by the diamond weight to get the final price. A diamond that is twice the weight, will have a per carat price three or four times as much as the smaller diamond. This increase gets larger and larger as diamonds get bigger, but the main takeaway is that you can't spend twice as much to get a diamond that weighs twice as much.

Under-sizes are one way you can use the carat pricing system to your advantage. Under sizes are diamonds that are very close to a cut off size. The cut offs are mainly at each half carat, so 1.00ct-1.50ct-2.00ct and so on. An example of an under size would be 0.90ct or a 1.47ct. They are important because an under size will be priced based on a completely different and often much lower per carat price. Under sizes can save you money, and they are usually very similar in "size" to their slightly heavier counterparts.

Carat weight is a very visual trait, so its a good idea to see some live diamonds to make your decision. Some want to make sure they get at least a certain size, but you should have a look to make sure the difference in size is worth the difference in cost.

Need some help finding the perfect size diamond? Call (312) 920-0075 or send us a message and we would be happy assist you.

To an untrained eye, it can be difficult to tell the difference between certain diamond color grades. In order to properly evaluate the color of a diamond, gemologists traditionally utilize a set of master stones that represent the standard for each diamond color grade. These facts can make diamond color one of the more flexible traits.

The diamond color scale ranges from D-Z. D is considered completely colorless, with a diamond taking on more and more yellow color as it approaches Z. Most diamonds you will find for sale range from D-J. The diamond color grades are grouped together accordingly:

Colorless Near Colorless Faint Yellow Very Light Yellow Light Yellow

It is difficult to notice color differences unless two diamonds are side by side. Even diamonds that are one or two color grades away from each other can be difficult to differentiate. This is especially true when they are in the same category of diamond colors as shown in the chart.

D, E, and F color diamonds will appear very similar. A trained grader requires a set of master stones to properly qualify them.

If you're looking to save money, it is often a great idea to get a lower color diamond. If you decide to go that route, we make sure that any diamonds in your ring will match your center diamond. In this way, the fact that your diamond isn't technically the highest color will be very difficult to notice. However, we generally don't recommend going lower than J color.

Most lower color diamonds exhibit a light yellowish color, but brownish is also possible. As long as you stick with a diamond color of J or higher, this difference shouldn't be an issue.

Diamond color is one of the simplest grades associated with a diamond. We can show you a range of colors when you come in for your appointment to help you along with your decision on what color grades are acceptable to you. As stated previously, your tastes are the most important factor. There is nothing wrong with looking for a quality high color diamond in your budget if the higher colors appeal to you.

Would like to come in for a private consultation and see different color diamonds for yourself? Call (312) 920-0075 or send us a message and we can talk about your needs and set up your appointment.

Diamond clarity is a grade that is assigned based on a manual review of the diamond by mapping the type, size, and location of inclusions. All diamonds have inclusions, with the exception of FL or flawless diamonds. Your tastes will ultimately decide what diamond clarity you will go with, but most will want a diamond that is eye-clean.

An inclusion is something in the diamond that doesn’t quite belong. Diamond Inclusions are also called flaws, but don’t think that this means it is defective. Flaws give character to diamonds and make them unique.

The type, amount, and location of inclusions in a diamond act like a fingerprint. No two diamonds are alike.

Due to the way diamond clarity is graded, it must be done by a human. Since a human grades the diamond clarity there is always room for opinion. Each lab has set rules based on the size, position, and type of inclusion, but it is up to the grader to make a final decision. This means its important to view a diamond in person and get the help of an expert to ensure that the diamond you are getting is up to your standards.

The diamond clarity grades meanings are explained below, going from flawless to included, along with some important points to consider when diamond shopping:

  • No visible inclusions under 10x magnification
  • Very rare and expensive
In most cases you can do better with a lower diamond clarity and larger diamond carat weight, better diamond color, or most importantly, a nicer cut diamond
  • No visible inclusions under 10x magnification
  • Flaws only on the surface of the diamond, called blemishes
  • Both FL and IF are sometimes referred to as "Museum Quality"
Most consumers still choose a lower clarity so that other traits can be maximized for their budget
  • Few flaws at 10x magnification
  • It takes a skilled grader to notice inclusions in a VVS diamond
  • For grades with numerical levels, a higher number is better
VVS is still considered unnecessary for the average consumer
  • Inclusions that are slightly easier to see under 10x magnification
  • VS diamonds are both great looking and more affordable
  • An average consumer looking for a "high quality" diamond will generally get a VS1
Very slightly can mean many things. Not every single VS diamond will be eye clean. View your diamonds in person and use a Jeweler who you trust and will help you to select a diamond with a clarity that works for you.
  • Noticeable inclusions at 10x magnification
  • Beautiful, eye-clean diamonds can still be found in this category
  • They are a popular choice if your looking for a deal
  • Not all SI diamonds, SI2 in particular, will be eye clean
Watch out, especially in SI graded diamonds, you have to be more careful of larger more prominent inclusions in highly visible parts of the diamond. A large whitish inclusion may be acceptable to you, where a smaller darker one may not.
  • Large, numerous, or obvious inclusions at 10x magnification
  • Unsightly inclusions visible to the naked eye are almost guaranteed
  • Prices are lower, but the average consumer will go for a higher clarity
  • Certain inclusions may also affect the strength and durability of the stone
  • As a general rule, we don't work with I grade diamonds
You might consider moving up a clarity grade or getting a slightly off-color or smaller stone to work within your budget.

You might notice that VS and SI clarity diamonds were emphasized. The majority of stones fall into these diamond clarity grades due to their combination of reasonable price and great look. It is also very possible to find diamonds graded VS1, VS2, SI1, or SI2 with no major inclusions.

Just a note, EGL certificates include an SI3 clarity grade. It is somewhere in between a GIA SI2 and I1. Since GIA is known for stricter grading standards, we don’t generally carry or sell EGL certified diamonds. However, if we did, we would avoid most SI3 clarity diamonds.

We can teach you to be use a jeweler’s loupe and view potential diamonds at 10x magnification. If your Jeweler isn’t showing you diamonds up close, there may be something there they don’t want you to see.

Give us a call at (312) 920-0075 if you would like to view some diamonds and learn how to use a loupe like a professional. With our help you can shop like the jeweler’s do and get a great diamond at an unbelievable price.

Of all of the four C’s, cut may be one of the most important in terms of overall beauty. It can also be one of the most confusing.

Diamond Cut is based on the structure and measurements of the diamond. Don’t get Diamond Cut confused with Diamond Shape. They are often used interchangeably, but they are very different.

In reality, Cut is an overall assessment describing many sub-traits: Depth, Table, Polish, and Symmetry to name a few. However, only Round diamonds receive an actual cut grade from GIA. Other shapes just have accepted ranges or guidelines for each characteristic.

There is not one perfect combination of depth, table, or symmetry. An ideal cut can be several combinations of factors. GIA conducted a study when it developed its Round Diamond Cut grading system and it found that there were several “hot spots” of values that would create an exceptionally pleasing Round Brilliant diamond. The most important fact you can take away from this is that viewing a diamond is always the best way for you to grade its value to you.

A poorly cut diamond, no matter how outstanding its clarity or color, won’t reflect light properly.

As it turns out, the interaction of a diamond with light is the foundation for their prized brilliance, scintillation, and fire. While these three sound like fancy marketing terms, they each refer to a specific aspect of a diamond's appearance:

  • Brilliance – The amount of light reflected back from the diamond. Brightness.
  • Scintillation – The "sparkle" of the diamond. The intense flashes of light that are produced.
  • Fire – Created by the diamond's ability to split light. Flashes of color much like rainbow

Using a Round Brilliant as an example, we can see below how depth, for instance, can make or break the reflection of light that will make your piece of Jewelry really stand out.

Ideal cut diamonds will command a premium over their less exact counterparts, but make sure you seriously consider the most important factor, the sparkle in your eye. Our recommendation is to make sure that your Jeweler takes diamond cut into account and works with you to balance other traits so you can get an eye-popping diamond at the right price.

There are many other systems and methods of categorizing diamonds based on their cut or light performance, but they fail to take into account human desire. We like to think a diamond purchase should be based on your particular feelings about any particular stone, rather than a cold mathematical system of grading. We don’t use these qualifications to pick stones, and instead, we actually look at each diamond before we show it to you. In this way, we ensure that you only spend your time looking at diamonds that look great, regardless of grades or measurements.

As a guide, diamond cut can help to separate out the haves from the have nots. What it shouldn't be is the only measurement by which you select your diamond. It may take some time, but with the help of a conscientious jeweler, you can find a diamond in the rough.

If you would like to talk about diamond cut, we are available at (312) 920-0075 or by email. We would love to answer any of your questions and help you find that perfect diamond.