The 4C's


Learn about the criteria that make up for the quality and price of a diamond. Those famous attributes, also known as the 4Cs, are: Carat, cut, clarity and color.

If you are informing yourself about the 4Cs, you may be interested in buying your own diamond. This article will explain all the information you need concerning the quality attributes that determine the price of a diamond and give you buying tips along the way.

NOTE: The 4Cs are grades attributed to a diamond by gemstones certification institutes such as the Gemological Institute of America (hereafter the GIA). We recommend never buying a diamond without any proper certification.

MORE: Why do I need a diamond certificate?

Overview of the 4C's

The 4C



Weight and size


Shape und cut quality

Excellent - Poor

Absence of carbon inclusions

F (flawless) - I (included)

Absence of a yellow tint

D - Z

1. Carat

“Carat” stands for the weight of a diamond. A one-carat stone weighs 0,2 grams.

  • Carat vs diamond size

People tend to believe that “carat” actually has to do with size and not with weight. Of course, this assertion is not totally wrong - the heavier the stone, the bigger will the stone be.

Have a look below at our table to see how the carat weight impacts the diameter of a diamond and how different carat weights actually look on the hand.

Carat vs dia size

You can also try our ring configurator to see what a ring looks like with different carat weights!

Ring configurator
  • Carat vs Price

A common assumption is to say that prices have an exponential relationship with carat sizes. This is not always true.

Two diamonds can have the same size but have drastic price differences! This is because the "carat" is only one of the many criteria that determine a diamond´s price.

  • Which carat weight should you go for?

For some women, the bigger the stone, the better. For others, the overall quality of the stone is what matters the most. Deciding which carat weight is entirely up to you and your budget.

MORE: How much should you spend on an engagement ring?

  • How to make your diamond look bigger?

You can make your diamond look much bigger by choosing a ring model with a "halo". Below, you can see how a one-carat diamond looks like with and without a halo.

DISCOVER: Our Engagement Rings with a "halo"

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2. Cut

The “cut” of a diamond greatly affects a diamond's brilliance and fire.

  • Cut vs Shape?

The diamond cut has nothing to do with the diamond shape.

The shape refers to the actual form a diamond was cut into (round, emerald, pear, oval, etc...) while the cut refers to how well a diamond was cut.

MORE: Learn more about the different diamond shapes, which shape is the cheapest, and which diamond shape will compliment your hand best!

  • How is the cut measured?

To evaluate the cut, diamond experts look at:

  1. How much brightness, fire, and scintillation to stone offers;
  2. How well the diamond was designed to ensure durability and optimal carat weight;
  3. How well aligned and polished the diamond's facets are.

Based on their observations the GIA will attribute a cut grade to each diamond.

  • The GIA cut scale

The GIA cut scale ranges from excellent to very good, good, fair, and poor.

Diamond cut
  • Which cut should you go for?

The cut is an important criterion which you should not overlook. While excellent is obviously the best cut grade you can go for, “excellent cut” diamonds are obviously way more expensive than poorly cut diamonds.

EXPERT TIP: We recommend going for an excellent, very good or good cut diamond. But try avoiding fair and poorly cut diamonds as this will greatly affect the brilliance and shine of your diamond.

3. Clarity

The “clarity” of a diamond refers to the imperfections a diamond bears.

  • Why does a diamond have imperfections?

Diamonds consist of only a single element, which is carbon. Intense heat and pressure over a long time turn the carbon molecules into a diamond. However, every diamond contains unique internal or external “birthmarks”, called inclusions (internal) and blemishes (external).

It is the inclusions and blemishes that make a diamond truly unique and unmistakable. Some diamonds come close to perfect, but most jewelers have never seen one.

  • The GIA clarity scale

The diamond's clarity, which measures the absence of inclusions and blemishes, is described by terms like FL (Flawless) for diamonds with no visible inclusions under 10x magnification, VVS for very slightly included, or I for inclusions that are visible under the magnifying glass and may affect transparency and brilliance.

Clarity grades
  • Which clarity grade should you go for?

While FL (Flawless) is the least included, purest diamond, it is also the most expensive.

EXPERT TIP: We recommend VS1 or higher to have a perfectly pure looking diamond to the naked eye. VS2 is also fine, but we do not suggest going lower, or inclusions will start becoming visible.

4. Color

The “color” of a diamond measures how white a diamond is.

  • What is the GIA color scale?

The color scale of a diamond ranges from the letter D to Z. D colored stones are absolutely colorless, and therefore very white, while Z colored diamonds have a light yellow or brown tint.

Diamond color grades
  • Which color should you go for?

While D is definitely the most sought after color for a diamond, they are also the more expensive. We suggest choosing G, H, or I diamonds as they will look just as white to the naked eye.

  • How can you make your diamond appear whiter?

A diamond with a slight yellow tint will appear much whiter, by way of contrast, if set in a pink or yellow gold ring. Remember this tip if you ever decide to go for a J to Z-colored diamond!

MORE: Choosing the right gold color for your engagement ring

Choose your own diamond!

At My Diamond Ring, you can configure your own engagement ring by choosing your diamond. We offer more than 5000 diamonds in different qualities and price ranges, in order for you to find the diamond that meets your expectations and budget.

LEARN MORE: How to configure your engagement ring in 3 simple steps

LEARN MORE: Diamond Buying Guide - All the tutorials you need to find the perfect diamond!

No matter what you choose, the important thing is that you like the diamond. All diamonds we offer are GIA certified and have been mined under the conditions of the Kimberley Agreement. This guarantees an ethical supply and production chain and prohibits trade with conflict regions worldwide.