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Diamonds 101: The Four C’s

When shopping for a diamond, use the four C’s to help you select a diamond that meets your needs and your budget.

Cut: Cut is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a diamond. The cut affects the diamond’s sparkle, and the sparkle is one of the reason diamonds are so beloved. A diamond that is not cut well will often still look dull despite good color and clarity.

There are five diamond cuts: ideal, very good, good, fair, and poor. An ideal cut diamond is the highest caliber of cut, and often carries a higher price tag than diamonds of other cuts. A good or very good cut is still attractive, and usually is considered the best value.

Color: Most people assume that all diamonds are clear in color, but that is not the case. Colorless diamonds are very rare, and therefore valuable and expensive.

The color of diamonds is graded on a scale of D to Z. A diamond with a grade of D is a colorless diamond. A grade of D to J is considered good, with grades G-J being the best values. These diamonds are frequently less expensive than higher color grades but still are nearly colorless.

A diamond grade lower than L will have yellow tones ranging from a faint to light yellow. Many jewelry stores do not carry diamonds with a color grade higher than J because of the unpleasant yellow tones they may carry.

Clarity: The clarity of a diamond refers to its purity, or lack of inclusions (flaws). Diamond clarity is graded on a scale that ranges from FL-IF (flawless), to I2-3 (noticeable and unattractive inclusions).

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