The 4 C:s of Diamond Quality


Each diamond is unique, with specific characteristics that dictate the value of the stone. To obtain a diamond’s value, we use various value factors, also known as the “4 Cs” – Carat Weight, Clarity, Color and Cut.


What does carat mean?

The weight of gemstones and thus diamonds is expressed in carats. One carat is divided into 100 points. The weight of stones above one carat is typically expressed in carat, but stones under one carat are usually expressed in points. The value of a diamond increases with carat weight since a large diamond is more rare than a smaller size diamond. It comes as no surprise that a one-carat diamond is generally more valuable than four 0.25 carat diamonds of the same quality.


The color of a diamond

Diamonds come in all shades but most gem-quality diamonds range from nearly colorless to a light yellow, brown or grey. For a long time, the perfect diamond was considered totally colorless. A colourless diamond is more rare than a slightly yellow diamond, it is also the most wanted color for engagement rings and jewelry. Hence why a colorless diamond is usually more expensive than a yellowish diamond.

Keep in mind, a diamond with a touch of color (E and below) can also feature a tinge of brown and green color. This is not wanted, and it is also not written on the certificate. Always ask your jeweller about this before going ahead with a purchase to make sure you receive a high quality diamond.


What is diamond clarity?

Diamonds most often contain internal inclusions. external inclusions, or both. Typical inclusions in diamonds are graphite, crystals, cleavages and small pinpoints. Inclusions can typically be separated into two groups; white inclusions and black inclusions. Black inclusions are usually easier to detect with the eye, however white inclusions may affect the durability of the diamond. The certificate will give you information about what inclusions your diamond contains.

When grading clarity, there are four factors to take into account: size, position, contrast and number of visible images of the inclusions. A diamond containing many inclusions is naturally more sensitive than a flawless stone. The more inclusions a diamond has, the harder it will be for the light to bounce through the gem and reflect back to the eye the desired brilliance and sparkle.


What does diamond cut mean?

The color and clarity of a diamond refer to the characteristics of the naturlig and rough diamond. In contrast, when grading the cut, it is the diamond cutter’s craftsmanship that is under evaluation. Only a combination of perfect proportions, symmetry and polish achieves maximum refraction and brilliance in gemstones. The cut is often referred as the most important ‘C’ since this is the reason for brilliance – the most sought-after desire when shopping for a diamond.

As such, the cut is more important for the diamond’s appearance than the other Cs. A top quality diamond (D/Flawless) – but with inferior proportions – will be less attractive than a diamond with worse color and clarity but with a perfect cut. The standard grade for a diamond from A.P. Shaps is Excellent in cut, polish and symmetry, the highest and most sought-after grade.

Grading system:
Excellent – Very Good – Good – Fair – Poor

Frequently asked questions

A.P. Shaps believes the Cut is the most important factor when it comes to the brilliance of the diamond. The Cut assures the light can refract with excellence and you can as much brilliance as possible from your diamond. However, it is important to find a good balance between the 4 C:s to get a really nice, quality diamond.

To gain a more accurate value of diamonds, there are other factors to keep in mind in addition to the 4 C:s. These factors provide more detailed information about the diamond’s visual appearance and they also affect the price significantly. These factors are polish, symmetry, fluorescence, luster and bowtie effect.

A diamond with bad clarity features multiple inclusions, something that affects the sparkle and brilliance of the diamond. Inclusions hinder the refraction and return of light, so the more inclusion a diamond contains, the less brilliance it will show. Even though the diamond is ‘eye clean’.

Our standard quality for jewelry our D-E in Color, VS1 in clarity, Excellent Cut, Polish Symmetry, Luster and with None Fluorescence.

Yes. We allow our clients to choose their preferred quality on their diamonds if they want too, however with certain standards. Our diamonds are always graded Excellent in Cut, Polish, Symmetry and luster.

You can choose Color (D-H), Clarity (FL-VS2) and Fluorescence (None-Medium).

It is important since diamond institute tend to grade their diamonds differently from each other. GIA (Gemmological Institute of America) is famous for having the strictest standards, hence why all diamonds sold by A.P. Shaps that beyond 0.30 carat features a diamond certificate issued by the GIA.

Ethical diamonds

Read about the Kimberley Process