The 4 C's: Where To Compromise

Some of you may already be familiar with the 4 C’s of diamonds: Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat. However, not everyone can afford a diamond that meets perfection in the majority of these categories. We’re here to explain a few places where you can compromise or cut some corners in order to find a perfect diamond for your personal budget.

Photo Credit: GIA

Cut: The cut of a diamond is graded as an average of seven components that all add up to create a diamonds fire and sparkle. On a scale from Excellent to Poor, you typically want to be in the Excellent to Very Good range simply because cut majorly effects the overall face-up appearance of the diamond. Given this fact, cut isn’t something you want to compromise too much on outside of that range.

Diamond Cut

Clarity: Clarity is one of the top categories that you have potential to save some money in. Clarity is graded on a scale from Internally Flawless (IF) down to Included (I1-I3). Typically, we work with diamonds that range from VS2 to SI2, right in the middle of the clarity grade range. It’s within that range that you’re able to save a lot of money without sacrificing having a beautiful stone. Often times you’ll have a diamond that may be graded within the Slightly Included (SI) category, but to the common eye it appears to be Very Slightly (VS) or even Very Very Slightly (VVS) included. Many diamond graders will tell you they would rather sacrifice clarity for a better color grade, but it’s really up to you and what you think your loved one would prefer.

Diamond Clarity

Color: The color grade of a diamond is something that many people differ in thought about when it comes to being a point of compromise. As for myself, I stand on the side of sacrificing clarity in order to have a higher color grade in the stone, but some people don’t mind a little color in their stone if it means they can have a diamond clean of clarity characteristics. Diamonds are graded on a scale of D-Z. D, E, and F are all grades applied to colorless stones, while G-J are near colorless. Many of our stones range from E-H, with some falling below those letter grades. It is worth mentioning though that some diamonds may be given a grade within the Near Colorless range, but they contain a colored inclusion that affects the face-up appearance of the diamonds color. So this is a big reason why diamonds really should be seen in person before committing to a purchase, because no matter what the grade you really won’t know how a diamonds truly looks until it’s in front of you.

Diamond Color

Carat: What carat stands for is the weight of the stone, i.e. 1 Carat, 2 Carat, 1.5 Carats, etc. As a diamonds carat weight increases, so does the price of that stone. Therefor, choosing a diamond carat weight is something that really depends on your personal budget and preference. If you’re wanting a much bigger look for your engagement ring, you’re most likely going to need to sacrifice a lower grade within the other categories of the 4 C’s and visa versa. There is also a term called “magic numbers”, which is where a diamonds price can jump dramatically as it hits one of those numbers (0.90, 1.00, 1.50, 2.00, 3.00, etc.)

Diamond Carat Weight