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The Four C’s of Diamond Solitaires (and how to use them to your advantage)

By Alexandra Gulkin Subscribe to RSS | June 11th 2012 | Views:

Practically everyone is familiar with the four C’s of diamond solitaires. But, while most of us are aware of these important diamond characteristics, very few of us know what these qualities actually mean in the grand scheme of diamond quality vs. value. Here’s a little cheat sheet to help you make a wise choice.

What Are the Four C’s?

For those of you who are unfamiliar (don’t be embarrassed – there’s a lot to know in the mysterious world of diamonds,) the four C’s stand for cut, color, clarity and carats. Even for those who are familiar with these diamond characteristics, there is a lot more to know than just “terminology” if you want to use this knowledge to your advantage when searching for the best value in diamond solitaires. Let’s break it down here…


The cut of a diamond is basically its shape. Now, you’re probably familiar with the various shapes of diamond solitaires in the form of “princess cut,” “marquis cut,” “round cut,” etc. But there are also different grades of diamond cuts within the respective categories of shape. A cut graded “excellent” or “ideal” are the best quality, and, even if you opt for lesser qualities on some of the other diamond characteristics, it’s important to remember that the particular cut of the diamond is the single most determinate factor regarding a diamond’s release of its inherent brilliance.


Loose diamonds range in color from “colorless” to “yellow,” with a variety of grades in between. Colorless is obviously the most desirable, but for the best value in diamond solitaires engagement rings, a rating of “near colorless” often appears just as brilliant to the naked eye, yet this diamond can cost significantly less.


As far as clarity is concerned, the major consideration from a gemologist’s perspective is internal flaws, also known as “inclusions.” Occasionally a diamond will have external blemishes, as well. These can be problematic if you can see them without the benefit of the gemologist’s 10X magnification. Otherwise these blemishes are of little concern, as are most inclusions common to loose diamonds of any significant size. Flawless diamonds are very rare and, therefore, very expensive. A diamond with slight inclusions costs considerably less, with little-to-no sacrifice to the stone’s brilliance.


While the first thought is to go for the biggest diamond your money can buy, there are a few things to consider when it comes to getting the best deal on diamond solitaires engagement rings. Big diamonds are expensive: it’s a fact. But the same carat weight of smaller diamonds costs much less. Sometimes a smaller solitaire surrounded by diamond accents is the best option for getting the most “bling” for your buck.

Ultimately, the “perfect” diamond solitaires will be determined by a combination of your personal preferences and your budget. Keep these tips in mind as you shop, however, to ensure you’re getting the most for your money.

Alexandra Gulkin - About Author:
Alexandra Gulkin is a reporter, writer and columnist in the jewelry industry. She is celebrated for her real-time coverage of trade shows, jewelry trends in solitaires diamond engagement rings, gemstones, events and secrets on where to find the highest quality diamond engagement rings.

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