The 4Cs of Diamonds: A Complete Guide

Most people are aware that diamonds are forever. In fact, most diamonds on Earth are millions or billions of years old already. However, many don’t realize that this simple fact plays a huge part in the diamond-buying experience. Any diamond you buy is a purchase that will last a lifetime, so you need to make sure the diamond is something you truly want. 

This is why knowing and understanding diamonds is essential before purchasing one. This process starts with understanding the 4Cs. 

Understanding how cut, color, clarity, and carat impact the look of a diamond will help you make a better decision. This will prevent your diamond purchase from becoming something you will regret down the road. Read on to find out more!

Related: A Guide To Antique Diamonds


A diamond starts as an ordinary stone and is not that attractive initially. This is where the phrase “a diamond in the rough” originates, as uncut and unpolished diamonds are not particularly striking. 

However, this initially rough-looking stone is then shaped into something better. To do so, the stone needs to be cut in a precise and exact way. Otherwise, it is still just a rock. Once properly cut, the resulting gemstone is brilliant and works as a piece of jewelry. 

Cut is a measure of how perfectly the diamond is cut. A quality diamond is cut in a way that emphasizes the gem’s ability to shine and dazzle in the light. So, in a way, cut is a measure of the craftsmanship that went into creating the diamond. 

When it comes to the 4Cs, cut is one of the most important. How a diamond is cut will impact how light passes through the diamond, which will impact how it looks. All of this impacts the diamond’s ability to demonstrate the other Cs. So, a diamond may have the perfect color and clarity, but it will not look as nice if it doesn’t have the perfect cut. 

This is why craftsmanship is important. If this level of craftsmanship behind a diamond is high, then it will have all of the qualities you expect from a beautiful diamond. However, if the level of craftsmanship is low, then it will be noticeably worse. 


Color is a little more straightforward and easy to understand than cut. Color refers to the hue the diamond takes on. It measures what color you see when looking at the diamond. 

Diamonds are natural stones created through intense geological processes. Because of this, they are not often completely clear. Instead, most diamonds take on a yellow or brown tint to them. In most diamonds used for jewelry, this tint is not immediately obvious but will be noticeable upon examination. 

However, colorless diamonds also exist. These diamonds are extremely rare and do not naturally occur as often as other diamonds. Upon inspection, these diamonds will not show the hues that are present in other diamonds. 

Colorless diamonds are the most desirable. Instead of taking on a hue, they have the crystal clear image that one imagines when thinking of a diamond. Because of their rarity, they are also the most expensive. 

Some diamonds exist outside of the traditional color spectrum. Some diamonds exhibit blue, red, or other hues. These are often desirable for their unique hues and, thus, are not graded in the same way. These kinds of diamonds are called fancy color diamonds and have a range of unique positives and negatives. 

Looking for a gem that’s not colorless but still stunning? At LaCkore Couture, we have a piece you’ll love! Take a look at our new arrivals!


Closeup of six diamonds



As already mentioned, diamonds are created by nature in a process that is not exact. This involves explosions, impacts, high temperatures, and other intense and unpredictable processes. In some cases, diamonds trap fragments of geology from millions of years ago and are even used by scientists to examine geological conditions from the past. 

Because of this unpredictability, many diamonds have small flaws that are naturally created within the stone. These internal flaws are referred to as inclusions. 

Inclusions often appear as small spots or cracks within the diamond. Imagine a glass of water left outside to freeze in the winter. There is a high chance that dust or debris will fall into the water as it was left out. These contaminants will still be present in the ice that forms from the frozen water and will be visible in it. Contaminants locked and floating in a block of ice are similar to inclusions locked within a diamond. In both cases, they disrupt what would otherwise be a perfectly clear object. 

Clarity is essentially a measure of any of these flaws. A diamond with more flaws is less clear than a diamond with minimal flaws. These fall on a scale that ranges from “flawless” to “included.” Flawless diamonds are free of flaws, while included diamonds have an unfortunately large amount of flaws. 

Ideally, a diamond should be as clear as possible. Diamonds will be far more desirable if they are flawless or close to flawless. 

Related: Your Diamond Shape: What It Says About You


Outside of cut, carat has the biggest impact on the appearance of a diamond. This is because carat is a measure of a diamond’s weight. A diamond with more carats is larger than a diamond with fewer carats. 

Carat has such a dramatic impact because the size of a diamond is one of the first things anyone notices about a diamond. A larger diamond is obviously more noticeable. Whether as the centerpiece of an engagement ring or as the main stone on a set of earrings, a larger diamond is more striking and makes the jewelry appear more impressive. Meanwhile, a smaller diamond makes a less dramatic impression. 

Larger diamonds are also rare. In some cases, this rarity gives them more prestige and makes an already impressive gemstone even more impressive. However, this rarity also drives up the price. Because of this, a larger diamond will obviously cost more than a smaller diamond. 

In addition, carat is influenced by the other Cs on this list. Large diamonds are rare already. Large diamonds that have a perfect color and are perfectly clear are even rarer. So, as a diamond gets larger, the chance that it will have other problems rises. This is why diamonds that are large and perfect are so valuable. 

Related: The Differences Between The Round Brilliant Cut And The Old European Cut


Round diamond between tweezers


The 4Cs of Diamonds


Cut, color, clarity, and carat all greatly impact the appearance of a diamond. These factors must be considered and balanced against each other by anyone looking to purchase a diamond. Doing so will allow you to make the right choice and obtain the diamond you need. 

Diamonds aren’t the only beautiful stones for jewelry. Check out our best-selling precious and semi-precious gem jewelry!