Purchasing a Diamond Ring: The Four C's

If you're looking to purchase an engagement or diamond ring, it's important to know a high or poor quality diamond when you see one.

Diamond rings often have a string of numbers and letters attached to them, which can be a bit daunting. Learning about the Four C's can be a useful guide to understanding the properties of each diamond - and can help to make your decision-making process fun, easy and stress-free.

What are the Four C's? Here's a brief description...

1. Colour

Or rather, the absence of colour. A perfect diamond is like pure water - it has no hue. The scale begins with the letter D, representing colourless (the best colour grade), and continues, with increasing presence of colour, to the letter Z. At Benjamin Black Goldsmiths we usually recommend purchasing a diamond within the D-H range.

2. Clarity

Diamond clarity refers to the absence of inclusions and blemishes. Natural diamonds are the result of carbon exposed to extreme heat and pressure deep in the earth. This process can result in a variety of internal characteristics called 'inclusions' and external characteristics called 'blemishes'.

The clarity scale is divided into 6 sections:

  • Flawless (FL)
    No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification
  • Internally Flawless (IF)
    No inclusions visible under 10x magnification
  • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2)
    Inclusions so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2)
    Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterised as minor
  • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2)
    Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification
  • Included (I1, I2, and I3)
    Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance

3. Cut

Diamonds are known for their sparkle and brilliance. It is the cut grade of a diamond which determines the ability for its facets to interact with light.

The grading for the cut of a diamond varies from Excellent through to Poor. We recommend purchasing a diamond graded as Excellent, Very Good or Good, if budget allows.

4. Carat

This is the weight of a diamond measured in carats. One carat is divided into 100 points, therefore a diamond of 75 points weighs .75 carats. The carat weight of a diamond is the easiest measurement to determine.

Although a diamond may be high in carats, the quality might be poorer (and therefore less valuable) than a smaller diamond, due to its cut, clarity and colour.

Now you know more about the Four C's, you can go about searching for the perfect diamond ring - to view our selection, or to speak with us about crafting a custom ring for you, please get in touch with our design team - we'd love to hear from you.