What are the diamond 4C's?

A diamond's worth gets determined in a different way than that of gold. The worth of the diamond is based on 4 factors. These factors are referred to as the 4 C's, which describe the unique character of each diamond. These 4 C's stand for: Carat, Color, Clarity and Cut and determine the quality of the diamond. All of these characteristics are necessary to identify the gemstone. At Bulwik you get a certificate of HRD Antwerp (Hoge Raad voor Diamant Antwerpen) or GIA (Gemilogical Institute of America) for all diamonds larger than 0.30 carat. In this certificate the diamond is described by these 4 characteristics.

diamond 4C's, carat weights

The size of the diamond is expressed in 'carat'. 1 Carat is 0.2 grams. The weight is rounded to 2 decimals. A half carat (0.50 crt) is therefore equal to 0.10 grams. Conversely, 1 gram is equal to 5.00 carat. The higher the carat weight, the more unique the diamond and therefore the higher the price. The carat weight of a diamond has a symbolic meaning. With the naked eye, there's almost no difference between a diamond of 0.99 Ct and a diamond of 1.01 Ct, and yet the price of the 1.01Ct will be considerably higher. The price difference can be explained by the "magic sizes". The magical sizes are rounded numbers such as: a half carat, one carat, one and a half carat, ... Once the weight of the diamond is greater than the magical size, it is worth more. That is why 1.01 crt is worth more than 0.99 crt and also 0.50 crt worth more than 0.49 crt.

diamond 4C's, colours

The correct color of a diamond is determined on the basis of an internationally accepted color scale. The colors are arranged alphabetically starting with D (white) and ending with Z (yellow). To determine the color, one can use a color scanner or a master set to compare with. A diamond may also have other colors such as brown, orange, pink, blue etc. The most intense of these shades of color are named "Fancy" and are mentioned on the certificate. These colored diamonds are extremely rare and therefore have a much higher price.

diamond 4C's, clarity

To determine the purity or clarity of a diamond, we use a 10x magnifying lens. Most diamonds are formed with impurities that we can observe with the magnifier. These impurities block the light that passes through the diamond. The more light the diamond can go, the more beautiful it will shine. A diamond with good purity can therefore shine better. Diamonds are used in jewelry because they shimmer harder than any other gems. The clarity of the diamond can be influenced by two kinds of impurities(flaws): External impurities - impurities on the surface caused by wear. Internal impurities - impurities that are located inside the stone. The most common are:

  • - Spots (black or dark): dark spots that arise in the diamond
  • - Clouds: Microscopic veils that weaken the brightness
  • - Feather (plumes / fractures): the most common impurities, they arise in the stones from a molecular break in the carbon structure of the diamond
diamond 4C's, cut

The cut is an important characteristic of a diamond. It is the element that makes the diamond sparkle and shine. The cut shape refers to the proportions, the symmetry and the shine of a diamond. When the diamond is too deep or too shallow, light will escape through the sides and the bottom of the gemstone. In a well-cut diamond almost all the light will come through the crown. The sharpened shape, as the name says, also points to the shape of a diamond. Other shapes than the standard brilliant (round) cut are called fancy shapes. The best-known forms are princes, marquise, oval, heart, pear, emerald and cushion.

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