diamond guide

The 4Cs—cut, color, clarity and carat weight—are the characteristics that define the unique beauty and value of your diamond.

cut

Cut refers not only to a diamond's shape, but more importantly to its proportions. A well-proportioned diamond brings out the maximum beauty. Diamonds cut too deep or shallow lose light through the side or bottom, resulting in loss of brilliance.

proportions

  • Image of a diamond with too deep a cut

    Deep Cut

  • Image of a diaomnd with too shallow a cut.

    Shallow Cut

  • Image of a diamond whose cut is well-proportioned.

    Well-proportioned

shape

  • Image of a round diamond.

    Round

  • Image of princess cut diamond.

    Princess

  • Image of a marquise cut diamond.

    Marquise

  • Image of an oval cut diamond.

    Oval

  • Image of a pear cut diamond.

    Pear

  • Image of an emerald cut diamond.

    Emerald

  • Image of a heart cut diamond.

    Heart

Learn Image od light being refracted in a diamond due to an inclusion.

clarity

Clarity is the degree to which a diamond is free from inclusions and blemishes, which can hinder the light as it passes though your diamond.

Like people, diamonds have natural "birthmarks" that vary in size, shape, position, quantity and color.

These birthmarks, or inclusions and blemishes, are formed deep in the earth during the diamond's growth. Blemishes can also result from the diamond cutting process.

Diamonds are graded using 10x magnification.

  • diagram of an included diamond.

    VVS1–VVS2
    Very, Very Slightly Included

  • diagram of an included diamond.

    VS1–VS2
    Very Slightly Included

  • diagram of an included diamond.

    S1–S2
    Slightly Included

  • diagram of an included diamond.

    I1
    Included, Grade 1

  • diagram of an included diamond.

    I2
    Included, Grade 2

  • diagram of an included diamond.

    I3
    Included, Grade 3

Learn

color

Fancy color diamonds aside, the best, most beautiful color for a diamond is no color at all. The Gemological Institute of America has created a scale to measure diamond color, ranging from D (colorless) to Z (yellow). Fancy color diamonds are graded Z and higher. Kay Diamond Bridal Rings are all graded near colorless or better.

DEF

GHIJ

KLM

NOPQR

STUVWXYZ

colorless

near
colorless

faint
yellow

very light
yellow

light
yellow


Learn

carat weight

Diamonds are weighed in units called carats. A carat is measured in increments called points. One carat is equal to 100 points. Carat weight is the easiest of the 4Cs to determine because it is measured on a diamond scale. But two diamonds of equal weight can have very unequal values depending upon the cut, color and clarity of each.
Diamond weight chart

Note: The carat weight images shown above are only a guide. Variations in monitors will affect the actual size of the diamond.

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Sterling Inc., Jewelers - Retail, Akron, OH