Diamonds are graded and priced according to what is universally referred to as the “4Cs”. They are Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat Weight.
There’s no answer to the question, “which is ‘C’ the most important one?” It is a personal preference. All four factors must be considered, and then you must then decide what is most important to you. For example you may have to choose a lower Carat weight in order to find a diamond with better Clarity for the budget you’ve set. Or you may decide to trade a slightly lower Color grade in order to get a stone with a better Cut, etc. Excluding carat weight as a factor, the highest quality attainable in a diamond is a “D” color, IF (internally flawless) clarity stone that is Ideal Cut, meaning it gives off the maximum amount of fire and brilliance. You have to decide, based on your budget, how close to this ideal you wish to come.
How a diamond’s Carat weight affects its value
The carat weight of a diamond is an extremely important determining factor in its value. Diamonds are valued on a per-carat basis. For example, a diamond of exceptionally high quality may sell for $20,000 per carat, while one of lesser quality may sell for $1,000 per carat. So, a three-carat stone could be $60,000 or $3,000, depending on its per-carat price. Diamond values also increase disproportionately as the size of the stone increases. For example, a two-carat stone will not necessarily cost twice per carat than a one-carat stone. It could cost much more, like three times. This is due to the fact that diamonds are more rare in larger sizes, so increases in size can mean disproportionate increases in value. As you take a stone of a particular cut, clarity and color and move its carat weight to the next price category, you may see quite a large increase in the price per carat. This jump gets proportionately larger as the number of carats increases.
How a diamond’s Cut affects its value
A diamond’s cut is a complicated evaluation based on many factors, including depth and table percentages, girdle thickness, crown angles, etc. A diamond’s shape can also affect its value, although usually to a lesser degree than its cut does. The reason for price differences between stones of comparable quality and size is primarily due to their supply and demand at a particular time, as well as the cost of the specialized labor skills needed to cut more intricate, fancy shapes. It is also less time consuming to cut, measure and select small round-shaped diamonds than small diamonds of more complicated shapes.
How a diamond’s Color affects its value
A diamond’s color also has a great impact on its cost. Since ‘‘colorlessness’’ is the most sought-after trait in terms of color, diamonds that are higher up on the color scale (e.g. D, E, F) will have a greater value. If a diamond with a specific cut, clarity and carat weight is moved to the next color grade, it’s possible to see a significant increase or decrease in the per-carat price, assuming all of the other factors are equal.
How a diamond’s Clarity affects its value
Since clarity, or the measure of imperfections or blemishes in a diamond, is so critical, it will of course result in price differences. If a diamond of a particular cut, color and carat weight is moved to the next clarity grade, it’s possible to see a significant increase or decrease in the per-carat price, assuming all of the other factors are equal.
DIAMONDS - THE 4 C'S