Your next task is to narrow down your diamond search using the 4Cs. Now what is that, you ask? The 4Cs is a system created by the Gemological Institute of America to standardize the way in which diamonds are graded. This classification enables consumers to know exactly what they are buying by breaking down the attributes of a diamond into cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. We already talked a bit about cut, in Buying Diamonds 101 – Part II What You Want to Buy.

It’s likely you won’t be able to evaluate a diamond this way on your own, though. As a result, a certified diamond comes with paperwork—a report card, if you will—grading each of the aforementioned criteria. There are many grading laboratories

A diamond certification from GIA.

certifying diamonds, and the industry understands the difference between them. A GIA-certified diamond will seem more expensive than a diamond graded by American Gem Society (AGS), for example, but that’s because the GIA are known to be tougher graders.

The easiest way to look at the 4Cs system is on a quantity-versus-quality scale. The quantity is the carat weight, and the quality is the cut, clarity, and color. You want a big diamond at a lower cost? You’ll have to go down on the quality scale. You want a colorless diamond with an excellent cut? Slide the scales on the clarity and carat grades up or down to get it into your price range and preferences. You may find that as you explore the diamond options you want, you’ll have to adjust your budget as you begin to have a better understanding of what you are buying.

Now, you just need to decide who to go to for your diamond….


For additional information on the 4Cs, check out the following sites:

The Gemological Institute of America 4Cs

The American Gem Society 4Cs

De Beers Bridal Advice

Blue Nile Diamond Education

Jared Diamond Education


Read on: Buying Diamonds 101 – Part IV: Who to Buy From

Go back: Buying Diamonds 101 – Part I: An Introduction

Go back: Buying Diamonds 101 – Part II: What You Want to Buy


Bye for now,
Alicia Gardner Kozikowski, G.G.