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The Four most popular factors used to measure diamond quality are:

Color: Degree to which a diamond is colorless
Diamond Clarity: Presence of inclusions in a diamond
Diamond Carat: Weight of a diamond
Diamond Cut: Angles and proportions of a diamond


(The color used in this diagram is for presentation purposes and is not actual color.) Many experts name color as the number one consideration in choosing a diamond. A diamond's color is graded on an alphabetical scale from D-Z, with D being absolutely colorless and Z being light yellow. Beyond "Z", a diamond is considered to be an exotic or "Fancy" color.

Most diamonds appear colorless but actually have slight tones of yellow or brown. The closer the stone comes to colorless, the more valuable it is. Diamonds are graded on a color scale ranging from D (colorless) to Z (heavily tinted.) Only a highly skilled professional will detect any color in E or F stones, and the color in diamonds rated up to J will be virtually invisible when set in a ring or other jewelry.
Color is only one of the four C's so even when a stone has a visible tint, such as K or above.
Diamonds also come in a wide variety of other colors, including red, blue, green and a bright yellow known as "canary." These are graded as Z+ and are known as "fancy" diamonds. Ones with good color are very rare and can sell for much more per carat than white diamonds.
Since color differences can be so subtle, they are impossible to determine by the untrained eye. To grade a diamond, gemologists often place it on a white background next to another diamond that has been previously graded.

If all other factors are equal, the less color in a diamond or the higher color rating, the more valuable a diamond becomes. Likewise, as the amount of color increases, the price of a diamond decreases (though this does not necessarily reduce the beauty of a diamond.)


The clarity of a diamond refers to how clear, or "clean" the diamond is. The more "clean" the diamond, the higher the price. Most diamonds have "imperfections" in them. The clarity scale is a measure of the severity of those imperfections or "inclusions" as it is known in the trade.
For example, a deep break in a diamond which is not that visible when you look at the stone face-up, could sometimes have a greater impact on the clarity of a stone, than a small black crystal which you can see very clearly face-up.

Flawless Diamonds reveal no flaws on the surface or internally are the rarest and most beautiful gems. Internally Flawless Diamonds reveal no inclusions and only insignificant blemishes on the surface under 10 x magnifications.

Very difficult to see inclusions under 10x magnification. These are excellent quality diamonds.

Only looking through a 10X loupe can pinpoint the inclusions in this category and are nearly impossible to see with the naked eye. These are less expensive than the VVS1 or VVS2 grades.

Diamonds with inclusions easily identified under 10x magnification. Finding flaws in this category with the naked eye is difficult. The gems in this category maintain their integrity, depending on the location of the inclusions.

Diamonds with inclusions which may or may not be easily seen by the naked eye. The flaws on the stones in
this category will have some effect on the brilliance of your diamond.

(Diagram is not to scale)

Carat is often confused with size even though it is a measure of weight. The cut of a diamond can make it appear larger or smaller than its actual weight.
One carat is the equivalent of 200 milligrams. One carat can be divided into 100 "points". A .75 carat diamond is the same as 75 points or a 3/4 carat diamond. Since larger diamonds are rarer than smaller diamonds, the value rises exponentially with carat weight.