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Diamond Grading: The 4 C's


The 4 C's are: colour, clarity, cutting proportions (finish) and carat weight. All four components are equally important in determining the final value of a diamond. The criterion for diamond grading was developed by the Gemmological Institute of America (the G.I.A.) during the 1950's. The following terminology and systems described are those of the G.I.A.

Colour Grading
The colour of a diamond refers to the relative amount of yellow, brown or gray body colour that a stone possesses. The G.I.A. scale starts at "D" and goes through "Z", with "D" being void of any body colour, and "Z" having a light yellow, brown or gray color.

Clarity Grading
Clarity grading of diamonds is defined by visual observation by a professional with the aid of a 10x loupe or the naked eye.

The most used system is the GIA system of clarity grading.

Main Grade Subgrade Short grade explanation
Loupe clean FL Flawless Internally and externally flawless when examined with a 10X loupe Eye Clean
IF Internally flawless Internally flawless
VVS VVS 1 Very very small inclusions Very, very small inclusions are visible when examined with a 10X loupe. Examples: bearding on the girdle, light coloured tiny dots, and blow marks. Closer to IF than to VS.
VVS 2 Very very small inclusions Very, very small inclusions are visible when examined with a 10X loupe. Examples: bearding on the girdle, light coloured tiny dots, and blow marks. Closer to VS than to IF.
VS VS 1 Very small inclusions Very small inclusions that are difficult to see. Example: small light coloured clouds, bearding on the girdle, and crystal inclusions slightly larger than a dot. Inclusions should be light coloured, but very small dark coloured inclusions are allowed around the girdle. Closer to VVS than to SI.
VS 2 Very small inclusions Very small inclusions that are difficult to see. Example: small light coloured clouds, bearding on the girdle, and crystal inclusions slightly larger than a dot. Inclusions should be light coloured, but very small dark coloured inclusions are allowed around the girdle. Closer to SI than to VVS.
SI SI 1 Small inclusions Small inclusions are easily observed with a 10X loupe. Inclusions under the table should be light coloured, dark inclusions may occur around the edge. Fractures, nicks, and naturals are also a part of this clarity grade. Closer to VS than to I.
SI 2 Small inclusions Small inclusions are easily observed with a 10X loupe. Inclusions under the table should be light coloured, dark inclusions may occur around the edge. Fractures, nicks, and naturals are also a part of this clarity grade. Closer to I than to VS.
I I 1 Inclusions When viewed with a 10X loupe several inclusions are visible but do not diminish the brilliance of the stone. When viewed with the naked eye, the inclusions are discernible with difficulty. Example: large coloured inclusions, large cleavages, and clouds. Eye Visible
I 2 Inclusions When viewed with the naked eye, large and/or numerous inclusions can be seen and may diminish the brilliance of the stone. Example: dark inclusions, numerous light coloured features, large cleavages.
I 3 Inclusions When viewed with the naked eye, large and/or numerous inclusions are easily visible and greatly diminish the brilliance of the stone. Overall dark and/or dead stone.


Cut: Proportion Analysis
Coming soon...

Carat Weight
Carat is a unit of internationally recognized metric weight, and does not refer to size. There are 5 carats in a gram. The weight of a diamond is measured in carats. A carat is divided into 100 parts, each called a point. Each point weighs 2 milligrams.