Wedding Season is Upon Us! So Learn the 4C's of Diamond Grading

Posted on: June 17, 2013 12:00 pm
Tags: Buying a diamond, Selling your diamond, Selling-buying with confidence

With the prices of Gold, Silver, and Jewelry at all time highs you may be looking for a way to save some money on your next Diamond purchase. Or you may be looking to get the most money for your Diamond because you are selling it or getting a loan on it. At American Trading Company we offer the fairest prices in Cincinnati and Tristate area on buying Diamonds, loaning on Diamonds, and selling of Diamonds.

While you will find that we offer one of the fairest prices in Cincinnati, you may wonder how Diamond prices are determined. Diamonds are a unique commodity. Every Diamond is a little different. But Diamonds are judged on what are called the 4 “C”’s. Which is short for Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Size.


Cut refers to how the diamond is “Cut” or Shaped. Some typical cuts of Diamonds are Round, Emerald Cut, Princess cut, Marquise cut, Pear Cut, and Oval. These are just a few of the Diamond Cuts available. Also each cut can have many different variations of how they are cut. (More facets, less facets etc.) Some shapes are more popular than others. So when buying or selling keep this in mind. For example you may see a 1 carat round stone with the same exact qualities of a 1 carat Heart Shaped Diamond and think they should be the same price. But the Heart Shape is a less popular cut so should be cheaper when buying and also cheaper when selling.


Color of a Diamond can mean a few different things. It can refer to fancy colors such as Blue, Red, Yellow, Pink etc. But for most Diamonds that people look at in most jewelry stores Color is a reference to how “White” a stone is. For the purpose of this article that is also how we will discuss color. Again Diamonds are naturally occurring and as such impurities and gases get stuck in the Diamond as it is formed. This can lead to a Diamond projecting a yellow/brown color to a very white color. The color grading scale uses the Alphabet starting at the letter “D” being the best and “Whitest” color you can get. “Z” color is at the low end of the scale being the worst.


A Diamond is a naturally occurring stone. Because of this Diamonds will have imperfection or flaws such as white feather, carbon spots, or anything else that detracts from the eye appeal of the Diamond.  Diamonds are “graded’ to determine how these “Flaws” affect the diamond. The Clarity Grading Scale for Diamonds is as follows

I – This clarity grade means Included. This means that a diamond is full of imperfections and flaws.  These flaws can be seen by the naked eye. There are two sub grade categories in the “I” grade:  “I1” and “I2” with “I2” being the worst of these two.  An “I1” or “I2” stone is the lowest quality clarity available.

SI – This clarity grade mean Slightly Included. Diamonds of this grade have imperfections and flaws but are much less noticeable than and “I” graded stone. There are two sub grade categories in the   “SI” grade:  “SI1” and “SI2” with “SI2” being the worst of these two.  “SI” stones are good quality stones.

 VS -This clarity grade mean Very Slightly Included. Diamonds of this grade have few imperfections and flaws and are significantly less noticeable than and “I” graded stone. Stones of this grade have to be looked at very closely to find any imperfections. The common person wouldn’t be able to find any Imperfections without a microscope. There are two sub grade categories in the   “VS” grade:  “VS1” and “VS2” with “VS1” being the better of these two.  “VS” stones are superb quality stones.

VVS- This clarity grade mean Very Very Slightly Included. Diamonds of this grade have virtually no flaws but just aren’t quite good enough to be Internally Flawless. There are two sub grade categories in the   “VVS” grade:  “VVS1” and “VVS2” with “VVS1” being the better of these two.  “VVS” stones are good excellent quality stones and very expensive.

IF- Internally Flawless.  A stone of this clarity is very rare and elusive, and as such is the most expensive. The grade says it all. There are no Flaws and Imperfections with the Grade. A stone with this clarity is as good as it gets.

Carat Size

The last of the Four “C”s is Carat Size. Size plays a very important role in pricing as well. Simply a larger diamond is worth more than a smaller diamond. But the amount by which a larger diamond is more than a smaller diamond can be complex. Diamond prices rise exponentially by size. For example: 4 stones that total 1 carat total weight may be worth $100 while a single stone that is 1 carat in size could be worth as much as $3000, simply because the larger a stone is the more rare it is. 

So if you put of these Grading characteristics together, someone may tell you a Diamond is a 1 Carat Princess Cut SI2, G Color and you should be able to get an idea of what quality of stone you have. This is complex enough but there are also many more variations that go into Diamond pricing. However, this article should give you a good start on understanding Diamonds. And remember whether you are buying Diamonds or Selling Diamonds, American Trading Company should be your first stop!