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The Four C’s: How We Talk About Carat, Cut, Clarity, and Color


When it comes to diamond shopping, it’s easy to get intimidated by the many factors that go into making a decision.

However, with a little education on the different characteristics that make each diamond unique, finding “the one” isn’t so complicated! It’s all about deciding what is most important to you for your diamond engagement ring. To help you understand the ways diamonds are graded and categorized, we’ve pulled together a brief guide on the four C’s: Carat, Cut, Clarity, and Color.


Carat weight is often the first thing new diamond buyers look at, but it shouldn’t be the only factor considered when comparing diamonds! A carat is the unit used to measure a diamond’s weight. One carat equals 200 milligrams or 0.2 grams. Although the carat weight and size of a diamond are related, the carat does not directly measure diamond size. Different diamond shapes of the same carat weight will appear to be different sizes, since different shapes carry carat weight differently. For example, the elongated shape of oval diamonds can make them appear larger than round diamonds of the same weight.


Other than size and shape, nothing will affect your diamond’s overall appearance more than its cut. The cut of a diamond refers not to its shape, but to the balance of proportion, symmetry and polish achieved by the diamond cutter. The extent of how well a diamond is cut is directly related to its overall beauty. When a diamond has been correctly cut, the diamond’s ability to reflect and refract light is greatly enhanced. Brilliant Earth diamonds cuts are rated in the following order: Fair, Good, Very Good, Ideal, and Super Ideal. See our diamond cut chart.


A diamond’s clarity refers to the presence of natural microscopic characteristics on and within the stone. Internal characteristics are considered “inclusions”, and characteristics on the surface of the gem are known as “blemishes”. When a rough stone is extracted from carbon deep beneath the earth, tiny traces of natural elements are almost always trapped inside When gemologists inspect diamonds for clarity, they use a maximum of 10x magnification and only judge the diamond face up. If an inclusion is not visible when the diamond is viewed from the top, then it cannot be used in determining the clarity grade. Our diamond clarity is rated on a scale ranging in order: SI2, SI1, VS2, VS1, VVS2, IF, and FL. See our diamond clarity chart.


Color is one of the most misunderstood diamond characteristics, with a common misconception being that near-colorless diamonds will not be as beautiful and sparkling as colorless diamonds. This absolutely isn’t true! Color refers to the natural color visible in a diamond that does not change over time. Colorless diamonds are icy white and look gorgeous set against cool white gold or platinum bands. However, some people prefer a slightly colored diamond to match the warm tones of yellow gold or rose gold ring settings. Purchasing a near-colorless diamond over a colorless diamond can also drastically reduce a diamond’s price. Brilliant Earth diamonds are color graded on a scale in order: J, I, H, G, F, E, and D. See our diamond color chart.

Naturally mined and lab-created diamonds can also come in almost every color of the rainbow! Yellows, pinks, and blues are especially popular and look beautiful in solitaire settings or set alongside other diamond accents. Compared to other colored gemstones, diamonds are the hardest on the Mohs Hardness Scale (the way gemstones are measured based on their resistance to scratching, chipping, or other abrasions), making them the a great choice for pieces like engagement and wedding rings.

Final Thoughts

Interested in learning more or comparing diamonds in person? We recommend making an appointment at one of our showrooms to get a personalized consultation with one of our jewelry specialists! You can book an appointment at the showroom nearest you directly on our website here: Our Showrooms.

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Comments (1)

B. Earth Says:
November 14th, 2019 at 6:35 pm

Hi Donnie, we have multiple showrooms across the US. You can learn more about our showrooms and book your visit here: ( Thanks for reaching out!

The Four C’s: How We Talk About Carat, Cut, Clarity, and Color - Brilliant Earth Blog