DEFINITION of 'Four Cs'

The four characteristics used to determine the value of a diamond. The Four Cs of diamonds correspond to the carat, cut, clarity and color. The characteristics of a diamond are graded and categorized by the diamond industry to establish its retail value.

Cut refers to the diamond's reflective properties.
Clarity refers to the occurrence of inner flaws or inclusions in the diamond.
Color refers to the presence or absence of a diamond's color. Colorless diamonds allow more light to pass through than colored diamonds.
Carat refers to the weight of the diamond. Larger diamonds are exponentially more valuable because of their rarity.

BREAKING DOWN 'Four Cs'

The diamond certificate, which is also called a grading report, is considered the fifth C. The fifth C is a complete evaluation of a diamond that has been executed by qualified professionals using specialized gemological instruments. The certificate details the diamond's exact measurements, weight and details of its cut and quality. In addition, the certificate identifies the diamond's unique characteristics. The certificate describes the diamond's quality, but it does not place a monetary value on the stone.

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