School of Rocks: Deciphering Diamond Lingo

Their beauty is obvious. The words used to grade them, though? Not so straightforward. Enter: A quick rundown on diamond terminology (also called "The 4 Cs"). Because, armed with the right info, you’re set to snag your dream ice.


Diamond Glossary

Carat Weight
Technically speaking, the term “carat” describes a unit of mass equaling 200 milligrams. Translation? The heavier the diamond, the more valuable it is. But when it comes to actual size, consider visual scale. How big is the person that’s wearing it? How is the diamond set? Contrary to popular belief, a gigantic rock isn’t always the most fitting choice. (Hear that, Kim?)

Diamonds are assigned a grade based on the detection of color. Some colors are more valued (red-colored diamonds, for example, are the rarest), but other hues, like yellow, diminish value. Absolute transparency – as in, zero color – indicates a chemically pure diamond. This type of perfection is pretty much nonexistent.

A diamond is also assigned a grade based on the the number of markings it has. The marks are actually a good thing, as they indicate natural origin – sort of like a fingerprint.

Cut is much more than just shape. When done right, it can actually increase a diamond’s quality and worth. Why? Because, the better the cut, the more a diamond will sparkle. (Enough said.)

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