What are the Five Cs?

When searching for the perfect diamond it helps to know what to look for. The best method for choosing a quality diamond is to follow the five C’s – cut, clarity, colour, carat, and certificate. These five things will help you to choose a diamond of the highest quality.

When choosing a diamond engagement ring it is important to understand how these things affect the quality rating. What makes one stone better than another of the same size? How can a smaller stone be better than a larger one? It all depends on the diamond itself. Your jeweller can help you when choosing your diamond. He can discuss these qualities and how they affect the quality of the stone and whether or not you should buy it.

We named them 5 C’s, but really the Gemmological Institute of America invented the 4 C’s and these are outlined below. We threw in certificate because it is important as well.

1. Diamond Colour

The diamond colour is determined by how much or how little colour is in the stone naturally. The GIA gives diamond a rating from D to Z, with D describing the stones with the least amount of colour and Z describing stones with a noticeable yellow or brown tinting.

2. Diamond Cut

Before a diamond is cut it is called a raw or rough diamond. Rough diamonds are unpolished and do not look like the sparkling stones you see in the jeweller’s window. The outer skin is rough and opaque with little to no sparkle at all. This is because what makes a diamond sparkle are facets, or how the cut edges reflect the light. In its whole form there is nothing to reflect the light.

As the light hits the stone, it penetrates and bounces back to create a prism effect (the rainbow colours you see reflected through a sunny window). When the diamond is cut it is then able to reflect more light creating facets which make it sparkle in the light.

3. Diamond Carat

The size or weight of the diamond is noted in carats. It is a universal measurement that is the same all over the world. You’ve probably heard this term a lot because it is one aspect that is focused on a lot. But keep in mind, it isn’t necessarily the size of the stone, it’s the quality that is most important.

4. Diamond Clarity

Diamond inclusions are small imperfections that are within the stone during the growing process. These inclusions are extremely common within diamonds and are essentially birthmarks making each stone unique and different from another. This is one aspect that is used in grading the diamonds that the GIA uses. The clarity rating is an important factor in determining quality.


5. Diamond Certificate

A diamond certificate proves that the diamond you are buying is authentic. It refers to your diamond and you’ll need this certificate if it is ever lost or stolen and needs to be replaced. It also proves that the stone has been rated by the GIA and is of a high-quality. It is your assurance that this stone will last a lifetime and won’t be damaged by daily wear. It also acts as an appraisal to prove the value or worth of the diamond for insurance purposes.