There are a variety of factors involved to generate a selling price or resale worth for a diamond – for instance, cut, clarity, color, and carat weight. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has come up with an International Diamond Grading System that is the worldwide standard for evaluating diamond quality.

The “4Cs”

Cut – This refers to the sparkle and brilliance of a diamond. The cut of any diamond has three attributes: brilliance or the total light reflected from a diamond, fire or the dispersion of light into the colors of the spectrum and scintillation or the pattern of light and dark areas and the flashes of light or sparkle when the diamond is moved. Popular cuts are marquise, pear, oval, rectangle, heart, and triangles.

diamond cut

Clarity – Diamond clarity refers to the absence of inclusions and blemishes. Diamonds without these birthmarks are rare, and rarity affects your diamond’s value. Keep in mind that every diamond is unique and absolutely no diamond is ever perfect. Flawless diamonds are an exception, and most jewelers have never seen one.

diamond clarity

Color – Unlike cut and clarity, diamond color is what you can’t see. Diamonds are valued by how close they are to colorless. Ideally, the less color the higher their value, with the exception of pink and blue diamonds. Most diamonds run from colorless to near colorless, with slight hints of brown or yellow.

diamond color

Carat Weight – Like other gemstones, diamonds are weighed in metric carats. One carat is approximately 0.2 grams, which is about the same weight as a paperclip. Moreover, carats are divided into 100 points – for example, a 50-point diamond weighs about 0.50 carats. The majority of diamonds you see today weigh one carat or less.

diamond carat weight

GIA Certification

When you purchase a new or used diamond, be sure to obtain a grading report from GIA, as they are the leaders in independent diamond certification. All diamond experts and jewelers know exactly what a “GIA certificate” is. The GIA’s grading system is widely recognized throughout the jewelry industry as the most accurate and unbiased opinion when it comes to grading diamonds. There are many advantages to buying a diamond with a GIA certificate. First, you know exactly what you’re buying as every important factor is described in the certificate. Secondly, if the diamond comes with a certificate you won’t have to worry about buying a synthetic diamond. Finally, purchasing a GIA certified diamond will provide you with more confidence and value in your purchase.

We always encourage you to buy your diamonds in person. Looking at a diamond in first person with a diamond specialist the best way to evaluate a diamond before making a purchase.

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on 

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Great American Coin Company