Selecting a Diamond

When selecting a diamond for an engagement ring there are several criteria to consider.  These benchmarks are commonly refered to as the four C’s.  Below each are defined.  For more detailed information on each topic, click on the term.

Term Definition
Color The diamond’s color usually refers to the absence or presence of a yellow tint.  A color grade of “D” means that a diamond is colorless and a color grade of “Z” is the darkest yellow.  Diamond color progressively gets more yellow from D to Z.
Carat Weight A carat is not the physical dimensional size of the diamond but rather its weight, or more precisely its mass. 1 carat = 200 milligrams = 100 points
Cut The diamonds cut refers to the dimensions and proportions to which the diamond is cut.  Cut is critical in order to obtain maximum diamond brilliance.  Sometimes cut is often confused with or associated with style and shape.
Clarity The clarity of a diamond is the absence or presence of flaws, scratches, or mineral deposits inside the stone.  Click the clarity term to see the grading chart.


These criteria have been used for years to help customers understand the uniqueness of diamond and how that uniqueness equates to price.  Any jewelry retailer worth visiting will be able to relay details about a specific piece in their shop by using the terms listed above.

After you have determined the criteria of the diamond you want, be sure to look at the diamond’s certification to ensure those qualities.


A diamond’s color usually refers to how clear or yellow the stone is.  Diamonds come in a variety of colors such as black, brown, green, or pink. These stones are known as “fancy diamonds,” but most people are looking for a stone that is completely colorless when it comes to an engagement ring.

Color Grading

Diamond color is usually graded on a GIA scale ranging from D, colorless, to Z, strong yellow.  Diamonds graded in the D, E, or F range are usually very hard to tell apart to the human eye.  Sometimes the AGS scale is used.  In this case 0 is colorless and 10 is yellow.

To really see the difference in diamond color, it is highly recommended that you visit a local jeweler to see first hand the color difference. Be sure to select several diamonds of similar size, and compare their colors over a black or white cloth.


The price of the diamond will be affected by how clear the stone is.  The more clear the diamond, the more money you will pay.  However, this does not hold true for a diamond that is very yellow.  These are in the category of “fancy diamond” and can be very marketable and expensive.  Some people actually prefer a slight yellow tint in the diamond.  For these people, great deals await.


There is one other color characteristic known as fluorescence.  This characteristic has been described as a blue tint in the diamond and that the tint can be seen under a UV light.  Diamonds with a strong fluorescence are usually cheaper because it can cause some colorless stones to look cloudy.  Some fluorescence can be helpful though.  If a diamond is graded in the range G-I, a little fluorescence will actually cancel out some of the yellow color and because the diamond has a grading that indicates it is not colorless, the customer can end up with a much better price.