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What are the 4 C's of Diamonds?

When choosing a diamond, often the largest stone with the most brilliance is the most tempting, however, it is important to understand the 4 C's — carat, cut, color, and clarity — before making a diamond purchase. These are a diamond's characteristics that determine quality. At Aucoin Hart Jewelers, our expert guide can help you navigate the 4C's to aid you in selecting the perfect diamond.


While it is commonly believed that a diamond is measured by its physical size, it is actually measured by its weight, referred to as carats. A few factors can affect the size vs. the carat weight. Higher carat diamonds can look smaller but cost significantly more than a stone that appears larger due to the diamond's cut. While the price of a diamond increases with a higher carat, two stones with the same weight can vary widely in quality thanks to other characteristics.


The cut of a diamond refers to the shape of the stone. Round, oval, pear, princess, and emerald are some of the most popular diamond shapes. Throughout history, diamond cuts have adhered to very specific cutting standards that determine a diamond's symmetry, technical proportions, and facet placement. Each cut is graded accordingly by the Gemological Institute of America from “excellent” to “poor”. When cut to meet these exacting standards, a diamond will allow the maximum amount of light to enter the stone, creating a marvelous display of reflected radiance.


Light reflecting off the inner depths of a diamond can produce a rainbow of hues, but a diamond's color is actually the absence of pigment within the stone. The most desirable diamonds are “colorless” and the GIA rates stones on a scale from D to Z, with the most colorless diamonds scoring the highest rating of D. As the rating declines, the stone shows increasingly colored tones, such as yellow and brown, that result from chemical impurities and structural defects that are visible to the naked eye.


Diamond clarity refers to the number of inclusions or the naturally occurring internal and external characteristics of the stone. These are measured by their size, nature, and locations within the diamond, as well as their visibility. The highest clarity diamonds are rated “FL” for flawless, while the most included diamonds, often with inclusions so obvious they can be seen by the naked eye, are rated “I3”. The fewer and less visible a diamond's inclusions, the higher a diamond's clarity rating, resulting in a more expensive and brilliant stone.

Why Shop for Loose Diamonds at Aucoin Hart Jewelers?

At Aucoin Hart Jewelers, we can help you expertly navigate your choices when selecting an exquisite diamond to pair with your engagement ring. Our  Metairie jewelry store offers private diamond viewing rooms to nearby New Orleans, Mandeville, and Covington residents. Our exceptional team of experienced professionals is here to help with personal  diamond consultations. Call us at (504)-834-9999 with any questions or to book an appointment today!