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Why are Diamond Gradings Important?

Posted on Nov 25, 2015 by Lisa Garber

Diamond gradings set an industry standard for value and quality. Diamonds are being sold and resold around the world every day. To make sure consumers are actually getting what they pay for, the Gemological Institute of America has come up with a system of grading diamonds.

There are four major factors taken into consideration when determining the value of a particular diamond. In the industry, those criteria are known as the four C’s.

  • Carat weight
  • Cut
  • Color
  • Clarity

Every one of the above mentioned aspects plays a role in determining how much a diamond will sell for as well as how it will maintain value over time.

Carat Weight

Most people are familiar with the term “carat.” It is actually measured in weight, although most think of the term as an indicator of size. This is typically true, because larger diamonds will weigh more. The weight alone, however, is not the only factor in diamond grading.

A diamond with a smaller carat weight could actually be worth more than one with a larger weight if it has better cut, color and clarity.

Diamond Cut

The cut shape of a diamond plays a very important role in the appearance and shimmering of a diamond. There are several different types of cuts, some more popular than others, such as oval, round and princess.

Diamonds are cut to maintain as much carat weight as possible while maintaining the beautiful qualities diamonds are known for, such as their interaction with light.


Diamond have varying degrees of color, and extreme differences can be spotted with the naked eye. However subtle differences in color can only be spotted by a trained professional using 10x magnification.


Diamonds with a perfect clarity rating are extremely rare. These diamonds are considered “flawless.” Only one in every few thousand diamonds earns this designation. Most diamonds have what are known as inclusions or blemishes. Blemishes are external and inclusions are internal. In many cases, these blemishes and inclusions are invisible to the naked eye, but can be spotted under 10x magnification.

A Note on Diamond Gradings

While the process is important for retailers and dealers to determine their prices, the most important aspect for consumers should be the emotional response to a diamond. If you find a piece that speaks to you and looks beautiful, don’t let the diamond grade hold you back. 

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