The 4 Cs

The appeal of coloured diamonds holds both in their durability as a precious asset, and their dazzling shine and pure centres that capture and refract the light beautifully. When it comes to assessing the market value for investment and resale opportunities, experts are guided by The 4 Cs of diamonds. These four aspects are the most crucial elements when it comes to determining a stone’s qualities and, therefore, its value. The 4 Cs of diamonds are cut, clarity, colour and carat. Depending on the type of diamond, its intended use and the amount of money you’d like to put toward your investment, using The 4 Cs will help you determine a particular stone’s strengths and best features, as well as its overall quality. 

The Four Cs of Diamonds

  • Cut — The way a stone is cut is what brings it to life, giving diamonds their characteristic shine and dazzle. It takes many years of training as a stone cutter to be able to bring the most out of a natural diamond and allow its properties to shine through with the proper cut. Cut too little, and the stone won’t have enough facets to capture the light and shine in the way it should. Cut too much, and the value of the precious gem will be diminished.

    When jewellers and diamond experts refer to cut, they also mean the shape of a diamond. Diamonds can come in round shapes, modified fancy shapes (including love hearts) and traditional fancy shapes, which may include square cut, cushion or princess cut diamonds, emerald cuts, pear and marquise shapes, and many more.

  • Clarity — The clarity of a diamond is determined by examining any exterior or interior imperfections in the jewel under a microscope magnified by 10 times. Both trauma on the surface of the stone, known as blemishes, and flaws within its heart, known as inclusions, are taken into account when rating a stone for its clarity.

    In white diamonds, traditional preferences have dictated that a near-flawless stone in terms of clarity is the most ideal. However, contemporary sensibilities in the jewellery making world now prize striking inclusions like those found in salt and pepper diamonds for their unique and arresting look. When it comes to Argyle coloured diamonds, as long as the diamond eye is clean, the saturation and hue of the tint will win out over pure clarity when it comes to more valuable pieces.

  • Colour — Created by the presence of trace minerals within the compound elements of gems, naturally occurring coloured diamonds are prized for their gorgeous and unique shades. The colour of a gem is rated according to three categories; hue, saturation and tone. Hue refers to the dominant colour of the stone, which may also come with a tint in another shade. Saturation describes the vividness with which the colour is present and can rate from light to intense according to the strength of the saturation. Tone refers less to the colour itself and is instead concerned with how light or dark the colour in the gem appears to be.

    All three components of colour combine to create the unique traits of an individual diamond. Depending on the quality and rarity of the colour, certain aspects may be prized over others. For example, certain coloured diamonds may be preferred to have a lighter tone through which light can penetrate, while the rarity of a richly saturated dark pink diamond — such as those unearthed at the Argyle Mine in Western Australia — makes a light tone less desirable.

  • Carat — Finally, carat is the measurement of weight universally used to describe diamonds. One carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams, and each carat measure is subdivided into a further 100 points to allow for very accurate grading of the weight of each stone.

    Importantly, carat should not be confused with size. The stone’s density and cut also affect its weight, so two diamonds of the same carat count may vary in size and shape. What is preferred comes down to the use (if the stone is to be set in a piece of jewellery), the other aspects of the stone, and its expected resale value. Generally speaking, Argyle certified diamonds above 0.20ct are considered to be a premium investment, and Argyle certified 0.08ct to 0.19ct diamonds represent a good investment in the diamond industry. 


Cut, clarity, colour and carat – Argyle Diamond Investments can help you find your 4 Cs

Why choose an Argyle certified Pink Diamond from Argyle Diamond Investments to diversify your investment portfolio? Simply put, our team knows what combination of the 4 Cs spells solid profitability for investors and a truly valuable stone. As Australia’s premium wholesaler of rare Australian-sourced pink diamonds from the now-closed Argyle Mine in WA, we connect our clients with valuable, beautiful gems that hold their value and whose rarity ensures a great return on your investment. Argyle Diamond Investments will assist you in the acquisition and management of your diamond investments and can also assist in reselling when the time comes, finding you a competitive buyer quickly. Start a conversation with us today about investing in the lucrative diamond market, or organise a VIP diamond viewing to talk to us in person.


The 4 Cs are the grading tools that experts use to determine a jewel’s overall character and quality. They are cut, clarity, colour and carat. Combined, these factors give each stone its unique character and determine the value it will fetch in the diamond markets. 

The value of a stone ultimately depends on the type of diamond and its combination of characteristics, of which no two stones are the same. While sheer size might count because of the rarity of larger stones, an enormous diamond represents a significant investment, and it can take time to see a return on this outlay. The cut is a major part of how a stone appears to the naked eye, and certain shaped cuts are more popular than others. Colour and clarity will both determine a stone’s uniqueness and rarity, which are important. The short answer is that no one C is more important than the other, but rather it’s the combination that will define its value. This is especially true of pink diamonds, which tend to be sought after for distinct reasons such as hue and saturation of colour.

This is a great question! A combination of factors gives a diamond its definitive sparkle, the clarity which allows light to pass through it, and its colour, which will determine the way it casts light off it. Ultimately though, cut is perhaps the most significant determining factor in how a diamond will catch the light and glint in the sun. 


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