An Engagement Ring Shopper’s Guide to the 4Cs

An Engagement Ring Shopper’s Guide to the 4Cs

Searching for a sparkling diamond for that special someone? Selecting a diamond starts with knowing the characteristics of diamonds. Diamond color, clarity, cut and carat weight are what make up the “4Cs”. This is what gives a stone their sparkly fire. These terms combined define a diamond quality and value. The 4Cs are a good thing to understand when engagement ring shopping to find that perfect diamond. Our guide below will give you that boost of confidence in verifying the quality and value of the diamond you are buying. 

Diamond Color 

A diamond's color is all about what you can’t see. The less color the higher the grade. GIA’s color-grading scale for diamonds is the industry standard. The scale starts at D, which is colorless and continues to Z, which is light yellow. Diamonds on the lower end of the scale D, E, and F are colorless, which enhances the stone’s overall dazzle. These diamonds don’t have any color, making them a good pairing for white gold or platinum settings. Many of these color distinctions are so small that many people won’t be able to see them. But these slight differences make a big difference in diamond quality and price.


Clarity evaluates small imperfections in the diamond. Because of the way diamonds are formed, they often have some unique birthmarks. Diamonds without imperfections are rare and that affects the value and the price. Keep in mind that every diamond is unique and none are absolutely perfect under extreme magnification. The GIA Clarity Scale grades diamonds from “Flawless” to “Included”. The closer the diamond is to flawless, the higher its value and price. It’s important to keep in mind that even a slightly included stone can have phenomenal brilliance. The goal is to buy the clearest stone within your ring budget.


The cut of a diamond is what gives it fire and sparkle. The beauty of the stone depends more on cut quality than anything else. GIA’s Diamond Cut Grading System is based on a scale from Excellent to Poor. Each cut grade represents a range of proportion sets and face up appearances. It all comes down to personal preference on which appearance you prefer within the grade range, because each grade range has a wide range of proportion sets. 

Carat Weight

Carat weight answers the question of how big the diamond is. Diamonds are measured in metric carats. One carat is equal to about the same weight as a paperclip. The larger the carat weight, the higher the price. You do not need the largest carat diamond to have the best ring. Beautiful sparkle is related to a good cut diamond, not the carat weight. Another thing to keep in mind is to make sure to not get carat and karat confused when going engagement ring shopping. Carat is how much the diamond weighs. Karat refers to gold purity. 

This is all great information to understand when buying the perfect engagement ring, but don’t get overwhelmed by it. The important thing to remember is the impact this engagement ring will have on your special someone. The investment you make will reflect the time, thought, and effort that went into choosing the perfect ring. This guide is a great place to start in learning more about diamonds and your favorite jeweler’s is the perfect place to make the final decision. For more information on diamonds and engagement rings, visit