Blog, Buyer's Guide

Diamonds Overview

Buyer's Guide: Diamonds | Vardy's Jewelers Bay Area


No matter how beautiful a diamond may look, it is not necessarily an indication of its true quality. When beginning your diamond search, make sure you have a a basic understanding of how cut, carat weight, color and clarity affect a diamond’s value and price. Known as “the 4 C’s”, these factors are used by gemologists to rank diamonds according to internationally-recognized standards.

The Gemological Institute of America* (GIA) describes these factors as:

  1. CUT
    Diamond Cut does not refer to a diamond’s shape, but to the proportion and arrangement of its facets and the quality of workmanship. The amount of brilliance, sparkle and fire in a diamond is determined by cut. Grades range from ‘Ideal’ to ‘Poor.’
    Diamond Carat refers to a diamond’s weight. Generally speaking, the higher the carat weight, the more expensive the diamond. Two diamonds of equal carat weight, however, can have very different quality and price when the other three C’s are considered.
  3. COLOR
    In most diamonds, the term actually refers to the absence of color. The less color in the diamond, the more desirable and valuable it is. Some of these differences are not visible to the naked eye, but directly impact the overall quality and price of the diamond.
    Diamond Clarity measures the amount, size and placement of internal ‘inclusions,’ and external ‘blemishes.’ Grades run from ‘Flawless,’ with virtually no imperfections, to ‘Included,’ which contain a significant number of imperfections.

At Vardy’s, we believe there is a 5th “C” that should be taken into account: the diamond’s GIA Certificate. A diamond grading report from an unbiased, scientific source such as GIA is more than important information, it’s proof of what you’re purchasing. The differences in diamonds can be so subtle, even a trained jeweler can’t recognize them without lab verification. A diamond certificate is an indisputable verification of its quality.

To help you in your search for the perfect diamond, we’ve created an in-depth guide to understanding the 4 C’s:

Part 1. Cut

Part 2. Carat

Part 3. Color

Part 4. Clarity

*The Gemological Institute of America was established in 1931 and protects the public through gemological research, education, impartial gem identification and grading services, and instrument development.