The 4: C’s Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight

The intimidating 4 C’s. Most of us have heard of the 4 C’s and few of us can name each of the 4 categories that make up a diamond’s personality. Mackley Jewelers takes pride in being the only Knoxville Jewelry Store that offers true diamond education during the buying process. 

Now, let’s look under the microscope together as we discuss the 4 C’s: Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight in this month’s edition of Tips From the Vault:

1. Cut

A diamond’s most alluring characteristic and pull over you is its cut. The cut is what creates the sparkling fire you see and you twist and turn the stone. The cut is what traps the light as its captive- forcing the light to perpetually dance facet to facet in search of a way out. Cut means more than the shape of a diamond. Cut also refers to the geometry: the angles and the facets and how their symmetry relates and plays off of one another. When a diamond is labeled as an ideal cut, this means that the diamond has been cut in order to produce the absolute most fire, sparkle, and brilliance it can possibly create.

Scintillation: White sparkles, flashes of white light, are what’s visible when the diamond moves.

Brilliance: The varying intensities of white light that are being reflected from the diamond’s surface and inside.

Fire: Colored sparkles, flashes of colorful rainbow-like light, are the action of the scattering and dispersion of light through a diamond creating a rainbow of light.

2. Carat

Carat is the weight of a diamond- how physically heavy the diamond is, not the size. To determine how many carats a diamond weighs, you need to conduct how many points are in the diamond. One carat consists of 100 points. You can easily measure the carats of a diamond by using a diamond scale. 

3. Color

The color of a diamond is graded by a color alphabet which starts with D and ends with z. D is considered colorless, or whitest. D diamonds are the rarest and the most expensive. Diamonds that range between G and J are typically colorless- J and beyond you will begin to notice yellow tint to brown tint and beyond.

4. Clarity

Clarity determines how flawed or flawless a diamond is. Internal debris is known as birthmarks, or inclusions, (such as carbon) that interfere with the way light moves within the diamond. There are also external flaws known as blemishes that become present during the cutting process which can also interfere with the way light moves. Clarity is all about aesthetics.

Blemishes: External flaws that were created during the cutting process.

Inclusions: Internal flaws that formed within the diamond during its creation process, deep in the earth.

Photo Credit: Sabrinna Ringquist via

About Us

Homegrown in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, Mackley Jewelers has been East Tennessee’s hometown jeweler in Knoxville, TN for 41 years. Treating customers with respect, providing ethical service, and selling beautiful jewelry with natural stones is the foundation of Mackley Jewelers’ philosophy. We also offer a full range of professional Knoxville jewelry repair services performed by our talented jeweler right here, in-house. Every day, our goal is to be the best family-owned Knoxville jewelry store we can be all while giving our customers an authentic small business buying experience with genuine Southern charm.

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