The 5-Cs of Buying a Diamond. Our How-To Guide for Buying Quality Diamond Jewelry

Buying diamond jewelry can be a bit daunting if you don’t know what to look for. That is why the 5 Cs of diamond buying are so important to making a good decision. This short how-to guide is to help you buy the right diamond by knowing what to look for with the 5 Cs.

The 5 Cs of Buying a Diamond

Diamonds are officially graded based on a system of 4 Cs – carat, cut, clarity, and color. The rating for each area helps to determine the overall quality and grade of the diamond and therefore the price.

In buying diamond jewelry, you should ask the jeweler to provide you with a grading card of the diamond. If they can’t provide you with an official, and preferably independent, grading report, then you may need to look elsewhere for that spectacular piece of diamond. For example, at Bashford Jewelry, because our diamonds are CanadaMark™, we can provide official certification for our diamonds.

At Bashford Jewelry, we also add one more C to our system for evaluating the diamonds we sell to our customers – conflict-free.

Let’s review these 5 Cs of diamond buying so you have a better idea of the questions to ask when buying items such as a diamond ring, diamond necklace, or diamond bracelet for you or a loved one.

C #1 – Carat

Carat refers to the weight and size of a diamond. 1 carat equals 0.2 grams. This is one of the more obvious factors in determining the cost of a diamond. But, the other factors can cause two diamonds of similar weight to have very different values.

C #2 – Color

All diamonds have some hint or trace of color ranging from yellow to brown or gray. The most valuable diamonds are the ones with fewer traces of color. (Except for diamonds that come in sought after colors such as yellow, red, blue). The color of the diamond is then graded from “D” – colorless – to “Z” – light yellow.

C #3 – Clarity

Clarity refers to what some may call inclusions or “imperfections” in the diamond. These are not often visible to the naked eye. The size and number of these inclusions are a major factor in the grade and hence the value of a diamond.

C #4 – Cut

Diamonds are renowned for their ability to transmit light and sparkle so intensely. We often think of a diamond's cut as shape (round, emerald, pear), but a diamond's cut grade is really about how well a diamond's facets interact with light. Cut is responsible for brilliance, fire, and scintillation of a diamond. An important aspect of the allure of diamonds is the way they sparkle. The sparkle is a result of how a stone is cut - its symmetry, polish, durability, and proportion of its parts - which, in turn, determines how light travels through the stone and back to your eye. Ideally, after light hits the top of a diamond, it travels through the stone and then out the top again, creating the sparkle effect. This sparkle depends on the proportions between the diamonds table size, crown angle and pavilion depth. 

C #5 – Conflict-Free 

Too often diamonds that have used to fund rebel wars and foster human rights abuses are sold to unsuspecting consumers. To avoid this, make sure to ask your jeweler about the source of their diamonds and whether the diamonds are conflict-free.

With a conflict-free diamond, you can buy with confidence knowing that the process of acquiring your diamond did not help fuel insurgency, wars, or human rights abuses.