The 4C’s For Determining the Value of Diamonds

by | Mar 3, 2017

Buying a diamond is a rather daunting experience for most people, especially young men who see the jewellery as more of a means-to-an-end.

It’s almost impossible to stay calm and not get emotional in these circumstances, and some folks get completely lost in the process. Diamond shoppers often get mesmerized by the merchandise, drowned in details, and because they’re so optimistic about the future, they make poor purchase decisions in the present.

The more knowledge a consumer has, at any age, the more relaxed they are when shopping for diamond engagement rings. When buyers are calm and relaxed they’re more able to spot quality and true beauty in the stones. Here at On the Other Hand Jewellery in Leslieville, we aim to make shopping for diamonds as enjoyable, and as rewarding as possible.

Knowing the 4 C’s of diamonds is mandatory. In our studio, we scrutinize the cut, colour, clarity, and carat weight and present the four Cs to potential buyers in what we believe is their order of importance with regards to each gemstone.

Here in this blog post on the subject, I’ll go over each of the four C’s in order of their overall importance in determining the value of diamonds.


Cut is the first “C” and is, hands down, the most important of the bunch. A good cut can cover the poorest of clarities (at a distance anyway). If you’re looking at the specs on line, you’ll have no way of knowing that a stone graded si1 can actually have a lot more life than a less excellently cut vs2.

Two stones that look identical on paper will inevitably look different side by side. I often reveal the stones to my customers without them knowing the specs first. That way, there is a greater possibility of having a visceral reaction to a particular stone, to allow one stone to speak to them above the others. A diamond has sex appeal in person, while on paper it can only be viewed as a physical commodity.

Colour is next. Anything above a GH is a good place to be. D is awesome, but not necessary. Lower colours (J, K… Z) can do well set in yellow gold so don’t be immediately turned away.

Clarity is next. Like I said, poor clarity can be hidden with a good cut. The type of inclusion, as well as the placement will also play a role in the overall effect. A large dark spot in the table facet could be an eyesore, whereas some feathery white inclusions deeper in the stone won’t be so visible.

Carat is the final factor. Sometimes design dictates the budget, but alas most of the time the opposite is true and budget comes first. It’s pretty fun making a killer ring with a 2-carat stunner of a diamond, but many of my most rewarding pieces have come without such a hefty price tag. We can often fill out a lower budget with a thoughtful design. I have made lots of gorgeous rings with centre stones smaller than one carat.

Below is a sketch and a photo of the resulting ring that was made with a gorgeous 80 point diamond. I made this piece a few years ago now, and it’s still one of my favourites.


In closing, when it comes to diamond jewellery, size isn’t everything. Having a great design that is skillfully executed to maximize all the attributes of the gem is far more important.

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Karen Macrae

Karen’s custom design process is all about the customer. She specializes in custom jewellery design, and her love for it shows in her eagerness to sit down with customers and collaborate on this important, and imaginative journey.
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