A diamond’s quality is typically evaluated according to four major characteristics:

Experts rely on these characteristics, also known as the 4Cs, to objectively compare and grade diamonds. The 4C system was developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) back in the 1940s and ‘50s, and is now considered an industry standard. The GIA is one of the world’s most respected authorities on diamonds, colored gemstones, and pearls, and it is this institution that certifies and grades the majority of Diamond.com’s loose diamonds. Since the slightest change in a diamond’s grading can significantly alter its value, understanding the 4Cs is key when choosing your diamond. The characteristics of one – carat, color, clarity, or cut – affects the others, which is why balancing each of the 4Cs is essential to finding the perfect diamond for your budget.