Learn the 4 C's — Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat Weight
Diamonds are cut into a variety of shapes. The most popular are round, marquise, pear, emerald, oval, heart, square, princess, baguette and trillion. All but round are considered fancy shapes. Fancy shapes can be more expensive because they are more difficult to cut.
Types of Diamond Shapes
Diamonds are cut in many beautiful shapes.
To learn how the cut of a diamond affects its brilliance, see diamond cut. When choosing a diamond, you should be familiar with the 4 C's: color, clarity, cut and carat weight. These characteristics help determine the quality and value of each diamond. Although you may be most interested in the obvious shape and carat weight when choosing a diamond, it's important to consider the color and cut, too. The experts at Wal-Mart select diamonds that combine all 4C's to ensure that you get the best value.
Color
The more color a diamond has, the less light passes through the stone to make it sparkle. A colorless diamond allows more light to pass through it to create the maximum amount of brilliance. Colorless diamonds, however, are extremely rare.
Most diamonds have subtle shade differences, ranging from nearly colorless to light yellow. Most appear colorless to the unaided eye. The diamond industry uses a letter system to grade the color of diamonds, from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow). A diamond with less color is more valuable. At Wal-Mart, we take pride in offering diamonds with a color grade of J or better.
Diamond Color
The diamond industry uses a letter system to grade the color of diamonds from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow).
Clarity
The natural imperfections in diamonds are called inclusions — minerals or crystals trapped inside the stone during its formation. The characteristics of the inclusions determine the clarity of the diamond. Diamonds that have no inclusions will reflect more light and are very rare. Nearly all diamonds contain these inclusions, or tiny "birthmarks," which make each stone unique. Most are unseen to the unaided eye; jewelers need magnifiers to identify them.
Most diamonds have subtle shade differences, ranging from nearly colorless to light yellow. Most appear colorless to the unaided eye. The diamond industry uses a letter system to grade the color of diamonds, from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow). A diamond with less color is more valuable. At Wal-Mart, we take pride in offering diamonds with a color grade of J or better.
Diamond Clarity
(level of inclusions)
Clarity refers to how clear a diamond is. Most diamonds have natural imperfections, called inclusions, graded on a scale as shown here.
Cut
Cut refers to the precise proportions and dimensions of a finished diamond. How a diamond is cut affects the stone's "brilliance," or how much it sparkles. A stone that has been cut properly allows light to enter and refract through the stone, which creates brilliance. A stone that is too shallow or too deep will look dull and lifeless. The most popular shapes are shown in the chart below. Wal-Mart generally carries diamonds in the 3 most popular shapes: Round, Princess and Marquise.
Most diamonds have subtle shade differences, ranging from nearly colorless to light yellow. Most appear colorless to the unaided eye. The diamond industry uses a letter system to grade the color of diamonds, from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow). A diamond with less color is more valuable. At Wal-Mart, we take pride in offering diamonds with a color grade of J or better.
How a Diamond Handles Light
The cut of a diamond helps determine its brilliance.
Please note: Cut should not be confused with shape. To learn about diamond shapes, click here.
Carat Weight
The weight of a diamond is measured in carats. Total carat weight (T.W.) is the total weight of all the stones in a piece of jewelry. For example, a ring with one 1/2 carat stone and two 1/4 carat stones would have a T.W. of 1 carat.
Larger diamonds, or those with more carats, are sometimes considered to be more valuable, but occur less frequently in nature. However, diamonds of the same carat weight may vary widely in value. A diamond with poor color and clarity might be much less valuable than a smaller diamond with a better color and clarity.
Confidence
Although the standard grading system includes 4 characteristics, at Wal-Mart we add a fifth C. It stands for confidence. Our jewelry buyers select diamonds by using specific guidelines to offer the most popular cuts and qualities at the best possible price. This provides you with the confidence to know that you are receiving the best value.