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The 4Cs

Here at Woods we source loose diamonds for our bespoke designs, we can work to your specification, and to your budget. We can source several loose stones for you to see, in varying cuts, carats, colours and clarities. Once you have chosen your perfect stone, we can create a bespoke design for you!

The 4 C's; cut, colour, clarity and carat come together to enhance a diamonds already magnificent natural beauty. Here is a brief description of each, and why they are all so important.


The cut is one of the only 4Cs directly influenced by hand - as the others are determined by nature. A cut can refer to two different aspects of the stone - the shape (when looking at the stone face on) for instance Round Brilliant, Princess, Pear Shape etc. It also refers to the cutting style (the arrangement of the gems facets).

A well cut diamond will orchestrate the light in such a way that it creates a magnificent display with Brilliance, Fire and Scintillation.

  • Brilliance: The total light reflected from a diamond.

  • Fire: The dispersion of light into colours of the spectrum.

  • Scintillation: The flashes of light when the Diamond is moved.

When a diamond is perfectly cut, light enters the stone from all sides, is bent towards the centre and then reflected back through the top in a rainbow blaze of light. If a diamond is cut too deep, light will leak through the sides, too shallow and it will leak through the bottom. Proportions are also considered when discussing the cut of a diamond. This refers to the relationship between the table size, crown angle and pavilion depth.


Quite possibly the most important of the 4Cs - Colour. The ideal colour - colourless, the absence of all colour. That is unless you move a lot further down the scale into fancy colour diamonds. such as yellow, pink, blue, green, purple, brown and black.

The GIA (Gemmological Institute of America) have developed a very precise scale of colour grading. The grading chart spans D - Z, with D being the most devoid of colour, the rarest and most desirable stones, descending to Z+ which have the most colouration. There are a number of other colour grading scales, however the GIA tends to be the most universal.


The clarity is the degree of flawlessness within a diamond, determined by an examination under 10 x magnification. A diamond grader would be looking for Inclusions (internal objects) and blemishes (external marks), using using a loupe (a small magnifying glass which offers 10 x magnification).

Almost all diamonds contain traces of small non-diamond crystals or non-crystallised carbon, they are nature's hallmark and make every diamond unique!

Again, the GIA have developed what is probably considered the most universal grading system for this; ranging from flawless (FL) to diamonds with obvious inclusions (I3).


Carat is often misunderstood as the size of the stone, whereas it actually refers to the weight. One carat is equal to 200 milligrams or 1/5 of a gram. You may often here us refer to a diamonds weight as "points". One carat is 100 points, and we can divide easily from there, with half carat being 50 points or 0.50 carats.

In terms of determining value, carat is possibly considered to be the most prudent - however it is important to remember that two stones of equal weight can have very different values depending on their colour, cut and clarity.

We hope you have enjoyed reading our short guide to the 4Cs.

For more information about this service we provide, please don't hesitate to call, email or pop in. Click the button below for our contact information.

Bibliography (Images and Information)

"Diamonds" by Marijan Dundek, 2009 (all images)

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