How to Decide the Four C’s in a Flash


Decide on Cut

The Cut actually refers to two separate aspects of a diamond’s appearance:

1) shape, and 2) quality of workmanship.

===== Shape =====

Popular diamond shapes include ::

There are many other shapes as well.

Choose two shapes if possible and write them on your checklist. (You DID print the checklist, right?)

There is only one way to find out what she wants for the shape : ask her. But if you’re sneaky, you can find out by having her best friend ask her discreetly and tell you. Either way, you should definitely find out about this before you buy…because some women are very attached to certain diamond shapes.

Learn more about shapes in the next lesson.

===== The Make — Quality of the Cut =====

It is extremely important to learn about the Make of a diamond for three reasons:

1) the make varies greatly from one diamond to another

2) the make determines the beauty of a diamond more than anything else

3) a concise Cut Grade for the make is now included on most GIA diamond Cert / Certificates for round diamonds. Fancy shapes do not yet have a widely accepted set of standards for cut grading.

The Cut Grade on a certificate from GIA or AGS is the best, easiest, and most accurate measure of the make for any diamond, so ::

  • If you want perfection plus special effects, regardless of cost — go for AGS Ideal Cut.
  • If you want perfection regardless of cost — go for the GIA or AGS Excellent Cut.
  • If you want quality and beauty — go for GIA or AGS Very Good cut grade.
  • If you want a larger stone for your money — go for GIA or AGS Good cut grade.
  • Even if you want the largest diamond you can afford — we don’t recommend GIA or AGS Fair to Poor cut grades for engagement rings due to a noticeable lack of brilliance and fire (even when color and clarity are very high).

AGS currently offers cut grades for Round, Princess, Oval, Cushion, and Emerald shapes.

GIA offers cut grades for Round shapes only. The systems are different, and I highly respect both.

Curious about diamond cutting? Learn more about how diamonds are faceted. There will be a lot more about this in future lessons and the Beyond the Four C’s tutorial.

All in all, the best rules to remember ::

  1. Buy the quality that will make her happy, considering that this will be one of the most important purchases you ever make.
  2. Budget only enough that you both feel proud of your commitment to each other, and not so much that the cost becomes a major stress.


NEXT :: Diamond Clarity Grades

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