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Which diamond is the best quality?

Which diamond is the best quality?

When it comes to diamonds, the most important factors in determining quality and value are the 4Cs: Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat weight. By understanding how these 4Cs impact a diamond’s appearance and rarity, you can identify which diamond has the best combination of quality characteristics.


The cut of a diamond refers to the proportions, symmetry, and polish of the facets. Well-cut diamonds have an optimal balance of dimensions that maximizes brilliance, fire, and scintillation through light reflection and refraction. Poorly cut diamonds can leak light out the sides and bottom, reducing radiance. Cut has the greatest influence on a diamond’s sparkle and beauty.

Ideally, a diamond should have a cut grade of Very Good or Excellent to achieve the best light performance. Precise cutting angles and facet placement create optimized proportions for light return. With an Excellent cut grade, a diamond will exhibit exceptional sparkle, brilliance, and fire.


Diamond color grading analyzes the absence of color in a stone. Completely colorless diamonds are the rarest and most valuable. As color increases from faint yellow to brownish hues, the diamond becomes more common and less desirable. Diamond color is rated on an alphabetical scale from D (colorless) to Z (noticeable color).

Diamonds rated D, E, and F are considered exceptionally white. G, H, and I are near-colorless grades that appear transparent unless next to better grades. Fancy colored diamonds in shades of yellow, pink, blue are very rare and prized. For best quality, aim for a diamond with a color grade of D to F to maximize beauty, value, and brilliance.


Diamond clarity refers to the presence of inclusions and blemishes inside and on the surface of a diamond. Inclusions can be crystals, clouds, or feathers. Blemishes include scratches, pits, and chips. Diamonds with fewer or smaller flaws have greater clarity and transparency.

Clarity is graded on a scale of Flawless (FL) to Included (I3). FL diamonds have no inclusions visible under 10x magnification. VVS1 and VVS2 have minute imperfections that are extremely difficult to see. VS1 and VS2 have minor inclusions that are faint under 10x magnification. SI clarity stones have noticeable inclusions that may impact appearance, especially in large carat weights. I1, I2, and I3 have obvious inclusions that can be seen by the naked eye.

For uncompromising quality, look for a diamond with a clarity of VS2 or higher. Diamonds of this clarity will appear virtually clean to the eye without magnification.


Carat weight measures the mass of a diamond. One carat equals 200 milligrams. Larger diamonds are scarcer and therefore more valuable than smaller stones of equal quality. While carat contributes to monetary worth, it does not directly impact beauty or brilliance.

When evaluating carat weight, keep in mind that carat size can sometimes over-emphasize one quality over the others. A large poorly cut diamond will not have the sparkle of a well-cut, smaller stone. Strike a balance between carat weight and the other Cs for an ideally proportioned diamond.

How the 4Cs Impact Diamond Quality

By understanding how the 4Cs influence a diamond’s appearance and rarity, you can determine what characteristics offer the best combination of beauty and value in your diamond purchase. Here is a quick reference guide for evaluating diamond quality based on the 4Cs:

4C Best Quality Characteristics
Cut Excellent or Very Good
Color D, E, or F (Colorless)
Clarity VS2 or Higher
Carat Ideal cut proportions for weight

A diamond with excellent cut, colorless or near colorless color grade, VS2+ clarity, and an optimal carat weight will offer the best overall combination of sparkle, brilliance, and beauty.

How to Choose the Best Diamond

When shopping for a high quality diamond, look for stones certified by independent diamond grading laboratories like GIA or AGS. Laboratory certification will provide an objective analysis of the 4Cs. Here are some tips for selecting the best diamond:

  • Prioritize cut first, with ideal proportions
  • Choose a color grade between D-F for exceptional whiteness
  • Look for VS2 clarity or higher for virtual eye-clean transparency
  • Balance carat weight with the other Cs to optimize appearance
  • Examine the diamond closely to verify the grades match the certificate
  • Purchase certified diamonds of G-H color and SI1 clarity only if on a tighter budget
  • Consider diamonds with Excellent polish and symmetry for maximum brilliance
  • Avoid diamonds with visible inclusions, poor cut, or noticeable yellowish hue

It’s important to understand how your priorities for color, clarity, carat, and cut impact the appearance, light performance, and value of a diamond. Consulting with a professional can help guide you to the ideal 4C combination that fits your budget and meets your quality expectations.

Best Settings for Maximizing Diamond Quality

The setting you choose for your high quality diamond also affects its visual performance. Here are some settings that can optimize sparkle and brilliance:

  • Prong setting: Ideal for maximizing light return because the stone is held in place by minimal metal prongs.
  • Bezel setting: Provides a clean, modern look with a full rim of metal encircling the diamond.
  • Split shank setting: Thinner bands on the side create the illusion of a larger center stone.
  • Halo setting: Accent diamonds around the center stone give added sparkle.
  • Three stone setting: Side accent diamonds refract more light through the center diamond.

On the other hand, some settings can conceal a diamond’s brilliance like channel settings or those with too thick of bands. Finding the right setting creates the perfect frame to showcase your diamond’s quality.

Diamond Quality and Value

In general, diamonds with higher grades of cut, more colorless hues, higher clarities, and larger carat weights will have the best quality and hold the most value over time. However, it’s important to weigh all the characteristics together to find the ideal balance for your budget.

Sometimes it is better to select a diamond with slightly lower grades if it allows you to increase cut or carat size while staying on budget. Other times, you may have to compromise on carat weight to boost color and clarity grades.

Work with a reputable jeweler or appraiser to understand what diamond qualities are most important for your situation. This will help you maximize overall appearance, sparkle, and investment value.


When evaluating which diamond offers the best quality and value, judge each individual stone on its combined characteristics both graded in a lab report and visible to the eye. An ideal diamond will exhibit excellence in cut, color, clarity, and well-proportioned carat weight.

A diamond certified with grades of Excellent cut, D-F color, FL to VS2 clarity that also displays optimal light performance, brilliance, and polish under magnification will provide the ultimate in diamond beauty, sparkle, and investment value.