The Natural Diamond

No two diamonds are alike.  To differentiate between their unique qualities, we examine Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat.  

Choosing a Diamond: What Matters Most


When diamonds emerge from the earth, they are rough and unrefined. It takes hours and hours of cutting to turn a rough diamond into the beautiful stone we know it as. At Fords, we believe that Cut is the most important of the 4Cs when selecting a loose diamond. 

Why does cut matter?
No matter the size of the diamond or how colorless or how clear it may be all of these factors are trumped by the cut.

Cut grade should be a primary consideration when evaluating a diamond. Only when comparing two diamonds of identical Cut grade should the individual components of Cut (such as girdle width, symmetry, polish, depth%, table %, and culet size) be used as further refinements or tiebreakers.

We rely on the Cut grades provided by Gemological Institute of America Inc. (GIA) for accuracy and authenticity. 

Learn More About Cut


Consider Color to be the second most important quality in choosing a diamond, after Diamond Cut.

Color in a diamond appears as a yellow tinge and results from nitrogen present in the diamond. The color of a diamond never changes; it is part of its makeup. The more color present, the lower the color grade and quality of the Diamond.

Why Color Matters

Envision a window, the less tinted the glass is the more light can shine through.  Similarly, diamonds that have less color transmit light clearly and brightly, creating the sparkle and fire which are the most sought-after qualities in a diamond. We are attracted to a diamond’s brilliance and sparkle, resulting from the quality of the cut and then from the level of color. 

Learn More About Color


What is diamond clarity and how does it influence the beauty of the diamond?

All diamonds have inclusions in them because nature forms diamonds in high-temperature, high-pressure regions deep below the earth’s surface.  Diamonds formed in the harsh environment under the Earth's surface are crystals of carbon and are never perfect.  These imperfections are called inclusions and are the tiny identifying characteristics inside a diamond.  

When inclusions and blemishes are visible to the eye, they adversely influence the path of light through the diamond, making it less brilliant. Inclusions can also impact the durability of a diamond.

The diamond industry has established clarity grades to identify various levels of clarity in terms of visibility.  The visibility of a particular clarity characteristic or blemish is dependent on its location within the diamond, its physical size, and the effect it has when viewed under different lighting conditions. The clarity grades rate diamonds on the visibility of inclusions and blemishes under 10X magnification.

What do these clarity grades mean for the diamond shopper?

There are many clarity grades and often a big price difference between Flawless clarity and "clean to the eye" clarity.  When choosing a diamond based on clarity, shoppers need to determine how important it is to them not to see any inclusions with the unaided eye.  Then you have to decide how important the higher clarity grades are regardless of whether they influence the beauty of the diamond or not.

At Fords Jewelers we believe it is important to have the clarity grade designated by the most respected diamond grading laboratory, GIA (Gemological Institute of America), the leading authority in diamond grading. 

Learn More About Clarity


The carat is probably the most familiar of the 4C terms because it is the easiest one to understand just by looking at the stone. A carat (ct.) is the unit of measurement specifically used to describe the weight of a diamond. The name comes from the carob seed – a small seed with a typically uniform weight that early gem traders used as counterweights for balancing their scales, according to the GIA. 

As a point of reference, a 1-carat diamond has 100 points (1.00) However, the way a diamond is cut can actually obscure its size and true weight which is why we emphasize the importance of Cut over Carat.

It’s important to note that it’s not just the carat weight, but also the quality of the stone at that weight that helps determine the diamond’s value. Always consider all of the 4C's when making your decisions on a stone not just making it all about size.

Learn More About Carats

Diamond Cut


Maximum fire and brilliance. Reflects nearly all of the
light that enters the diamond, creating exceptional sparkle and life.

Very Good

Properly reflects most of the light that enters the diamond, producing superior fire and brilliance. Under normal lighting conditions, appears very similar to Excellent Cut, but for a lower price.

The individual components that makeup Diamond Cut include:

  • Girdle Width
  • Symmetry
  • Polish
  • Depth%
  • Table %, and
  • Culet size


Reflects a majority of the light that enters the diamond, for an above-average appearance. An excellent value compared to higher cut


Allows much of the light entering the diamond to escape from the sides or bottom, reducing perceived fire and brilliance.


Diamond Color

Natural diamonds contain nitrogen which gives them a natural yellow hue.  Color is rated on a scale of D-Z.


Diamond Clarity

Diamonds are rate for clarity based on the number of inclusions. Common types of these inclusions are feathers, crystals, pinpoints, clouds, needles, and twinning wisps.


Flawless and Internally Flawless are the highest clarity grades and indicate no inclusions are visible under 10X magnification, with the Internally Flawless allowing only very minor blemishes.

VVS1 and VVS2

Indicate very, very small inclusions, which might take time to find with a microscope.

VVS1 and VVS2

Indicate very, very small inclusions, which might take time to find with a microscope.

SI1 and SI2

Have small inclusions under 10X magnification but do not affect durability and most are internal and do not break the surface of the diamond. These clarity characteristics are rarely visible to the unaided eye.

I1, I2 and I3

Have inclusions that are obvious with the unaided eye and affect the durability of the stone.

GIA Diamond Clarity

Diamond Carat Size

Not all carats are the same.  The cut of a diamond can greatly impact how big the stone appears.  This is why, at Fords, we consider Cut to be the most important of the 4Cs, above Carat.


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Barry and his exceptional Associates are always there to assist you.

- Gary M