How much do the 4Cs Impact Engagement Ring Prices?

If you are like me you had never heard of the 4cs: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight before you started engagement ring shopping.

I remember hearing about the “big 4cs” and wondering what all the fuss was about. I did some preliminary research and learned what each word meant and why it mattered, but I had no way of figuring out how much each “C” cost me and why.

So I set about trying to solve that problem for myself (and now you). Simply put, each of the 4cs is important to the value of the ring. But how important? Which C matters the most, and why? And if it does matter, how is this variable priced in?

Here are the different variables you will find for Cut, Carat Weight, Color and Clarity.

CutCarat WeightColorClarity
Fair0.5IVS2
Good0.51HVS1
Excellent0.52GVVS2
0.53FVVS1
0.54EIF
0.55D
EtcK

As the cut goes from Fair to Excellent → Price goes up. Cheaper diamonds, including Asscher and Emerald, are cheaper because they lose weight when they are cut.

As the carat weight gets larger → Price goes up.

How Color Impacts Pricing

Affordable diamonds: slight coloring hues of yellow, grey, and brown.

Mid-priced diamonds: vivid yellow and orange hues.

Higher-priced diamonds: colors move towards opaqueness and lack of color, violet, and diamond blue.

Most expensive diamond in the world: a red diamond can cost several hundred thousand to a few million dollars. Many jewelers consider the red diamond the most expensive diamond in the world. Beyond red, colorless diamonds are the rarest diamonds and rarity equates to value.

As supply for a product decreases, prices go up. Economics 101: If the quantity available is limited, demand will cause prices to rise. Because red and colorless diamonds are the rarest, they are also the priciest.

D Color  diamonds are very rare and hence are the most expensive of the colorless diamonds. 

Many affordable engagement rings are of the K color variety. This is because these diamonds have slightly noticeable color traces. As a diamond has the appearance of color, its price usually drops. 

Diamond color grade is alphabetical: as the letter goes further down the alphabet the price of the diamond will decrease. D is the most expensive. Many online retailers won’t sell L-Z color grade because the diamond quality doesn’t meet quality standards. Keep the wife happy, strive for D to K color diamond engagement rings.

As color grade improves (from Z to D) the price will go up, in a roughly linear fashion.

How Clarity Impacts Pricing

Diamond clarity is the quality of diamonds, called inclusions, and surface defects, called blemishes, that correspond to the nature and visual appearance of a diamond’s internal characteristics.

Unlike color, clarity is not linearly correlated with price. Rather, the scale is almost exponential. Diamonds with incredible clarity on are a little more expensive: they are a lot more expensive. 

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