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Education Center

Helping You Choose the Right Piece of Diamond

Remember the Four C's of Diamonds

Buono Jewelers is pleased to help you choose the best diamond for your budget. Diamonds are priced on what is known as the Four C's: Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight. The more you know about the Four C's, the better prepared you will be in selecting the right diamond.


When a diamond is cut at correct proportions, light will reflect from one mirror-like facet to another and disperse through the top of the stone, resulting in a brilliant display. Diamonds that are cut too shallow or deep will lose light through the sides and bottom of the stone and may have a dark center. Cut grades include:

Ideal cut: Represents roughly the top 3% of diamond quality based on cut. Reflects nearly all light that enters the diamond. An exquisite and rare cut.

Very good cut: Represents roughly the top 15% of diamond quality based on cut. Reflects nearly as much light as the ideal cut, but for a lower price.

Good cut: Represents roughly the top 25% of diamond quality based on cut. Reflects most light that enters. Much less expensive than a very good cut.

Fair cut: Represents roughly the top 35% of diamond quality based on cut. Still a quality diamond, but a fair cut will not be as brilliant as a good cut.

Poor cut: Diamonds that are generally so deep and narrow or shallow and wide that they lose most of the light out the sides and bottom. Buono Jewelers does not carry diamonds with poor cut grades.


Diamond color is graded on a scale from D to Z. Truly colorless stones are rated D and are extremely rare. Value starts to drop significantly at grades L, M, and N, and then increases again at the very end of the spectrum, which includes fancy diamonds that can be yellow, blue, pink or any other color.

Diamond color is rated on an alphabetical scale:
  • Z-N: Noticeable color. Not carried by Buono Jewelers.
  • M-K: Noticeable color. Not carried by Buono Jewelers.
  • J-I: Near-colorless. An exceptional value with slightly detectable warmth or tone.
  • H-G: Near-colorless. Color difficult to detect unless compared side-by-side against diamonds of better grades. An excellent value.
  • F-E: Colorless. Minute traces of color can be detected by an expert gemologist. A rare diamond.
  • D: Absolutely colorless. The highest color grade. Extremely rare. 


Virtually all diamonds have some type of inclusions or flaws. The difference in the clarity of stones depends on the naked eye or only when magnified 10 times under a microscope. The locations of the flaws are also important. Clarity is a graded on a scale with flawless (F) or internal flawless (IF) at the top, followed by VVS1 and VVS2 (very slight inclusions), SI1 and SI2 (very slight inclusions), and I1, I2 and I3, which means inclusions are visible to the naked eye. The smaller the number, the fewer the inclusions. Diamonds any lower on the clarity scale are not considered gemstones and used mainly for industrial purposes.

The diamond clarity scale rates diamonds as such:
  • FL, IF Flawless, Internally Flawless: No internal or external imperfections. Internally Flawless: No internal imperfections. Very rare.
  • VVS1, VVS2 Very, Very Slightly Included: Very difficult to see imperfections under 10x magnification. An excellent quality diamond.
  • VS1, VS2 Very Slightly Included: Imperfections are not typically visible to the unaided eye. Less expensive than the VVS1 or VVS2 grades.
  • SI1, SI2 Slightly Included: Imperfections are visible under 10x magnification, and may be visible with the unaided eye. A good diamond value.
  • I1, I2, I3 Included: Buono Jewelers does not carry diamonds of I-grade clarity

Carat Weight

The carat is a unit of weight derived thousands of years ago from the relatively constant weight of the carob seed. Carats are divided into 100 points. The carat weight is the size of the stone and has no bearing on the color and clarity of a diamond.
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