Gemological Characteristics - The Four C's
Diamonds have been used as gemstones since antiquity. Today, they are the gem of choice for decorative jewelry of all types.
Beginning around 1900, those who were involved in the gem industry called gemologists developed methods of describing or grading diamonds based on the characteristics most important to their value as a gem. In time, four of these characteristics took prominence and became known as the four C's: carat, clarity, color and cut.
There are three major non-profit gemological associations that "certify" diamonds:
Gemological Institute of America (GIA) - One of the first laboratories to issue modern diamond reports - held in high regard by gemologists for its consistent and conservative grading
American Gemological Society (AGS) Not as widely recognized nor as old as the GIA, but regardless having an - excellent reputation
Diamond High Council (HRD) - Official certification laboratory of the Belgian diamond industry - ISO 9002 certified - Very popular in Europe where its reports are recognized as legal documents.
The four C's are used today by consumers to select the diamond that is just right for them.
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