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A Consumer Guide to Diamonds
Today the 3Ps are as important as the 4Cs.

Beyond the 4Cs

Until recently, gemology answered every question you might ask about diamonds. The 4Cs were the key to understanding everything you needed to know about the most brilliant of gems. But today consumers have some additional questions about the path a diamond has taken to market.

Twice since the beginning of 2006, jeweler Hillary Stern has faced a diamond third degree for which her gemological education had not prepared her.

A customer wanted to know if I could guarantee that the diamonds I was selling were free of scandal, Stern relates. What do you mean by scandal? I asked. You know, conflict diamonds, she answered. I assured her that my diamonds came from people who did not buy from terrorist groups. Prove it, she said.

When I regained my composure, I offered to call the supplier of any diamond she chose and get his verbal assurance that the diamond was conflict free. Oh, for the good old days when understanding diamonds was only about the 4Cs.

Those days are gone.

Since 2000, the jewelry industry has added to its traditional emphasis on the 4Cs what might be called the 3Psa new trinity of factors needed for consumer confidence in diamond purchases:

  1. Product integrity.
  2. Proof of performance.
  3. Moral and ethical principles.

Yes, color, clarity, cut, and carat weight are still important value factors, but many consumers today are asking for even more. The best jewelers today are going beyond the 4Cs to provide many other levels of assurances that diamonds are not only beautiful but are authentic and have had a positive impact on the country where they are mined. (see images 1 & 2)

Good Diamonds

Diamonds are the worlds most coveted and concentrated store of gem wealth. These shiny, tiny mineral morsels are easily concealed, a breeze to transport from one place to another and, alas, a fabulous fundraiser for rebel armies and despotic governments.

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Diamond ring
Image 1 - Diamond ring from the Rose collection by Dalumi.
Image 2 - Ring featuring a Crisscut center diamond by Christopher Designs.
diamond ring bridal set
Image 3 - Bridal set featuring marquise-like shaped Calla cut diamonds from Nelson Jewellery.
diamond circle necklace
Image 4 - Diamond circle necklace featuring a Lady Heart three-stone diamond pendant from David Arabov & Sons.
diamond engagement ring
Image 5 - Princess cut diamond engagement ring by Amy Levine.
diamond earrings and pendant
Image 6 - Earrings and pendant with Rand ideal cut diamonds from Rand Diamond.
swirl diamond pendants
Image 7 - Stylish swirl diamond pendants from Stuller.
cut diamond
Image 8 - Under very favorable, high contrast white illumination, the ideal cut diamond is capable of emitting fire from every facet of its crown. Photo by Michael Cowing, ACA Gemological Laboratory.
diamond engagement ring and wedding band
Image 9 - Diamond engagement ring and wedding band from Uneek.
diamond engagement rings
Image 10 - Engagement rings featuring invisible set diamond side accents from Jewelex.
diamond brilliance
Image 11 - The Isee2 light measurement system from Overseas Diamonds gives diamond brilliance, fire, and sparkle ratings.
14k white gold engagement ring with baguette diamonds
Image 12 - Semi-mount 14k white gold engagement ring with baguette diamond sides from Dora Wedding Bands & Rings.
rose and white gold diamond ring
Image 13 - Rose and white gold diamond ring by Doron Isaak.
heart shaped diamond pendant
Image 14 - Heart shaped diamond pendant by Uneek.