The 4C’s is the method used for rating diamonds, and the more you know about them, the better off you’ll be when you make your next diamond purchase



The brilliance of your diamond comes from the way it reflects light from its many faceted surfaces and refraction of light from within, a result of symmetry. The better the proportions, the greater the dispersion and fire. Its value and beauty comes from reflecting and refracting the maximum amount of light possible. This feature is not addressed by most diamond merchants, yet it can be as much of the third of the value.


A diamond’s value increases dramatically with each level of color quality. Although many diamonds are, or appear to be, colorless, most contain tints of yellow or brown in varying degrees.


With powerful magnification, you can find microscopic crystals or minerals (called “inclusions”) inside almost every diamond, giving each diamond its own unique personality. The size and number of inclusions affect the value of the diamond, especially if they are eye-visible. Even though minute inclusions can reduce the cost of a diamond, they do not mar its beauty.

Carat Weight

Size is the most visible factor that determines the value of a diamond, simply because larger stones are rarer than smaller ones. A diamond’s size is established by measuring its weight in “carats”. Each carat contains 100 “points” so a diamond weighing 150 points would be described as 1.50 carats.

Cos Altobelli is a third generation jeweler and president of Altobelli Jewelers in Burbank, previously located in North Hollywood for 60 years. His specialty is appraising for all functions and acting as an expert witness.

He holds a graduate degree from the Gemological Institute of America and the title of Certified Gemologist Appraiser from the American Gem Society, is the author of three appraisal books, and has appeared on “Prime Time Live” several times.

Mr. Altobelli can be reached at (818) 763-5151.

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