The Diamonds Grading History from an Idea to an Institution

If you are reading this blog, odds are you have heard the of the 4 C’s of diamond evaluation before. Well have you ever wondered where the 4 Cs came from? Well, as I don’t have as strong a background in the history of the jewelry industry as others and being a little curios, I decided to do a little investigation on the subject. I found out not only where the term came from, but what exactly the 4Cs are and it all starts in the 1940’s.

Robert M. Shipley

Robert M. Shipley: Founder of the Gemological Institute of America

The beginnings of the 4Cs were laid out by Robert Shipley, founder of the Gemological Institute of America. Originally based out of the Shipley home in 1931, the GIA continued to grow through 1940 when Richard T. Liddicoat, who is recognized as the “father of modern gemology”, joined the staff. It wasn’t until 1953 that Richard introduced the GIA diamond grading system which was a practical approach to grading the quality of diamonds on the basis of color, clarity and cut.

So what are the 4Css? Let’s start with Carat. A carat weight is the unit of measurement based on a base unit of 100 points. So that being said, a diamond with .50 carats is considered a 1/2 carat diamond. Next let’s move to color. The color of a diamond ranges from a scale of D meaning colorless to Z meaning near colorless. Clarity measures both any internal inclusions as well as any external blemishes. The final C is Cut. Cut measures the brilliance and fire of the diamond, in other words, the “sparkle” factor.

So now you know a little more about the 4Cs. If you are interested in learning more about them, I recommend you visit the GIA online at gia.edu. They have a wealth of information on the subject. For any additional questions you may have about the 4 C’s or for more on any specific piece offered at Kranich’s Jewelers, visit Kranichs.com or call 888.944.4575 and we will be happy to help you.

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