Diamonds Explained – Everything You Need to Know

The Watch Pages are proud to have joined forces with Mr. Knadjian to bring forth a comprehensive guide on diamonds for those who are eager to learn more about these precious, scintillating gifts from the Earth.

Diamonds Explained – Everything You Need to Know

If there is one man in the world that knows diamonds, it is Vartkess Knadjian, the Chief Executive of the world’s oldest diamond company (est. 1789), Backes & Strauss. Under his leadership over the past 35 years, Backes & Strauss has transformed from a diamond cutting and trading company into one of the world’s finest jeweled timepiece creators, where highest specification diamonds meet with time in its most precise form.

Vartkess Knadjian, CEO of Backes & Strauss
Vartkess Knadjian, CEO of Backes & Strauss

The 4 C’s of a diamond

Over the last few decades, the 4Cs have become the universal language to grade a diamond based on its uniqueness and rarity.

The 4Cs include:

  • The Cut
  • The Colour
  • The Clarity
  • The Carat.


The Cut is significant when it comes to the ‘brilliance’ of a diamond. A perfectly cut diamond, also known as the Ideal Cut, is one with facets of perfect symmetry and balance. This ensures that any light that enters the diamond gets reflected back through its many facets, which will give it that beautiful sparkle which we all love! However, if a diamond is cut too shallow or too deep, then it might risk losing some of this sparkle through the light leaking from the bottom facets. Most popular diamond cuts will have somewhere between 50 and 58 facets, as this is the range believed to show the stones at their best.

The 10 most popular cuts are:

  • Round Brilliant Cut
  • Princess Cut
  • Emerald Cut
  • Pear Shaped Cut
  • Oval Cut
  • Baguette Cut
  • Cushion Cut
  • Radiant Cut
  • Trillion Cut
  • Heart Shaped Cut
  • Asscher Cut
  • Marquise Cut

The cut of a diamond by Backes & Strauss


White diamonds also known as colorless diamonds can fall under a wide variety of shades. These are demonstrated on a scale ranging alphabetically from D to Z.

  • D being completely colorless (white) and the rarest
  • Z having a light yellowish shade, which is more common
  • Any color beyond Z would be considered a colored diamond. These colors can range from green, blue, yellow, brown, red, and even pink!

Diamonds explained by Backes & Strauss, Color

Due to the extreme conditions that cause a diamond to form under the Earth’s crust, each diamond inevitably contains some internal inclusions and or blemishes on the surface. The fewer of these a diamond has, the higher the clarity.

There are five different ranges and 11 clarity grades that these can fall under:

  • F-IF being Flawless or Internally Flawless, less than 1% of diamonds are F clarity
  • VVS1-VVS2 being Very Very Slightly included, the minuscule inclusions are difficult to see even for a trained eye under a 10X magnification
  • VS1-VS2 being Very Slightly Included, inclusions range from difficult to visible under a 10X magnification
  • SI1-SI2 being Slightly Included, inclusions are noticeable under 10X magnification
  • I1-I2-I3 being Included,

Clarity of a diamond explained by Backes & Strauss


Lastly, ‘Carat’ is the universal term used to describe the weight of a diamond. 1 Carat is equivalent to 0.20 grams.

Carats of a diamond explained by Backes & Strauss

Pricing a diamond

The market is the ultimate price maker for polished diamonds.

However, the 4 C’s play a vital role in arriving at valuing a diamond.

  1. Colour-: A Colourless diamond is worth a lot more than a diamond that has a tint of yellow or brown in its hue. However, as soon as the color becomes intense, the value goes up. 
  2. Clarity: A diamond that has no impurities when checked with a 10x loupe is known as Internally Flawless – these diamonds are valued higher than the various degrees of impurities in the stone.
  3. Carat: The value per carat for larger diamonds are higher as they are rarer and more desirable. The price per carat rises exponentially the bigger the diamond is.
  4. Cut: A Brilliant Ideal Cut diamond with perfect proportions, symmetry with perfectly aligned facets are valued more as they would lose more weight when polishing from rough diamonds. Also, diamonds with fancy shapes- Ovals, Radiants, Princesses are generally valued less than round brilliant diamonds as they retain more weight when polishing.

Hearts & Arrows

Backes & Strauss’ expertise lies in the Round Brilliant Cut, also known as the Ideal Cut, which shows the Hearts & Arrows pattern when viewed through a special diamond loupe. This formation of Hearts & Arrows is only visible because the diamond has been polished to a perfect symmetry and all the angles are perfectly aligned and in proportion. It is because of this Ideal Cut that the light entering the diamond refracts at its maximum.Backes & Strauss, Diamonds explained hearts & Arrows

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