How to Pick a Beautiful Engagement Ring: Your Guide to the 4 C’s of Diamonds
If you’re looking to buy a diamond for an engagement ring or another special event, you’re going to want to understand the 4 C’s of diamonds. This guide will help you master what the C’s are, why they matter, and help you walk away with a beautiful diamond!
The average price of an engagement ring has risen to just under $6,000 USD, and the average groom takes about 3 months to make a final decision on his bride’s ring and diamond.
If you’re looking to spend that much money and that much time–doesn’t it seem like you should be pretty well-informed as to what you’re getting yourself into?
While their intentions are usually good, many grooms go into the ring-buying-process without all the information they need; totally understandable, considering how much technical stuff there is to understand and remember!
Remember that an engagement ring and its diamond are a significant investment and you should know everything you can about your purchase-to-be before taking the leap.
The 4 C’s of diamonds are the perfect place to start. Here they are!
When discussing the cut of a diamond, we’re talking about the ways in which the diamond has been shaped. This includes things like symmetry, proportions, brilliance, and those tiny finishing details.
The GIA‘s cut grading scale spans along Ideal, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor cuts, and critically considers the ways in which a diamond’s cut enhances or detracts from its potential beauty. When buying a gorgeous diamond, you should always aim for “Excellent” or “Ideal.”
Since cuts and their impacts can vary hugely from one diamond to the next, it’s important to understand how the cut affects the specific stone at hand. Be sure to read more on the cut and shape of diamonds before making a purchase!
Why Cut Matters:
The bottom line when it comes to the cut of a diamond is that this characteristic has a great effect on the other 3 C’s and the quality of the stone overall.
Even the most gorgeously colored 2-Carat diamond can go to waste if not cut really well, so as to enhance its natural beauty. The cut of your diamond is the thing that determines the whole stone’s focal point, and overall, the sort of statement it makes.
Without an expert cut, your diamond will never reach its full potential.
When it comes to a diamond’s color, we’re actually aiming for the most colorless diamond possible. This quality is determined on a scale from D to Z, with D being the most colorless (and most desirable), and Z being a diamond with very obvious brown or yellow touches.
Many times, small impurities in a diamond’s color aren’t noticeable to the naked eye when the diamond sits on its own. If this is the case, then yay, you’ve found a winner, since these impurities in color are probably reflected when it comes to the diamond’s price.
While there are some diamonds that are sold because of their color, like rare pink or green diamonds, in general, you should always opt for the most noticeably colorless diamond your budget allows.
Why Color Matters
Color, and paying really critical attention to color, matters for a lot of reasons when it comes to choosing that ideal diamond.
While a diamond’s color may look fine under one of those little handheld microscope things, what you’ll really need to consider is how the diamond’s color interacts with the setting you choose. If you decide on a diamond with pretty good color, but find that, once it’s been set into its band, it seems, well…off, you’ll probably need to reevaluate.
The color of some diamonds can cause an interference with light reflection–throwing away all your hard work and consideration of the diamond’s cut.
Maybe one of the most difficult diamond qualities for the untrained eye to judge is clarity; that is, how free of blemishes and inclusions a diamond is. Clarity is determined using a long scale ranging from “flawless” to “inclusions, 2.”
You should, of course, aim to purchase a diamond with as few flaws as possible. The good news is that, while a diamond may suffer a few blemishes, many of the ones that technically affect a diamond’s clarity aren’t actually visible to the naked eye.
You should look closely at a diamond that’s said to be anything less than flawless. If by looking very carefully at the diamond, you don’t notice the diamond’s blemishes interfering with the stone’s light reflection, you’re probably good to go!
Why Clarity Matters
While clarity is often a difficult quality for the non-expert to assess, it can often have a big impact on the diamond’s appearance.
Depending on size, darkness, and placement of a diamond’s blemishes, these can have a significant negative effect on the look of the diamond overall. It can ruin the careful cut of your diamond and muddy the beautiful color of it.
Perhaps one of the most widely-known and somewhat understood aspects (although this characteristic is usually pretty wrought with misconceptions) of a diamond is its carat.
Many believe that a diamond’s carat refers only to the size of the diamond–how big it looks once placed into its setting. But in reality, a diamond’s carat doesn’t have much at all to do with its cut and how big it looks from its topmost plane. A diamond’s carat is determined, rather, by how much the stone actually weighs.
A diamond’s top surface area may appear modest–but if the stone is cut deep enough, there’s still a chance it could ring in well over a carat. A 1-Carat diamond is equal to 200 milligrams, or 0.2 grams in weight, no matter how it’s been cut.
Why Carat Matters
Lots of people regard a diamond’s carat as being of the utmost importance when buying a diamond. To an extent, of course, carat is an extremely valuable quality. You want the diamond you purchase to seem significant, to sit in its setting without being dwarfed.
But carat is only valuable if the diamond also possesses an ideal cut, gorgeous color, and brilliant clarity. In many cases, a 2-Carat diamond that’s lacking when it comes to the other 3 Cs will be far less eye-catching than a 1.5-Carat stone that’s bright and cut well.
Want More on the 4 C’s of Diamonds?
When it comes down to it, the world of diamonds is complex and fascinating.
If you’re in the market for a diamond that’ll look stunning in that engagement ring setting you chose, it’s important to understand the impact of each of the 4 C’s of diamonds and to choose wisely based on this knowledge.
Remember that the 4 C’s should work together to make a diamond brilliant overall and that no single C is The Most Important One.
For more info on diamonds and all things pretty, check out the rest of our content!