Selecting your dream engagement ring is one of the most significant purchases you’ll ever make. Lesson number one: do not settle for mediocrity. Try on several rings to get a feel for quality craftsmanship, and develop an eye for side diamonds that sparkle and quality prongs that will embrace your center diamond. Take a few minutes to study the 4 Cs (Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat) of diamonds below and become an informed engagement ring shopper.
The first C of the 4 Cs is the diamond’s cut. A well-cut diamond will direct more light through the crown. A diamond with a depth that’s too shallow or too deep will allow light to escape through the sides or the bottom of the stone.
The color of a diamond is the next important element of the 4 Cs. The diamond’s color ranges from an icy white colorless to a light yellow. It’s very difficult to tell the difference from one color grade to another color grade. That’s why it’s important to compare diamonds side by side. Colorless is the most rare and therefore the most expensive. Yellow is the least rare and therefore the least expensive.
The Clarity of a diamond is an important element of the 4 Cs. It affects the rarity and therefore the expense. The clarity refers to the diamond’s tiny markings. GIA created a diamond grading scale to help the consumer understand what makes one diamond worth more than another. The grading scale is based on rarity. Flawless is the most rare and therefore the most expensive. Included 3 is the least rare and therefore the least expensive.
The last of the 4 Cs of diamonds is the carat weight. Many people want the largest diamond they can afford. 1 carat is divided into 100 points so that 50 points is 1/2 carat. Although size is an important factor in determining the value of a diamond, the cut, color, and clarity are equally important.