Does the thought of purchasing a diamond ring overwhelm you? Don’t think you know enough about certifications, clarity, grading scales and colors?
Understanding the “4 Cs” of diamonds is the first step in your education process. Once you understand each of the 4 Cs – Carat Weight, Color, Clarity and Cut – and how these characteristics affect value, you are officially no longer a novice. Let Family & Co. Jewelers help guide you through the basics: “the four Cs”, the importance of a certification, and of course helping you select the perfect engagement ring mounting.
Diamond Cut: First, do not confuse diamond “cut” with “shape”. Shape refers to the general outward appearance. Cut refers to the diamond’s reflective qualities. The diamond’s cut is perhaps the most important of the four Cs; and can influence pricing by as much as 25%. A good cut gives a diamond its brilliance, which is that brightness that seems to come from the very heart of a diamond. The angles and finish of any diamond are what determine its ability to handle light. In a poorly cut diamond, the light that enters through the table reaches the facets and then leaks out from the sides or bottom rather than reflecting back to the eye.
Diamond Clarity: Most diamonds contain some inner inclusions that occur during the formation process. The visibility, number and size of these inclusions determine what is called the diamond clarity. Diamonds are graded for clarity under 10x magnification. Grades range from: ‘F” Flawless, ‘IF’ Internally Flawless, no internal flaws but some extremely minor surface flaws, ‘VVS1-VVS2’ Very Very Slight inclusions very difficult to detect under 10x magnification, ‘VS1-VS2” Very Slight, ‘SI1-SI2’ Slightly Included, ‘I1-I2-I3’ inclusions visible under magnification as well as to the human eye.
Diamond Color: Because a colorless diamond allows more light to pass through it than a colored diamond, colorless emit more sparkle and fire. Diamonds graded G through I show virtually no color that is visible to the untrained eye.
We recomend examining some diamonds and setting your lower threshold. On the color scale, you want a stone that appears white and bright with no obvious tint of yellow. This starting point is different for round diamonds and fancy shapes. In our experience, for round diamonds this threshold is typically the I or J color range. In fancy shapes, the starting point is typically in the G or H range. Another thing to keep in mind is the color of the engagement ring. Platinum and white gold deserve a whiter diamond than a yellow gold ring.
Carat Weight: Carat is the easiest of the 4 Cs to understand. Diamonds and other gemstones are measured in carats and points. There are 100 points to a carat; think of 100 pennies in a dollar.
Diamond Certifications: The certificate is a “blueprint” of a diamond; it describes the exact details of the diamond’s 4 Cs. A certificate is not the same thing as an appraisal. It describes the quality but does not place a monetary value on the gem. Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the American Gem Society (AGS) are the two most widely regarded and recognized grading labs in the world. All certificates are not created equal; some other labs have been known to be lenient in their grading of the 4 Cs. Read our other blog: All "certs" are not created equal.
In the end; you should select a diamond that YOU find to be beautiful. The four Cs are important; but beauty is what truly matters in a diamond.
So come to Family & Co. Jewelers for that special Diamond that says “I Do”.
And just for fun; my favorite song about diamonds.