Four C's of Diamonds
by Melissa Young
That engagement ring is going to be a big investment! You want to make sure you are choosing the right ring so that she is sure to say yes. A huge part of that decision is choosing the right diamond. And the only way to do that is to read up on the four C's: color, clarity, cut, and carat.
Color. This isn't a difficult aspect of a diamond to comprehend. The color is something you will easily notice when seeing a diamond. Using letter scores, jewelers grade the color of diamond. D is the highest grade and is rare. This refers to a completely colorless diamond. Technically, diamonds are considered colorless and not white. If you do not need to buy a colorless diamond, you can save money by purchasing a lower graded diamond. Diamonds below D grade have slight traces of color. Most noticeably, diamonds listed as K-N will have slight traces of yellow.
Clarity. Clarity relates to the diamond's perfection. Diamonds with a low clarity rating contain many imperfections (called inclusions) and dull the diamond's shine. Diamonds that are perfect are very rare, and are called Flawless diamonds. But the good news is that inclusions cannot normally be seen unless you view the diamond with a 10x magnification. Clarity is measured using a wording scale that relays how included the diamond is (Slightly Included, Very Slightly Included, etc). Note that if you are on a budget, buying a diamond that is either Slightly Included or Very Slightly Included is a smart choice. They are a great value for your money and you won't be able to see the diamond imperfections without magnification.
Cut. Since the cut directly impacts the shine (or fire) of the diamond, it's the most important thing to consider. Cut isn't really about the shape-like a round stone versus an emerald cut stone. Instead, the cut is about the dimensions of the diamond like its facets and proportions.
Don't be confused by the names for every part of the diamond. Instead, just focus on three things: a shallow cut, a deep cut, and an ideal cut. Stay away from shallow and deep cuts. They will cause light to leak out of the stone, greatly reducing brilliance. When light enters an ideal cut diamond, it will reflect outwards, creating a high shine. Cut is measured using adjectives such as Excellent, Very Good, and Good. All jewelers have a similar naming convention. Avoid diamonds that are not at least a good quality. The diamonds just won't shine-and you will be wasting your money.
Carat. Carat is all about weight-and cost. Since diamonds are normally found in small pieces, larger carats are rarer. And more expensive! Diamonds weigh 200 milligrams per carat. Also, a point system is used for smaller stones, where a carat equals 100 points. Smaller stones are definitely a great deal cheaper than high carat stones. Why? It's all about abundance. Small diamonds are more common than large diamonds. Keep in mind the size of your love's fingers and the shape of the diamond when considering carat. If she has small fingers, you can generally get away with a smaller carat.
Engagement ring shopping will be a breeze now that you've mastered the four C's!
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