Selecting the engagement ring you'll propose to your significant other with is an important decision and often times choosing the diamond that will be the center stone feels like an even larger task. You want to have confidence in your diamond like the confidence you have in the person you're proposing marriage to!
There are many questions that come to mind when selecting an engagement ring, the most frequently asked questions we receive usually revolve around the diamonds of the ring. What are you suppose to look for when buying a diamond? How do you know which qualities of a diamond increase or decrease the value? How can you ensure that you are getting the best deal for the stone you are buying?
For most diamond buyers, finding the “perfect” center stone is quite the daunting task. However, there is a system that lays out the most important factors of a diamond: The 4 C’s of the Diamond Grading System.
Created in the 1940's by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), The 4 C’s outline a diamond’s quality in four simple categories: Carat, Cut, Color, and Clarity.
When searching for a diamond at the right price for your budget, make sure to keep these 4 C's in mind:
- A diamond’s carat weight is the measurement of the diamond’s weight.
- This is a very precise system of measurement, as it can describe the stone’s weight to the hundredth decimal place.
- A diamond’s price increases with carat weight.
- Fun Fact: The average carat size for an engagement ring’s center stone is roughly 1 carat; for the entire ring, this tends to total around $6,000.
- The cut of a diamond is extremely important in a diamond’s sparkle and beauty.
- Not to be mistaken with the shape of the diamond, the cut refers to the arrangement of facets that outline the stone itself.
- A diamond that has a poor cut may appear dull even if it has a perfect clarity and color grade.
- When looking at diamonds to potentially purchase, try to focus on the pattern of light and dark areas. An equal light-to-dark pattern is considered ideal, increasing the diamond’s quality and rarity.
- The cut is the most complex characteristic of a diamond, making this “C” crucial when it comes to recognizing a high-quality diamond.
- The color of diamonds refer to the absence of color in the stone (when shopping for a white diamond, ideally you want as little yellow in the stone as possible).
- Diamonds increase in value when color is absent from the stone. Look for diamonds with the color-scale rating between letters D-J. Diamonds ranging from color K and beyond have a warm yellow to brown color which will be less expensive.
- Since diamonds form as a result of extreme heat and pressure within the earth, most stones contain unique blemishes and inclusions.
- Clarity refers to the amount of these blemishes and other markings.
- It is important to note that no diamond is perfect unless graded flawless or internally flawless, but some are more pristine than others when placed under magnification.
- The clarity scale ranges from “flawless” to “included” with diamonds that rank towards flawless usually correspond with the highest prices. Ideally, you want a diamond that is "eye-clean" which means you cannot see inclusions with a naked eye.
Diamonds are incredible due to the fact that every single diamond is unique. Most people believe the Cut of a diamond is the most important factor while others believe the Color is most important. Everyone has their own opinion regarding diamonds, but understanding the Carat, Cut, Color and Clarity of your potential diamond will give you complete confidence in knowing the true complexity of the diamond you are gifting your significant other or purchasing for yourself!
The expert design team at Michael E. Minden Diamond Jewelers can walk you through the 4 C's by showing you examples of each category with our diamonds. We are here to educate our customers of the true value behind what they are purchasing. Schedule an appointment today with our design team to learn more about diamonds for yourself!