When it comes to buying an engagement ring it is important to know about the “4 Cs” of diamonds: cut, clarity, color, and carat. These four characteristics are used to measure the quality and determine the value of a diamond.
The cut of a diamond is the most important factor in determining the beauty and value of a diamond. Cut has a significant effect on the overall beauty of a diamond. When a diamond has an “ideal cut” the light reflected from the diamond is unobstructed and has an overall effect on the brilliance, scintillation and sparkle of the diamond.
Clarity is determined by internal imperfections of a diamond called “inclusions” and external imperfections called “blemishes.” Both blemishes and inclusions can diminish the light as it passes through your diamond and some can even be seen with the naked eye. The clarity of a diamond is measured on a scale ranging from F (Flawless) to I (Included).
The most valuable white diamonds have no color at all. Most diamonds have some tint of yellow or brown in the body of the stone and generally the more color, the lower the value (fancy colored diamonds are the exception). The color grade of a diamond is based on a scale ranging from colorless (D) to deeply colored diamonds (Z).
The carat weight of a diamond is often thought of as the size but is literally the weight of the stone. One carat is divided into 100 points (like a dollar is divided into 100 pennies) so a diamond weighing ½ a carat is 50 points, written “0.50 ct.”
Often referred to as “the 5th C” the diamond certificate is your guarantee that the 4 Cs of the diamond you are considering have been determined by a reputable laboratory. Not all certificates are valid; since anyone can print a certificate and offer their opinion on the grade of a diamond it’s important that the certificate comes from a reputable independent laboratory. The best known independent laboratories are the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and AGS (American Gem Society).
Buying a diamond engagement ring can be stressful but here at Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers our expert sales associates will give you all the information you need to make an informed decision. After 31 years of helping our customers to invest in the best quality diamonds, we are experts on the 4 Cs!
* images via GIA