Diamonds are every girl’s best friends. Be it a necklace, an earring or that BIG diamond engagement ring. Women can never have enough diamonds. As symbolic it is to own the diamonds, it is important to know the 4 C’s of diamonds, to make sure what you are indulging into is real. If you’re a guy and you’ve just decided to get engaged to the love of your life, your mind is probably swirling with excitement and anticipation. But before you start planning the wedding, you need to think carefully about what kind of engagement ring you’re going to get your bride-to-be. Choosing an engagement ring is about more than just making your partner happy; it’s about financial planning and making a sound investment. After all, most couples can’t afford to spend a fortune on an engagement ring, especially if there’s a costly wedding right around the corner. Before you make an impulsive decision, take a moment to learn about the factors that you should consider when choosing an engagement ring.
The 4 C’s of Diamonds and Why They’re So Important
If you don’t know what the 4 C’s of diamonds are, be grateful that you’re learning about them now before you walk into a jewelry store. Having even a rudimentary base of knowledge of what determines a ring’s value will help you save money and avoid overpriced rings that you might later regret. To begin, let’s start with the basics. The 4 C’s are a grading system that’s used to determine the value and the quality of diamonds. They include:
- Cut: the overall finish and proportions of the diamond.
- Color: the color of the diamond including any natural tones or hues.
- Clarity: whether or not the diamond has any blemishes or inclusions.
- Carat: the weight of the diamond as measured in metric carats.
This system was designed to give dealers and consumers a uniform way of examining the value of diamonds and other precious stones and gems. Choosing a diamond is really about how you combine the 4 C’s, mixing and matching the right qualities until you find a high-quality ring that won’t wipe out your savings account. Let’s dive into each of the four C’s of diamonds, their individual pros and cons, and how they interact to make up the overall value of an engagement ring.
The cut of a diamond does not refer to the diamond’s shape, but rather the finish of the diamond in terms of its proportions and how these characteristics interact with the light. A craftsman is responsible for cutting the diamond in a way so that the light will reflect within the tiny fragments of the stone, emitting a certain sparkle that catches the eye. The cut affects just about every element of the diamond’s appearance. For instance, you could have a gorgeous, top-shelf diamond with a lackluster cut that dramatically limits the stone’s overall appeal. On the other hand, you could have a smaller stone with a truly captivating cut that captures the light in just the right way, making the stone more valuable to the consumer.
When you walk into the jewelry store, see if you can tell which of the stones in front of you is the most likely to catch her eye. You’ll probably find yourself staring at the diamond with the better cut. When you hold the ring, position the diamond at different angles and see how the light reflects inside the stone. It’s usually better to put more weight on cut than any of the other 4 C’s. Consider how the light is reflected in the diamond before you decide to buy a ring.
The color grading of a diamond moves on an inverted scale. The less color a diamond has, the more valuable the stone becomes. Completely colorless diamonds are considered the rarest of the bunch. Others range from shades of blue, brown, yellow, and pink. Appraisers usually use a scale of 1 to 10 when determining a diamond’s color. A 10 represents a complete lack of color, while a 1 would be used to classify a diamond with light color.
When you’re in the jewelry store, take a careful look at the diamond’s color. Remember that light reflects in the diamond, which means that nearby surfaces such as a gold jewelry case could make the diamond look more colorful than it actually is. Try holding the diamond up to the light and get away from any colored surfaces that could mislead the eye.
Obviously, we can’t all afford colorless diamonds, but you can save money by being more discerning with your color selection. Always be skeptical if the sales clerk tries to convince you that a bright pink diamond will look good on your fiancé. You should never feel like you’re paying through the nose for a diamond with bright streaks of color.
Clarity refers to the amount of imperfections on a stone such as a blemish or an abnormality that catches the eye. The most valuable diamonds are the ones without any blemishes, or what’s known as flawless diamonds. Determining the clarity of a diamond can be a bit tricky for some consumers. It usually takes a trained eye to weed out any inclusions or blemishes on the stone. Appraisers use a 10x magnifying glass to inspect every detail of the diamond, looking for anything that might be considered an imperfection. If you’re about to drop a great deal of money on an engagement ring, take your ring of choice to an official appraiser and make sure that you’re getting what you paid for.
When balancing the 4 C’s, clarity usually ranks low on the list of priorities. Since so many imperfections are hard to spot with the naked eye, a few blemishes will actually save you some money. If your fiancé had to choose, chances are that she would probably prefer something with a finer cut, less color and a few imperfections.
Of all the 4 C’s, carat is the easiest to understand: the bigger the better. Carats are a unit of measurement used to classify the weight and value of a diamond. One carat equals .2 grams or 1/5 of a gram. Larger diamonds are rarer and more valuable, depending on the cut, color, and clarity. If the other C’s stay the same, the value of a diamond will increase exponentially as the weight increases. A 2-carat diamond will be more than twice as much as a 1-carat diamond.
As much as your fiancé would love a giant rock on her finger, invest in carats wisely. A small upgrade in size could dramatically increase the price. Sometimes it’s better to go with a smaller stone that has less color and a finer cut.
Bringing It All Together
Now that you know the 4 C’s, you can be more discerning about which engagement ring you choose. It really depends on your partner’s taste. She may love the look of a pinkish diamond, all the while not really caring about the clarity or the cut. The 4 C’s are really just a tool that you can use to determine the value of the diamond, so you can rest assured knowing that you’re not paying more than you should. With so much money involved, it’s important that you find a registered appraiser in your area that can help you more precisely identify the value of the stone.