Buying a Diamond Engagement Wedding Ring
Considering the size of the investment, it is amazing how little time is set aside to research diamond engagement ring prior to making a purchase. If you think of big purchases made in a person’s lifetime (i.e. automobiles, homes) hours upon hours are spent carefully considering available options. The same time and effort should be put into deciding upon an engagement ring. The most effective method used to properly compare engagement rings and classify diamonds is the 4 C’s: Carat, clarity, colour, and cut. Understanding the 4 C elements that are most important for your situation will allow you to quickly narrow your search and help Jewellers provide you with effective customer service.
CARAT Refers to the weight of a diamond. Carat is often confused with size even though it is actually a measure of weight. One carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams. One carat can also be divided into 100 “points.” A .75 carat diamond is the same as a 75-points or 3/4 carat diamond. Since larger diamonds are found less frequently in nature, a 1-carat diamond will cost more than twice a 1/2-carat diamond (assuming color, clarity and cut remain constant).
CLARITY Refers to the presence of inclusions in a diamond.Every diamond is unique. Nature ensures that each diamond is as individual as the person who wears it. Naturally occurring features—known as inclusions—provide a special fingerprint within the stone. Inclusions are natural identifying characteristics such as minerals, appearing while diamonds are formed in the earth. They may look like tiny crystals, clouds or feathers.
To view inclusions, jewellers use a 10x magnifying loupe. The position of inclusions can affect the value of a diamond. Inclusions are ranked on a scale of perfection, known as clarity, which was established by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The clarity scale, ranging from F (Flawless) to Included (I), is based on the visibility of inclusions at a magnification of 10x.
COLOR Refers to the degree to which a diamond is colorless.Diamonds are found in almost every color of the rainbow, (fancy colours) but white-colored diamonds remain most popular. Diamonds are graded on a color scale established by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) which ranges from D (colorless) to Z.
Color differences are very subtle and it is very difficult to see the difference between, say, an E and an F. Therefore, colors are graded under controlled lighting conditions and are compared to a master set for accuracy. Truly colorless stones, graded D, treasured for their rarity, are highest on the Diamond Quality Pyramid. Color, however, ultimately comes down to personal taste. Ask a jeweler to show you a variety of color grades next to one another to help you determine your color preference.
CUT Refers to the angles and proportions of a diamond.Nature determines so much about a diamond, but it takes a master cutter to reveal the stone’s true brilliance, fire and ultimate beauty. Based on scientific formulas, a well-cut diamond will internally reflect light from one mirror-like facet to another and disperse and reflect it through the top of the stone. Diamonds that are cut too deep or too shallow lose or leak light through the side or bottom, resulting in less brilliance and ultimately, value.
Cut also refers to shape—round, square, pear, or heart for example. Since a round diamond is symmetrical and capable of reflecting nearly all the light that enters, it is the most brilliant of all diamond shapes and follows specific proportional guidelines. Non-round shapes, also known as “fancy shapes,” will have their own guidelines to be considered well-cut.
Taking the time to understand the key elements of a diamond (carat, clarity, colour, and cut) ensures you are an informed consumer equipped with the right tools to make a purchase you and your loved one can be proud of.