How to Choose the Right Diamond
Will you marry me?
So you've found the right girl and now it's time to shop for the right engagement ring.
You walk into the mall and there is the first jewelry store that you come to. You are taken to the bridal cases and a sea of engagement rings are in front of you. In the first case you find a 1/2 carat with a 3400.00 price tag and in the next case you find a 1 carat with a 2500.00 price tag. It just doesn't make any sense. Isn't a 1 carat worth more than a 1/2 carat?
With a basic understanding of how diamonds are valued using the 4 C's, you will be able to go into the jewelry stores armed with information and a better knowledge of what to ask for.
100 points equals 1 carat
Carat weight is discussed in either points or fractions. 100 points equals 1 carat. 1.25 equals 11/4 carats and so on. Looking at an engagement ring tag, it should read like this. 2 1/2 tcwt with the center diamond being 1 ct. 14k. So what does this all mean. It means that the total carat wieght of the all of the diamonds together on the ring equal to 2 1/2. The center diamond carat weight is 1 carat and it is all set in 14 carat gold. If you are looking at just a solitaire with no other diamond on the band but a center stone, then it would read 1 ct 14k. 1 carat weight set in a 14 carat gold setting.
What makes a diamond sparkle?
The quality of the cut is the one thing that humans can control out of the 4 C's. A poor cut can ruin a beautiful diamond while an excellent cut can enhance the beauty of a not so perfect diamond. The cut designates how the light plays off of the stone. This is what gives us that sought after sparkle. Along with the shape of the diamond and I will get into that later.
The color of a diamond is rated from D (colorless) to Z (significant yellow or brown). Z is not to be confused with fancy color yellow canary diamonds. Fancy diamonds are more rare than white diamonds and have a different rating all of their own.
A colorless diamond is obviously more rare and valuable than a diamond with yellow or brownish tones in it. The ones that you will find at reputable jewelry stores will vary between colorless and near colorless with some having a light yellow for price point.
The thumb print inside of your diamond.
The clarity of a diamond is about what inclusions are present in the diamond and can be seen by the naked eye. The scale ranges from FL (flawless) to I3 (included). Most of the diamonds that you will come across in jewelry stores will be in the SI category which means slightly included.
A jewel setter will often set the diamond so that the inclusions are underneath a prong if possible. There is nothing wrong with this at all and is just a way to have the best part of the stone showing.
Inclusions are natural internal marks that are caused by the growth of the diamond or sometimes outside marks caused from shaping and cutting the stone.
Now what shape is your favorite?
The shape of the diamond sets the whole tone of the ring. Round cut is the most common and popular with the other cuts being considered a fancy cut. Like clothing fashion, the different cuts will go in and out of style. Each cut has its own characteristics and benefits.
Along with diamond cuts, there are different styles of setting them to consider. Do you want just a single center stone or would you like your ring to be dripping in diamonds. It's best to get a feel for what settings that you think would be a good fit before you hit the stores.
Diamonds are forever and so is your love.
Choosing your diamond and then the setting is a very romantic way to say that it is just for her. Most jewelers can create the perfect setting for your loose hand picked diamond. GIA certified means that it has been graded by the Gemological Institute of America. Round diamonds are the cut that sparkles the most brilliantly.
That's it in a nutshell. Now you have enough info to start your search for the perfect engagement ring and diamond that fits what you are looking for.
I hope this clears up any confusion that you might have had and congratulations on your upcoming engagement.