The time has finally come. You're going to propose. You've got the ring, but you need to find the perfect diamond for that perfect someone. If you've done a bit of looking already you are well aware that choosing the best diamond can be confusing. There are so many diamonds at so many different prices, it may seem impossible to even begin to sort through them all. Fear not, I'm here to give you the tools you need to do just that.
When choosing a diamond there are four guidelines you need to consider:
In the jewelry world, these qualifiers are known as The Four C's and they encompass industry standards for grading diamonds. Every diamond you look at should be graded in this quantifiable way so it is important to have a basic understanding of these if you're going to find the perfect diamond at the perfect price. Seem overwhelming and confusing? Don't worry, here comes the breakdown in three...two...one...
This term refers to the weight of the diamond, and it is how all diamonds are measured. You may, in your diamond-hunting adventures, come across two diamonds that claim to be the same weight, let's say one carat, but look significantly different. Perhaps one looks bigger than the other. You're instinct would be to opt for the bigger stone, right? Well, trust me when I tell you that bigger isn't always better. Why, you say? We must look to the next C for our answer.
The cut of a diamond does not refer to its overall shape (i.e. round, oval, cushion), although this is an important consideration as well. This C actually refers to the proportions of a diamond. A perfectly cut, perfectly proportional diamond will make the best use of light and give you the most brilliance. Read: that perfect cut=that perfect diamond sparkle. Unfortunately, not all diamonds are perfectly proportional. Some are cut "deep"(a disproportionate amount of the diamond's weight at the bottom) and some are cut "shallow" (a disproportional amount of weight across the top of the diamond). This is why you'll find some diamonds look bigger or
smaller than the other despite them being the identical carat weight.
This C refers to the...drumroll please....COLOR of a diamond. Wow. I bet you're wondering why I even bothered to include this. I mean, a diamond is a diamond and they're white, right? Wrong! Diamonds come in all different shades, so pay attention. The diamond color grading system runs from D all the way through Z. The further down the alphabet you go, the warmer or more yellow the diamond color becomes. A good starting point is a stone G-H in color which will give you a diamond in the nearly colorless range. Don't, however, discredit a diamond that is graded a bit lower. If a diamond is cut particularly well, this can make up for the slightly warmer tones.
This is potentially the most confusing part about choosing a diamond so I'll make this as simple as possible. Clarity refers to how many imperfections, called inclusions, are in a diamond. These can range from black carbon spots to white and wispy feathering within the diamond. The further down the scale you go the more imperfections you will see. Diamonds are rated on the following scale:
VVS: Very Very Slightly Included
VS: Very Slightly Included
SI: Slightly Included
My suggestion is to start at the SI range which will give you a stone whose imperfections should only be visible under 10x magnification. So, unless everyone you know is walking around with a magnifying glass, you should be golden.
I know, it's a lot of information to remember so let's review:
•Carat: the weight of the diamond
•Cut: the proportions of the diamond that effect light refraction (sparkles!!!)
•Color: how much color is within the diamond (usually we want colorless) Start at G-H.
•Clarity: how many imperfections are in the diamond. Start at SI.
My final advice to you is this: buying a diamond for the woman you're going to marry is a very personal experience. When you find a perfect diamond that perfectly symbolizes your commitment and everlasting love for that special someone don't let the technical jargon hinder you. You'll know "The One" when you find it. Happy hunting!