For this week’s Wednesday Jewelry Lesson, we will be discussing how to choose the best value for your engagement ring. The last three weeks, we covered how to choose the right diamond shape and how to choose the mounting for your diamond. If you missed any of these posts, you can read them here:
Choosing The Best Value:
There are many thoughts on buying a diamond, but in the end it comes down to what makes you happy or what will make the person you are giving it to happy. There are some people who don’t mind their diamond being a little lower quality, because they want as big of a diamond as they can find, while there are other people who want the perfect diamond.
When you look at diamonds, they are evaluated by the 4 C’s. They are Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat. Here is a little bit of information about each of them and how they affect how a diamond looks.
The first, and to most people believed to be the most important, is the Cut of the diamond. The quality of the cut gives the diamond life and helps it sparkle. When a diamond is cut poorly the light does not refract correctly and the diamond is not as bright and sparkly. There are some diamonds that are cut too “deep” which means the diamond, when looking at it from the side is deeper than normal. This cut causes the light to enter the top of the diamond, bounce around inside of the diamond, and then mostly go out the side of the diamond instead of the top. When a diamond is cut too shallow, the light goes into the diamond and bounces around and then mostly goes out the bottom of the diamond. When a diamond is cut to the right specifications and using the right angles, the light bounces around inside of the diamond and then mostly comes back out the top or table of the diamond, giving sparkle and life to the diamond.
The second one of the C’s is Clarity. The clarity of a diamond is important, with respect to being able to see birthmarks or imperfections with the naked eye or not. Almost all diamonds have some sort of birthmark inside of them, but the key is whether you can see it with the naked eye or not. When you can see a birthmark with the naked eye, it is said to have a clarity of I, for included. When you cannot see anything with the naked eye, but you can pick up slight inclusions under 10 x magnification, the diamond is said to have a clarity of SI, for slightly included. When you get past that, you will find VS (Very Slightly Included), VVS (Very Very Slightly Included), and IF (Internally Flawless). The difference between a VS and VVS stone is so minor that it takes trained professionals to determine the difference and sometimes even the trained professionals cannot agree on it.
The third C is Color. This is of course important, because you want your diamond to sparkle but you always want it to be white, unless it is a colored diamond. The color scale of diamonds starts at D and follows the alphabet up to Z. The ground of D-F is known as a colorless diamond, while the group of G-J is known as a near colorless diamond. The diamonds that are rated from K-N are considered to have a slight tint and you can normally see a touch of yellow in the diamond. The color of a diamond is important because you want it to look as nice as possible, but in the end most engagement rings fall somewhere in the near colorless range, because they are a great looking diamond with a terrific value.
The fourth and final C is Carat weight. Carat weight is the measure of how much the diamond weighs. When a diamond weights near 0.50 ct, it is considered to be a ½ ct and a 1 ct is when a diamond weighs near 1.00 ct. When you look at a diamond, it is important to see how it appears. There can be diamonds that weigh more, but might look a little smaller than one that weighs less, because it is cut a little deeper than the next one. As we talked about before, you don’t want one with a cut so deep that it doesn’t sparkle much, but slight differences in cut can affect how a diamond appears in size to the naked eye.
All in all, as we mentioned before, the most important thing to remember when picking a diamond is to get something you will like or that you will like giving to someone else. The diamond has been and will be a symbol for years to come of love, achievement, remembrance, and celebration, which makes it the perfect gift when promising your love or showing someone how much they have meant and mean to you.
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