Friday, July 3, 2015

How To Buy An Engagement Ring: Part 2 (The 4 C's Of Diamonds)

This post is written by Pete. For all his posts, check out this link.

Wondering how to buy an engagement ring? Or just curious about what your man went through? Pete is writing a series for us on How To Buy An Engagement Ring. Below is part two of the series. You can check out Part 1 here.

How To Buy An Engagement Ring

When buying a diamond you want to think about the “4 C’s” – carat, cut, color, and clarity.

Carat: I think a good place to start is to decide what size and shape diamond you want to get, because size and shape will determine how you will determine the other three “C”s. I decided on the size of the diamond I was going to get by using the following complicated formula: 1 carat is ridiculous and obnoxious and basically says, “Hey everybody. Look at my finger. Come hold me up at gunpoint at take my ring!” On the other hand, half a carat is a little small and says, “My fiance had no idea how expensive a diamond was going to be.” With that being said, I decided on a ¾ carat round diamond. Lisa preferred a circular shape, but there are many shapes to choose from. Only three C’s left. Yaaaaay!

Cut: The cut of a diamond refers to the shape (square, round, etc.,), but more importantly the way it reflects light. The type of cut will determine the overall appearance of the diamond – the way it sparkles and its brilliance. There are five different cut grades: poor (please don’t waste your money), fair (acceptable for diamonds less than .75 carats), good (best value), very good, and excellent. A good thing to keep in mind that under normal lighting, a “very good” diamond looks very similar to an “excellent” diamond, but is a lower price. 

If you're on a budget, a diamond of fair to good is where you want to focus. The diamond might have less of a sparkle, but you can get a larger diamond for a smaller price.

Color: I was surprised to know that diamonds actually come in a variety of colors (pinks, blues, even yellow). However in a white diamond, the presence of a yellow tint will lower the price of a diamond. A true white diamond will reflect true color, making its value (and cost) more.

White diamonds are graded on a scale of D (colorless) through Z (light color). Any D to Z diamonds are considered white, even though they contain colors other than white. Colored diamonds (which are meant to look yellows, pinks, and blues, but not white) are graded differently.

The chart below (taken from here) shows how a white diamond is graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA):

diamond colors

Stick with the G to J diamonds. To the naked eye, those don't show any discoloration. For a larger diamond, stay close to G and H; for a smaller diamond, you can get away with I and J.

And the final “C” is:

Clarity: "Clarity refers to the degree to which (natural) imperfections are present" in a diamond. according to the GIA. These imperfections are referred to as “inclusions” and “blemishes”. Inclusions and blemishes interfere with the path of light, so the diamond isn't as brilliant.

There’s an easy chart for this too, thanks to the GIA:

diamond clarity

VS1 and VS2 are the most popular diamond. Without any tools, these look flawless -- and cost a fraction of what actually flawless diamonds cost. The next most popular is the SI1, which has inclusions, but they're not significant. In diamonds under 1 carat, you can go with an SI2 grade. That’s what I did, and Lisa’s diamond looks amazing. In diamonds under 1 carat, clarity should be considered the least important of the “4 Cs”.

Okay fellas, hope that helped. Now stop procrastinating. Crack open those wallets and do the right thing!

BRIDAL BABBLE: What type of diamond is in your ring?

1 comment:

  1. My husband did a great job in choosing the perfect ring to suit my style. He actually had no help at all, just took hints over time from me. Guess they do listen lol. And a yellow diamond is so pretty! Awesome post to learn about cuts, carats, and colors of diamonds.