Engagement ring 101 is all about the 4c’s. Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat. These are the basics.
The combination of the 4c’s is what determines the cost and the look of your diamond. Let’s take a look at each of these characteristics and how they affect the quality and price of your diamond.
Color: This refers to how colorless, or white a diamond is. The color scale starts at D and goes all the way down to Z. D is a completely colorless diamond. As you go down in the alphabet, you will start to see yellow or brown undertones. For beautiful looking diamonds, we suggest you stay in the near colorless range, which is the D-J color range. It’s nearly impossible for the human eye to detect any hint of color in near colorless diamonds.
Cut: The cut of the diamond doesn’t refer to the shape, but it refers to the symmetry and how well cut the diamond is. This characteristic affects the shine and brilliance of a diamond, it can be Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair or Poor. We suggest you look for an Excellent or Vey Good cut, although a Good cut can create a beautiful sparkle as well, and may help with your budget.
Clarity: Diamonds are a naturally produced stone, so every diamond is unique and most of them have flaws, or inclusions. The clarity of a diamond refers to how many flaws are found in a diamond. The clarity scale is as follows: Flawless, Internally Flawless. These are the highest quality and come with a high price point. Then you have VVS1/VVS2 and VS1/VS2 these are “very very slightly included” and “very slightly included” meaning there are almost no flaws. Then there are SI1 and SI2, “slightly included,” which may have flaws that are detectable using a magnifying loop, but are still high quality diamonds. Lastly you have I1, I2 and I3 diamonds, which have noticeable flaws. For value packed, budget friendly clarity grade, we recommend VS/SI clarity.
Carat weight: This refers to the weight of the diamond. Most people think the carat weight determines how big the diamond looks, although that is typically true, the dimensions count here as well! This characteristic of a diamond is the most personal. Some women believe the bigger the better, while others prefer small and sweet.
How does this all affect the price?
Diamonds are graded and priced with a universal pricing sheet that is first based on the carat weight. For every .5 carat, you jump up in the price chart. The diamond is then priced by the color and cut. Naturally, the higher quality cut and color, the higher the price.
The good news is that diamonds range so greatly, and you can play with combination of 4c’s to find a beautiful diamond that fits in your budget.