4 C’s of Diamonds
How to Choose
Adapted from: Gabriel & Co.'s How To Choose
Choosing an engagement ring should be fun. There are 4 things you need to know:
The "heart" of the ring and usually the most valuable component.
The choice of metal determines color and durability.
Showcases the center stone. With thousands of choices, it's the most stylish and unique aspect of the ring.
Stone, setting, and metal determine the price.
Along with all the excitement that comes from just getting engaged, also comes the revelation of what the ring looks like. For most, the center stone is what will catch the eye. The Diamond on her finger should uniquely express how pure and everlasting the love between you truly is. So when shopping for that special ring, for that special someone, it is important you know what to look for to make the right decision.
The manner in which the diamond is cut will determine its brilliance.
The less color you see, the better. Colorless will have a greater value.
A diamond with few imperfections will be more valuable and have a higher clarity grade.
Measurement of the mass or weight of the diamond.
The cut of a diamond is believed to be one of the most important characteristics of a diamond. The manner in which the diamond is cut is in reality what will determine its brilliance. A good cut will be one that reflects most of the light that enters the diamond making it shine and sparkle more than a poor cut diamond, in which the light escapes and does not reflect as much.
The quality of the cut of a diamond depends on several aspects of the cut: Brightness, Fire, Scintillation, Weight, Ratio, Durability, Polish, and Symmetry. The cut is not to be mistaken for the shape; it is determined by mathematical equations, which have been performed for centuries. Diamonds need to be polished and cut with precise proportions in order to make it a good cut. The more precise, the larger and more brilliant the diamond will appear.
Overall, we can say that it is the cut of the stone that has the most affect on its appearance and determines its true beauty.
When it comes to color in a diamond, the less color you see, the better. A diamond that is mostly colorless will have a greater value than one who has more hue. Although most diamonds are not completely white, it is best to try to get as close as possible to a stone that lacks the most color in order to get the most value.
Color is determined by the chemical composition of the molten mass that makes the diamond. For example a diamond may have a yellow color because there was nitrogen incorporated in the chemistry. The intensity of the color is directly proportionate to the amount of trace elements present. If there is less trace of the element present, then the less color the diamond will have.
The color of diamonds is classified by grading scales. A color grade of D is the highest, or the most transparent, while a grade of Z is the lowest, or the one with most color.
Clarity refers to inclusions or imperfections found internally in a diamond. These imperfections can be anything from small cracks inside the diamond to even pieces of crystals from other materials. From all of the characteristics, clarity is the one that has the least impact on the physical appearance of the diamond because most of these imperfections are not visible to the naked eye.
It measures the degree of surface and internal inclusions that can appear white, black, colorless, red or green. Factors that may affect the clarity of a diamond are the size, color, visibility and number of inclusions. A diamond with few or no inclusions will be a more valuable diamond and have a higher clarity grade.
Although many people believe that carat solely refers to the size of a diamond, what it actually measures is the mass or the weight of the diamond. If you want to measure to the size of a diamond, you will have to take into account the carat weight, distance across the top of the diamond and the cut.
The measurement of the carat weight is frequently expressed in points. For example, One carat is 100 points, which is equal to 1/5 of a gram. This is similar to a Karat, (with the letter K) which is the unit measure of gold.
You should also keep in mind the difference in the labels of carat. For example, Ct is the symbol for the weight of a single diamond. However, ct TW is the total carat weight of the entire piece, which may include multiple diamonds.
There are various ways in which the center stone can be placed on a ring. Some even allow the stone to seem larger than what it actually is. There are a variety of settings available in the jewelry industry, below are some of the most common settings for engagement rings.
In a channel setting the stones lay side-by-side forming a continuous row and are settled into a metal channel or pathway.
A bezel setting is when the stone is completely enclosed by metal making it completely secure. It is usually known for its longevity and simplicity. This setting can accommodate any diamond shape.
The pave setting consists of many small stones being set close together, creating a brilliant surface. A good setting will not have any stones raised above the surface, the surface should be completely smooth and the stones evenly set.
This is the most common and traditional setting used for an engagement ring. This setting exposes the stone, allowing the maximum amount of light to enter the diamond. The prong is lifted above the shank, making the stone completely visible and attractive.
Not all metals can be used in its purest form when used in jewelry. This is because metals can be either too hard or too weak and usually must be combined or alloyed with other metals to make it more durable. Some metals are rare and more expensive while others are more common and affordable. Yet, each metal has unique characteristics that can make it appealing to any individual.
What makes this metal so desirable is its durability. In jewelry it is used almost in its pure form. Unlike other metals, platinum is resistant to most damage. Although it can still be scratched like other metals, it is not damaged the same way as the rest. Its hardness and strength do not allow the metal to chip and will allow it to maintain its color and brilliance the same.
Unlike white gold, platinum is a mostly white metal that does not need to be plated. Since platinum is a rare metal and isn't easily found, it is usually more expensive and more valuable than gold. Platinum weighs a lot more than gold and its durability makes it last a lifetime.
Gold in its pure form is too soft for everyday use, so it is combined with a mixture of other metals to make it more durable. Gold is an enduring metal that is naturally yellow, but it is also the most malleable. The natural beauty of gold is its workability, high value and is one of the world's most important metals when it comes to jewelry.
Gold is a good conductor of heat and electricity and is unaffected by air and most reagents. Heat, moisture, oxygen, and most corrosive agents have little effect on gold. To ensure you are getting real gold, be sure that your piece is stamped. By law real gold should have a karat stamp on the piece. (Karat is the measurement used for gold, not to be confused with Carats which is used for diamond weight)
This metal has become more popular because it has a similar look to platinum, yet it is more affordable. White gold has the same components as yellow gold, however it is mixed with different metals such as nickel, zinc and palladium, which give it the whitish color.
White gold is usually plated with rhodium, which is a hard element. Although rhodium can begin to wear away with time, and the yellow gold it contains can make it develop a yellow tarnished tint, white gold can always be re-plated and restored to its original appearance.
You can also have a piece that will have a combination of the different metals. For example, the ring may have white gold and yellow gold or white gold and rose gold giving it a two-tone look. Or some may even have more than two different metals combined.
Although true love does not come with a price tag, price can definitely be a factor when making that special purchase. You want to make sure you get the best that you are able to get for such a significant moment in your life.
As you shop for your ring you will see that all the components from the stone you choose, to the setting you like and which metal you prefer, will all take part in how much you will spend. It is important you know your budget. What can you afford and what are you willing to spend? This will put you a step ahead in the process of choosing that special piece for the one you love.