In the market for a diamond? We're here to help.

Confused about buying a diamond? You’re not alone. For those who are on an information overload regarding all of the technical concepts of diamonds, we’d like to make it easy for you. Read on as we discuss the “4 C’s” of a diamond and important things to consider when purchasing.

Carat: Don’t confuse this word with Karat, which instead refers to gold purity. A carat refers to the weight of a diamond. The larger the stone, typically the more rare and valuable it is. Stones over one carat are usually stated in carats, such as 1.03 carats. Stones under a carat are sometimes referred to as “pointers.” If you hear someone say, “that’s a seventy-pointer,” then the stone is .70 carats. As carat weight increases, so does price. However, carat weight is not related to beauty of quality. A smaller diamond can be as beautiful as the largest in the store; that’s where the other C’s play their part.

Color: Color in the diamond industry typically refers to the absence of color. However, diamonds do in fact come in many colors, and the term used to describe them is fancy color. The color of a diamond is measured on an alphabetical scale, starting with the letter D and going up from there. The highest, rarest, and typically most expensive color occurs in the D, E, and F range. Most engagement rings tend to be in the near colorless range of G, H, I, and J. Next is faint yellow, J, K, and L, and finally light yellow as M, N, and O. The fancy colors come in after that, with colors ranging from yellow to blue and pink and even black. The amount of color you see in a diamond largely depends on its size, how it is cut, and whether or not it is mounted. The color of the metal in a mounting can either mask or enhance the color of a diamond; for this reason, we tend to see white metals such as white gold and platinum show off a diamond the best, while yellow gold tends to provide a yellowish cast even if the diamond is near colorless.

Clarity: A diamond’s clarity refers to the degree to which a diamond is free of blemishes and inclusions, which include feathers, crystals, bubbles and carbon spots. Both inclusions and blemishes lower the clarity grade and hence decrease the value of the diamond, however they normally have very little effect on a diamonds’ beauty or durability. In nature, almost nothing is absolutely pure of perfect. Those rare diamonds that are considered flawless are highly prized and highly uncommon. They also present an unnecessary expense to the buyer, as small inclusions do not usually distract from the beauty of a diamond. On the other hand, diamonds that are highly flawed, with inclusions visible to the naked eye, would not make a great choice for an engagement ring, but may be perfect for a pendant or diamond earrings.

Cut: The cut is the human contribution to a diamond, and has a great effect on the other 3 C’s. The way a diamond is cut effects the amount of sparkle that comes out of a diamond. The cut can both enhance the color of a diamond, and hide inclusions. Typically, round brilliant diamonds are top sellers, as this cut allows the most light reflection throughout the diamond and the most sparkle for the viewer. Other popular cuts include princess and emerald, as well as Euro Cut and Mine Cut in vintage stones. So, now that you’re somewhat familiar with the four C’s of diamond buying, you’re ready to start looking. Please do not take everything too literally! What we tend to find most often is that men are too concerned with the technical factors of a diamond, while women are just looking for “the one.” Yes, the four C’s are important. However, this does not mean that everything needs to be absolutely perfect according to the grading standards. For the sake of your fiancée to be, here are some things that you need to understand from a woman’s point of view:

  • The “look” or style is typically the most important to element to a woman. If you haven’t already, it makes sense to shop with her to get a handle on her wishes and what looks best on her hand
  • Size does matter! Most women would prefer a larger stone over a smaller yet perfect one. Many men get hung up on the specs and may even be tempted to buy a perfect yet small stone – a big mistake.
  • Value is Key – Be sure that you understand what exactly you are purchasing and that you trust your jeweler.

Good luck, and may you enjoy your future diamond purchase!