Choosing a ring isn’t really as simple as pointing to the one in the window that looks prettiest. Jewelry, especially a diamond is a major investment just like buying a house or a car. There are a few things that you need to know so that you get a stone that is not only beautiful to look at it is also a true gem of value beyond sentiment.
Just like you may need the assistance of a good mechanic to help you check out a car before you buy it, you may need the help of a good gemologist or an honest jeweler to help you find your special gemstone from among the many pieces out there. Like any industry they have their own jargon. You don’t need to learn all their terms but you do need to become familiar with the four C’s of a diamond’s quality.
Cut is the first and most important C in choosing diamonds. There are two aspects that determine a diamonds cut. The first of which is the shape of the stone. This aspect is quite literally the geometrical shape that the artisan has chosen for the stone in order to bring out the most of its inner beauty. The stone can be shaped into your basic round or into fancy ones such as the oval, marquise, pear, emerald, princess, asscher, radiant, heart or triangle.
The artisan creates facets as they shape the diamond. The facets are flat faces that reflect light off of each other, creating the sparkle that women love, which jewelers call brilliance. If you’re lady is one who looks for brilliance, check out the round, princess or radiant pieces.
As the artisan shapes the stone, his skill shows the quality of the gem. A truly skilled artist will bring out the true beauty of the piece with precision and careful crafting. The highest grade given is ideal. Next is very good then good then fair and lastly poor. The difference in the grades translates to thousands. Unless you are filthy rich, you can actually select a stone ranked good that will look as beautiful as an ideal to your lady, the difference after all isn’t visible to the naked eye.
Next C is Clarity. Every diamond has imperfections. Imperfections are called inclusions if they are within the stone and blemishes if they are on the outside. The fewer imperfections there are in the stone, the higher its grade. The rarest are the flawless (FL) diamonds which have no imperfections whatsoever. Aside from flawless diamonds can be internally flawless (IF), very, very slightly imperfect (VVS-1 or VVS-2), very slightly imperfect (VS-1 or VS-2), Slightly Imperfect (S-1 to S-2) down to imperfect (I-1 to I-3).
To see the imperfections, you need to use a 10x loupe, a tool that your jeweler should have ready just for this purpose. Finding a gem without any imperfections is not only difficult, it’s expensive. You can get a VS-1 and save yourself a lot of money and still have a rock that your girl will love.
Most ladies like the pale colored diamonds, the kind they’ve always seen in the movies. Lately though, thanks to Hollywood celebrities, there is a demand for diamonds in pink, red, even blue. The real question here is: what would your lady like? Is she a traditionalist or a non-conformist or a fashionista? That may tell you what shade to get.
Generally speaking though, the more colorless the stone the more expensive it will be. Gemologists grade the color by letter, the highest being D. The differences in color of stones that are graded from D to H are barely noticeable to the naked eye. Again, you can have major savings from getting a lower grade.
Now, they say bigger is better. In diamonds, this may not always be true. Each diamond is weighed in a metric system called Carat – the 4th C, which is measured by 100 points. This is the least important of the 4C’s. No matter how big a stone is if it isn’t well cut, it will still be less beautiful and less valuable than a diamond of lower carat but better crafted and more brilliant. The most popular is still the one carat diamond. After all, not everybody needs to have a ring like Catherine Zeta-Jones’ 10 carat gem 🙂