When making any purchase, having enough information is crucial. However, when making a once in a lifetime purchase like an engagement ring, you need to be an educated buyer. At Adiamor, we want our customers to make smart purchases. To help our busy customers who are also very much in a hurry, we’ve put together this guide to the four c’s: cut, clarity, color, and carat.
Cut Is King
The single most important factor in buying diamonds is the cut. However, cut is not the shape of the diamond as most people initially think. Diamond cut actually refers to the quality of cutting the raw, mined diamond into its final form. Essentially, the higher quality the diamond’s cut, the higher quality (and therefore, the more expensive) the diamond. The highest quality cut is affinity, then the rankings move to excellent, very good, good, and then fair. For customers looking for the most value, choose a cut rated “very good” or “good.” Customers looking for the most fire and brilliance should choose “excellent” or better.
Some Clarity on Diamond Clarity
All diamonds have internal characteristics, just like a fingerprint. Diamond clarity refers to these internal markings, also known as blemishes. Diamonds that are “eye clean” contain no blemishes that can be seen by the naked eye. These “eye clean” diamonds therefore offer customers the most value. However, these diamonds may still show markings under 10x magnification. When searching for the highest quality diamond, the best clarity rating is flawless followed by by internally flawless then very very slightly included (VVSI). Diamonds rated as slightly included are inspected by gemologists to be certain they are eye clean before they are placed into engagement rings.
Although fancy colored diamonds are rare and valuable, most customers are after a sparkling diamond that is actually colorless. Colorless diamonds are the most rare, and therefore the most expensive. These diamonds are graded D through F. However, near colorless diamonds in the range of G to J offer great value. When mounted in a custom engagement ring, a near colorless diamond will appear virtually colorless.
The All Important Carat Weight
Carat weight refers to the actual size of the diamond. Carats are a unit of measurement equal to 200 milligrams. Additionally, each carat is divided into 100 points; this means a half-carat diamond can be referred to as a “50 pointer.” When determining which size diamond is right for your ring, consider the ring setting and diamond shape along with personal preference. Many customers find a one carat diamond is the ideal size for modest engagement ring. Customers looking for larger center stones tend to enjoy diamonds that are at least 2 carats.
Reference this complete diamond ring glossary for a better understanding of engagement ring styles.
You and your loved one are talking marriage, and that has you dreaming up the perfect engagement ring.
There are more than a few engagement ring styles to choose from, and you want to find the one that suits you (or your loved one) best.
Curious to know what’s out there? Hoping to get the diamond ring lingo down before you start shopping for yourself, or your loved one?
In any case, our diamond ring glossary has it all.
Here’s What You Need to Know About Engagement Ring Styles…
Understanding Diamond Quality
The Four Cs
Created by the Gemological Institute of America, the four Cs are the four characteristics to consider when evaluating and purchasing a diamond.
The cut accounts for a diamond’s proportion, symmetry, and polish.
The diamond’s cut affects its brilliance (the brightness of the white light reflections on the surface and inside), fire (the dispersion of the white light, registered to our eyes as flashes of color), and scintillation (the sparkles seen when it moves in the light).
Diamonds come in a variety of colors – white, blue, pink, and even yellow.
Pure, or nearly pure, diamonds are colorless and have the highest color ratings. Diamonds with traces of yellow, gray, and brown are rated less highly.
Diamond colors like blue, pink, and yellow, are graded on their own scale. Usually the more vibrant their natural tone, the more valuable the stone and the better the color rating. Since they’re rare, these fancy diamonds can be even more valuable than the pure colorless diamonds with the highest color ratings.
Diamonds are like snowflakes. Each one is different.
Formed by extreme heat and pressure deep within the earth, they come with small imperfections on their inside (inclusions) and on their surface (blemishes).
The clarity assesses the extent to which these inclusions and blemishes are present.
The more inclusions and/or blemishes a diamond has, the less brilliantly it will shine. This is because these marks interfere with the light’s pathways through the diamond.
At the same time, though, a couple microscopic inclusions can make your diamond unique. It’s all in the balance.
Most think of carat as size. But carat is technically a unit of weight. It’s the most common unit of weight that diamonds are measured and sold in. 1 carat equals 0.2 grams.
Unlike the other 3 Cs, a diamond’s carat rating is not always so proportional to its value. A larger diamond may have large inclusions and blemishes or a lackluster color grade. This can drive the price below a smaller diamond of top-notch clarity and color.
Some more diamond terms that are useful to know…
Crown – the top half of the diamond
Pavilion – the bottom half of the diamond
Table – the flat surface that is the uppermost part of the diamond
Facets – the smooth surfaces that have been cut, polished, and angled to reflect light
A round diamond with 58 facets is the most common diamond cut.
A princess diamond is a square- (sometimes rectangular-) shaped diamond. It is the most common fancy diamond cut.
An oval-shaped diamond is still classic, like the round shape, but just a touch more distinctive.
A marquise diamond is an oval-shaped diamond with pointed ends.
A pear-shaped diamond combines the round and marquise shapes. Only one side is pointed.
An emerald diamond is a rectangular-shaped diamond with small rounded edges, long tiered facets, and a large table.
An asscher diamond is a square-shaped diamond with step facets to a high crown and a small table.
A radiant diamond is a square- or rectangular-shaped diamond with minimal rounding of the edges.
A cushion diamond is a square-shaped diamond with rounded edges, like a pillow.
A heart-shaped diamond is an ultimate symbol of true love and romance.
The shape of the diamond will determine so much about diamond size and the ring setting. So, think about shape first.
And if you’re buying for your loved one, ask about their shape preference. You wouldn’t want to choose a larger fancy diamond if your loved one has dreamed of a petite classic round for as long as they can remember.
Yellow gold is a pure gold alloyed with yellow metals like copper and zinc to produce a yellow color.
Like all gold, yellow gold is measured for purity in karats (not to be confused with carats). The higher the karat count, the purer the gold content and the softer the metal. 14k (just shy of 60% pure gold) and 18k (about 75% pure gold) are the most common counts for engagement and wedding bands. 14k bands are lighter and more durable, while 18k bands are weightier and more precious.
Historically, yellow gold is the most common color for engagement and wedding bands.
Yellow Gold Metal Tip:
The purest of the gold colors, yellow gold is the most hypoallergenic gold choice, so the safest gold choice for those with sensitive skin.
White gold is a pure gold alloyed with some white metals like nickel to produce a white/silver color.
These days, white gold is as popular as traditional yellow gold for engagement and wedding bands.
White gold is cheaper than platinum, another popular white/silver metal.
White Gold Metal Tip:
If you have a sensitivity to nickel, white gold might give you an allergic reaction.
Rose gold is a pure gold alloyed with copper to produce a rose color.
It’s not as common as white gold and yellow gold, so it’s usually cheaper than similar yellow and white gold options.
Rose Gold Metal Tip:
If you have a sensitivity to copper, rose gold might give you an allergic reaction.
Platinum is a naturally white/silver colored metal, which may also be combined with a small amount of other white/silver metals. Anything less than 95% platinum is considered a platinum alloy.
It’s a very dense metal that is stronger and more valuable than gold. The finest jewelry metal around, it rings in at a premium price point.
Platinum Metal Tip:
It’s the most hypoallergenic choice of the four metal types.
Can’t choose just one band metal? You can always mix and match your ring.
On Engagement Ring Settings
You’ve got a sense of the diamond shape and size plus the band metal you want. How will you bring the diamond and band together in a setting?
A solitaire setting features a single central diamond secured to the band by prongs or a bezel. It’s the most common of all engagement ring styles, so perfect for someone who loves a classic look.
A halo setting features a single central diamond surrounded by a ring of smaller diamonds. This ring of smaller diamonds makes the central diamond appear bigger and give the ring lots of shine.
A pave setting features a band that is paved with tiny diamonds. The band is fully or partially paved. Either way, the path of tiny diamonds winds toward the central diamond(s). A pave setting is about as sparkly as an engagement ring gets.
A three-stone setting features a central diamond flanked by two smaller diamonds on either side. The smaller the side stones are the larger that central diamond will appear.
A gemstone setting features a gem other than a diamond, or a mix of diamonds and other gems. A common gemstone setting is a three stone setting with the central diamond flanked by two non-diamond gems. The color of these gems pop, and help the central diamond pop a bit more, too.
A split-shank setting is a band that splits apart as it reaches the central diamond. There’s visible space between the band and the featured diamond, which can make that diamond appear fuller. Often this setting is paired with a pave setting. The split band has even more surface area for the paving of tiny diamonds – and, so, even more sparkle.
A modern setting steps outside the most common engagement ring styles by mixing and matching them in original ways. It’s usually an angular look, too. So if you’re (or your loved one is) someone looking to stand out a bit, and who likes straight lines more than curves, see what you can find or design yourself.
A vintage setting is best for someone who wants to throw it back. Like a modern setting, they’re a good way to stand out from the crowd. That said, they’re usually daintier and softer looking than modern settings, especially where the band design is concerned.
Need some help finding or creating the perfect engagement ring?
We’ve helped many couples, who are now happily married, with their engagement ring styles search. And we want to make your engagement ring dreams come true next.
Work with us to find your favorite engagement ring style, or to combine some of your favorite engagement ring styles to create something spectacularly you (or your loved one). With help from our experts, you can create an engagement ring that no one else has.
When it comes to buying a diamond for that special lady in your life, whether it is an engagement ring, a pendant, a bracelet, or some classic studs, size is not everything…but it’s a lot. If you choose a diamond that’s too small, she might have to pull out a magnifying glass every time she wants to admire it (and it’s not very impressive to all of her friends, either). If, on the other hand, you buy a rock that’s way too big, she may not wear it for fear of theft (plus, most women are wary of looking ostentatious). Choosing the right diamond requires a lot of thought, but if you follow a few simple guidelines, you should be able to pick the right stone for every occasion.
1. Under ½ carat. This size is really only okay for everyday diamond studs (earrings), a tennis bracelet, or a diamond necklace (not a pendant, a string of small diamonds…although each diamond should be up to ½ carat, not the necklace as a whole). While this size looks great embellishing a larger central diamond on a pendant or ring, it’s really too small to stand alone.
2. Up to 1 carat. Properly presented, a 0.5 – 1 carat diamond can work fine for an engagement ring, although this size is really better for a nice set of earrings. You can do a strand of stones for a bracelet or necklace, just be aware that it might detract from your lady’s natural brilliance.
3. Between 1 and 2 carats. Not too large and not too small, this tends to be the preferred size for engagement rings. You won’t break the bank and she’ll have an adequately sized sparkler to wow her gal pals.
4. Between 2 and 3 carats. Now you’re getting into pendant range. A stone this size sported solo on a bare neckline will make draw attention, but not detract. You can use it for a ring, but it could be considered a bit flashy. If you really want to give her an experience of wide-eyed awe, buy a matching set and make them into long drop earrings.
5. Over 3 carats. If her idea of a good diamonds is “the bigger the better”, then you can’t go wrong with anything over this benchmark. It may not be tasteful, but it will certainly garner attention.
When most people think about diamonds, they also think of “The 4 C’s.” The 4 C’s are the measuring tools used to determine the quality of a diamond. The GIA developed the 4C’s in order to be able to objectively compare these unique and beautiful stones. The 4C’s: Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat are described below. It is important to understand the different parts that make the whole, as each portion contributes to the value of the diamond, and helps you understand what to look for when purchasing a diamond.
CUT –The shine and brilliance of a diamond depends on the cut. The cutting and polishing of the facets effect the way light is reflected. The value of the cut is determined by how well light enters and is then dispersed. The grade is a reflection on how well the diamond cutter measured his cuts to present the best light reflection. It’s what makes the diamond sparkle and is often the most important element. It is important to note that “Cut” does not refer to the shape of the diamond.
COLOR – Diamonds come in all kinds of colors, but usually one is referring to white diamonds. The best color rating is actually no color at all. Colorless diamonds allow light to pass through them more easily, ranging from colorless to light yellow. The subtle differences effect the value of the diamond due to the color’s effect on light dispersion. The diamond is viewed facedown using a light that is equivalent to daylight. The color presented is measured against the GIA’s color grading scale to determine how much yellow is in the diamond as compared to a set of master stones. The scale ranges from D to Z. D is the highest rating, having no color. E and F also fall into the colorless category, being colorless to the naked eye. The G to J range includes a hint of color and are near colorless. J to M includes diamonds that you can see faint color with the naked eye.
CLARITY – Clarity refers to flaws viewed at 10x magnification. The scale ranges from Flawless to Imperfect 3. Diamonds sometimes have blemishes (on the surface) and usually do have inclusions (internal small flaws,) which interfere with light dispersion through the diamond. The fewer imperfections, the better the grade, and the more beautiful the diamond. The size, number, position, nature, and color of the various imperfections all effect the Clarity grade. These various imperfections were actually caused by nature in the diamond’s creation. Diamonds are almost completely made out of carbon. However, other minerals or small bits of carbon can be trapped while the carbon is cooling.
CARAT – Carats are the weight of the diamond. Diamonds and other gemstones are measured in metric carats. One carat is the equivalent of 0.2 grams. A carat is divided into 100 points. A 50-point diamond weight 0.50 carats.