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.
How do naturally colored diamonds end up with some of the many amazing hues that we attempt to recreate in much more common colorless stones? In truth, there are a number of factors that must fall into place in order for the Earth to create these colorful treasures naturally. Here’s a brief overview of the conditions necessary to create these fancy gemstones.
You probably know that diamonds are created by carbon that is both heated and compressed, then pushed to the surface of the Earth (or close to it), resulting in the colorless stones that are the bread and butter of the diamond industry. However, no diamond is perfect, and it is the impurities in the stone that can cause coloration. This works in a couple of ways. First, carbon is rarely found in a completely undiluted state. Often there are other elements in the vicinity that can lead to slight discoloration in the finished product, which is why colorless diamonds are so desirable.
However, even rarer than completely colorless diamonds are those that display the intense color indicative of mass amounts of some other element in the environment. Boron, for example, will lead to rare blue hues in diamonds while nitrogen will produce the much more common yellows and browns. Radiation will produce a green color (uh, kryptonite, anyone?) and unusual stresses that trap electrons in the stone are thought to result in pink or reddish hues. But that’s not all there is to it.
Flaws within the stone can magnify or even cause coloration because of the way light entering the stone is refracted. For this reason, a stone that is already colored may be more appealing with a flaw since it can greatly enhance the color, pushing it into the class of a “fancy colored diamond”, which makes it exponentially more valuable.
It’s pretty interesting that the impurities and flaws in diamonds can actually add to their value, but remember that they have to achieve fancy color status in order to be worth more. If the color is pale in a stone, it will hold a low value since it is neither colorless nor saturated (making it one of the most common geological blunders). So before you buy a rare colored stone, make sure it meets proper standards of rarity so that you get a diamond that is as valuable as it is desirable.
Diamonds that are naturally colored undergo a very interesting process. As you probably know, the creation of a single diamond is a concentrated and particular process. The formation of diamond crystals from carbon matter is thought to take millions of years, and scientists now know that these precious stones are actually formed in the upper mantle of the Earth, so far below the surface that we actually can’t reach them. So they may grow in fits and spurts over the course of hundreds of millions of years or they may only take weeks to form under the intense heat and pressure. In any case, they find their way into the upper layers of the Earth’s crust through a process of underground volcanic eruptions, the likes of which have not been seen, well, ever (at least not by man). This is why diamonds are a rare and finite commodity.
But what makes them colorful (or colorless)? While the main component necessary for diamonds to form is carbon, there are often other elements at play that can radically affect the composition of a crystal. A natural stone that only contains carbon will be perfectly colorless. But when nitrogen is added to the mix, for example, you’ll end up with a yellow diamond. And the presence of boron will produce bluish tones. Almost any color can be created under the right set of elemental circumstances. However, there are a number of other factors that also come into play.
Inclusions can dramatically enhance color. While they are considered undesirable in colorless stones (and noted as flaws), they can actually add depth and intensity to a diamond that already has some color. The most brilliant tones are produced as a side effect of an inclusion. Then there are environmental factors that come into play. For example, more intense heat and pressure can exacerbate the process, which is why colored stones can range from pale to extremely saturated tints. Radiation in the immediate environment can cause a diamond to take on a greenish hue, and in the case of pink diamonds, the coloration is thought to be the result of intense stresses on the stone during formation that cause electrons to refract light at the red end of the spectrum.
Because the circumstances required to alter colorless diamonds is so precise, it’s no wonder that these stones are so precious and valuable. They make up only a small percentage of diamonds that reach the retail market every year, and like anything rare, they can be quite expensive. For this reason, most people still prefer the tried and true colorless or nearly colorless stones that are recognized around the globe as diamonds.
All of us are inspired by the beauty of diamonds. These rare stones, mined from the very depths of the earth, are visually compelling. In general, diamonds are often considered devoid of intrinsic color. Their clarity is seen as the epitome of perfection.
This is not a casual observation of the uninformed, but the sight of a well cut diamond set in an appropriate reflecting natural light that instills awe into most observers.
The diamond is capable of a magnificent spectral display, due to natural scientific refraction of white light into its constituent ‘rainbow’ colors. In addition to this refraction, and the resulting myriad of color, there is another component: Fluorescence.
Color is just color right?
Well, sort of. Diamonds come in few colors; all of them are transparent so the refraction of light is maintained through the yellow/blue-tints found in some stones. In general diamonds are white (i.e. colorless). Regardless of their actual color, diamonds have fluorescent qualities.
Fluorescence is a means by which the energy from an electromagnetic wave (i.e. light, in this discussion) is stored in a substance (i.e. a diamond) and re-transmitted at a different frequency. In layman’s terms, this means light hits a diamond and is re-emitted as a different light. This re-emitted light is called fluorescence.
In diamonds the fluorescent emission is rated by examining experts and a part of the grading process. The internationally accepted grades are: inert, faint, medium, strong, very strong.
These grading are self-explanatory but it is important to know these facts before fluorescence is considered as a purchase criteria;
· Diamonds do not all fluoresce. In fact only 35% do
· Of the 35%, most are blue-fluorescent (97%)
· Of the 3% that are not blue-fluorescent, green/Yellow/Red are potential colors, but many shades in-between are possible. These are rare and expensive stones. Professional advice should be sought when purchasing these stones as some can produce a milky (and unattractive) view when viewed under certain lights. These are named “overblues” and although rare, are not sought after.
· Strong blue fluorescence has the effect of yellow cancellation, so these stones produce a much more desirable visual spectrum. Yellow tinted stones which can fluoresce in blue can make an otherwise less attractive yellow diamond into a very pleasing gemstone.
Many fluorescent diamonds, especially when mounted in jewelry, exhibit dullness or cloudiness when viewed in certain background lights. When examining such stones, varying light sources including sunlight should be used, before a purchase is made.
Diamond fluorescence is a complex science, but in the world of diamonds, a fairly straightforward quality grading process. At the end of the day, the ‘eye is in the beholder” – but note that the highly fluorescent diamond is not necessarily the best!
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.