Unique, high-quality, long-lasting – these are the qualities we look for in an engagement ring. When we start shopping for diamond engagement rings, however, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. There are lots of technical terms used by jewellers to describe diamonds. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to buying a diamond engagement ring to help you make the best choice for your special moment.
Buying Diamonds – The 4Cs
Whenever you look at diamond engagement rings for sale, you will often see the 4Cs: Cut, Colour, Clarity, Carat. If you’re looking for the perfect engagement ring, it’s important to understand what these are.
When jewellers assess the cut of a diamond, they examine the angles and proportions of the gem. The cut of a diamond tells you how much it sparkles – surely a vital part of any engagement ring? Jewellers grade the cut of diamonds on a scale from Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, Excellent, to Ideal.
The colour of a diamond is rated from D to Z. D is the most colourless and therefore the rarest type of diamond. Diamonds with a Z rating will have a noticeable yellow tint. Colourless diamonds are the most expensive and have an elegant shine. That’s not to say there is anything wrong with yellow diamonds – a cheaper yet still stylish alternative for engagement rings.
Every diamond has external blemishes and internal imperfections (also known as inclusions). Diamonds with fewer blemishes and inclusions are rarer and more valuable. Jewellers usually grade the clarity of diamonds on an 11-point scale. At the bottom of the scale are Included diamonds – diamonds that have obvious inclusions when viewed under 10x magnification and won’t be as transparent and brilliant as diamonds with better quality. At the top end of the scale are Flawless diamonds.
Carat is the term we hear the most when talking about diamonds – but it’s not necessarily the most important. The carat of a diamond is its weight and not its size – although high carat diamonds are usually larger. You can buy a high carat diamond engagement ring but it may not have a great cut or clarity. This is why it’s important to consider all 4Cs of diamonds when buying an engagement ring.
This guide has provided a quick overview of how diamonds are graded. When buying diamond engagement rings, you’re likely to hear the terms cut, colour, clarity, and carat. Diamond engagement rings are a life-long purchase, so an understanding of the 4Cs will ensure you don’t go into the purchase blind.
There are, of course, other factors to consider when buying an engagement ring, like size and style. These come down to the size of your or your partner’s ring finger and what style would suit them best – both incredibly individual aspects of an engagement ring. Understanding diamonds, however, is the part of engagement ring buying that often confuses us – so save this guide and refer back to it if you need to remind yourself of the 4Cs!