Shopping For And Selecting Diamonds
Purchasing a diamond can be an exhilarating but daunting adventure, particularly for the inexperienced. New buyers can cut down on anxiety by learning about the "Four C's" of diamond classification before shopping.
The Four C's Of Selecting Diamonds
The Four C's of diamond classification are cut, color, clarity, and carat (weight). A stone's combined rating in these four areas determines its overall quality and ultimately, its cost.
A diamond's cut refers to its proportion - or how closely each of the facets matches each other. There are three common cuts - round, pear and oval. There are several variations of each of these three major categories. While some jewelers feel that a diamond's cut is the most important aspect of a stone's quality, others feel it is the least important. Those that think it is the most important assert that a well-cut diamond sparkles so much that it can make up for low color and clarity quality. The opposite viewpoint is that cut can't be seen with the naked eye, and is thus of the least importance.
Wedding Diamond Color
Naturally-colored diamonds range in color from yellow to virtually clear (blue-white). Irradiated or "treated" stones can be almost any color of the rainbow. The closer to pure white a diamond is, the more valuable the stone. It's a good idea to bring a white cloth with you when diamond shopping. Ask to view the stone on the white cloth to get a better idea of a stone's true color. Most jewelers will display diamonds on black cloth, as all stones look "whiter" against that background.
Simply put, a diamond's clarity refers to how clear the stone is. Diamonds range from perfectly clear to occluded, or opaque. As a general rule, smaller diamonds are clearer than larger stones. A large, clear stone can be very expensive. Clarity is also one of the harder elements of stone quality for an inexperienced shopper to judge. If the stone looks good to you, that's really what matters.
Wedding Diamond Carat
The weight of a diamond is measured in carats. Each carat is 1/20th of a gram. Obviously, the larger the stone, the more it will cost. The best choice is to buy a stone that has a solid overall rating - with acceptable levels in all four ratings. Ask the jeweler for a GIA (Gemological Institute of America) certificate when you make your purchase. This is your diamond's pedigree, and ensures you get what you pay for.
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