Buying a Diamond 101

Allie Ahigian

What to Look For in a Diamond

Popping the question probably has you a little nervous – but you shouldn't feel the same way about shopping for the perfect diamond ring for your lady.

We can help make that part easy.

There are tons of options out there, and even more terminology that looks confusing, which might have you feeling a bit intimidated to walk into a jewelry store.

Want to go in the store armed with knowledge? All you have to remember are “The Four C's,” a popular term in the industry, when you're choosing a diamond.

1. Carat

Even if you're no jewelry expert, you've probably at least heard this important term. It refers to how much the diamond itself weighs. One carat is equal to 0.2 grams. The heavier the diamond, the more expensive it will be. To give you a rough idea, a 15 carat diamond is almost 0.65 inches. That's probably bigger than the width of her ring finger. But as they say, some like it big.

2. Color

There's more to a gem's color than calling it "that whitish one." Actually, did you know the most common diamond color is yellow? You can bet there's likely at least a hint of it in the ring you're eyeballing.

In fact, the Gemological Institute of America’s (GIA) official color grading scale is based on how much yellow is in a diamond. It starts with D, the most colorless, and ends with Z, the most yellow. The lower the diamond falls on the scale, the lower the price will generally be. But the amount of visible yellow can easily be hidden with the right cut.

3. Cut

What gives a diamond its shine? The perfect cut. The most common is a round cut with 58 surfaces, or "facets". This allows the most amount of light to reflect through the diamond. You can be fairly clever here and choose a cut that both adds shine and hides yellow impurities to your diamond. The "Ideal Cut" will mask a subtly-colored diamond in the G through J category, giving it more vibrancy. If done right, it can look even more brilliant than a D color diamond that’s cut poorly.

4. Clarity

This is the internal purity of a diamond, with the scale based on how flawless it is.  These inclusions can be looked at as birthmarks in the stone since the diamond was formed over many years with these imperfections and these imperfections will not change over time. Half of the clarity grades can only be seen under a 10x microscope: "Internally Flawless (IF)," "Very Very Slightly Included(VVS)" and "Very Slightly Included (VS)." You can start to notice imperfections with the naked eye on some "Very Slightly Included (VS)," and then "Slightly Included (SI)," and "Included (I)." These latter grades are called "eye-clean," meaning your girlfriend isn't likely to see any imperfection at all.

Of course, the heaviest, whitest, brightest and most flawless diamond will be the most expensive. It's up to you which of these is the most important trait and where you’re willing to compromise. 

From there, all you have to do is put the diamond into the right band and setting to really show it off best. These metals include platinum or white gold, yellow gold and rose gold, or mixed. You can take note of what color jewelry your girlfriend prefers to wear, and try to match it. If she's not big on wearing trinkets, a platinum or white gold band will accentuate the diamond and make it look more brilliant.

There's lots of choices out there, and one of them is perfect for her. Come in and we will help you find the one!

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