Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but you better know your four Cs |

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but you better know your four Cs

Marriage is an exercise in trust. You should buy your rings at a reputable dealer with your fiance because it’s their marriage, too.

You don’t care what it looks like in a sterile display case. It’ll look different on your finger. And if you find yourself face-to-face with a know-it-all sales person named Bambi spewing gemological jargon, turn and walk away.

You need to know your Four Cs:

– Color

– Clarity

– Cut

– Carat weight

Color: Diamonds come in a wide array of colors, but you’re likely looking for the colorless engagement stone. The scale used to designate color starts at D for colorless and becomes more yellow toward Z. The diamonds after Z, classified as “Fancy Color” are as rare and valuable as their colorless counterparts. Detecting the difference between a prized F diamond and a J might require some training by a certified professional, which is why you need to go see one, instead of trying to buy one online.

Clarity: Clarity and certificate go together because a trained gemologist can use a microscope to map a diamond and use a diamond grading report to detail all of the characteristics of your diamond. Many of the diamonds in this area are already certified. With proper papers you know exactly what you are purchasing, if you know what the information guarantees. Clarity, for instance, is designated on a certificate.

Few diamonds are in the flawless grade. Inclusions, those characteristics that penetrate the stone, and blemishes, confined to the outside surface, are two main criteria used to determine the clarity grade.

Some gemologists prefer to call these inclusions, “characteristics” and not flaws because, like people, each stone will reveal itself once you look deep enough into it. No two diamonds are alike, even if they’re of equal clarity grade. Once again the system is worldwide and accessable. Ranging from Flawless to imperfect there are three grades in between, with a first and second degree of imperfection in each.

Cut: Cut is an amazing marriage of technology and skill. A man ahead of his time, Marcel Tolkowski designed the theoretical perfect cut in 1919, which gives a diamond brilliance and scintillation. Today Tolkowsky’s angles and proportions are considered the “Ideal American Cut” and is employed for cutting dazzling Round Brilliants. Most diamonds cut before 1945 are considered to have a “Mine Cut.” These were made before diamond cutting technology and modern certification came into wide acceptance.

Each Round Brilliant diamond has 58 facets, always. Also there are other cuts evolving such as Princess, Marquise, Pearl Shape, Emerald and Tiffany’s cuts. The more symmetrical the diamond the better its market value.

Another diamond might have odd proportions making it not as choice. Why? When light enters a diamond it is refracted off the inside of the stone. A good cut allows light to enter through the table and bezel faces and then exit through the top again, often in reflected white light and rainbow refractions. A poor shallow cut lets light leak out of the bottom and a steep one lets light leak out of the sides. If you have a diamond and wonder how it measures up, you can have it certified by the Gemological Institute of America.

Carat: Understanding carat brings the understanding that bigger isn’t necessarily better.

Carat is a unit of weight used for diamonds and gemstones. This unit of measure has 100 equal parts called “points.” Each point represents 1/100th of one carat. Following the basic math, 25 points equals a quarter carat, 50 equals a half carat, etc. The standard of measurement is accepted worldwide.

Obviously, if you find an inexpensive 1 carat diamond, consider the other characteristics before you buy it.

Also, consider a few other things before taking a ring home.

When choosing a setting for a ring, consider the lifestyle of the wearer before attaching a diamond to it. We’re an an active bunch here in the mountains and that means choosing a ring that can stand up to it. Reconsider that exposed setting if the diamond is going to get hit or caught while mountain biking or kayaking. Several studios will make exactly what you want. Others have one-of-a-kinds rings on display, ready to slip onto the ring finger. Other jewelers carry branded diamonds that are certified and laser inscribed by the producer for authenticity. The laser inscription can be customized too. It is a bit like having a star named after you; you might need some serious magnification to see it, but it’s there all right.

If you’re still apprehensive, try going online to, or wander into a store, declare yourself a novice and put the people to the test. If you don’t like the rings they’re showing you or the way it’s going, go on to the next place. You’ll eventually find the diamon that’s exactly right for you.

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