The holidays are almost upon us, bringing all their sparkle and shine. I adore this glimmering season of the year. I get to spend quality time in the warm company of loved ones. Plus, the store is constantly brimming with old and new customers.
Because the holidays are so joyous, it’s the perfect time to propose! So many customers come in with questions about buying an engagement ring, particularly finding the right diamond. That’s why it’s a great time to write about what to look for when shopping for a diamond.
So without further adieu, let me introduce you to the 4 C’s: cut, color, clarity and carat. The 4 C’s were established by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in the 1940’s. Since then, they’ve been the worldwide standard by which all diamonds are evaluated.
Let’s start with cut. This is the most important of the 4 C’s because the cut has the most impact on the appearance of the stone. Cut is often mistaken for the shape of the stone, such as round, oval or princess. However, cut is actually how the stone is faceted and proportioned to make the light flow through the gem. It’s what gives the diamond its sparkle. The stone’s cut is the difference between a dazzler and a dud. The GIA grades cut as being Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor. An Excellent cut will glow brightly without any large dark spots. A Poor cut, by contrast, will have large dark spaces which dull its shine. I highly recommend you go for an Excellent to Very Good cut to enjoy the diamond in all its radiance.
Next, you should consider color. Diamonds naturally come in a variety of colors, including gray, white, yellow, green, brown and pink. Yet the rarest and highest quality diamonds are colorless like water. Diamond color is rated on a scale of D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown). Most diamonds in the world have a hint of color but the rarest ones are graded D, E and F. So, while a K-rated diamond may not be considered as high quality as a D-diamond, its faint color might pair beautifully with that yellow gold setting you have your eye on.
Third is clarity. Each natural diamond is unique, having been created deep in the earth by enormous heat and pressure. Therefore, it’s perfectly normal for a diamond to have tiny imperfections, called blemishes and inclusions. Blemishes occur on the outside of the diamond, while inclusions occur on the inside. Both can impact clarity by interfering with how the light passes through the diamond. If there are too many blemishes or inclusions, they can make a stone appear murky. Jewelers use 10X magnification to grade diamond clarity on a scale from “Flawless” to “Imperfect”. While diamonds with no visible blemishes are considered flawless, less than 1% of diamonds are graded like this, making them extremely rare. I’ve always thought a few teeny tiny imperfections added character to the diamond.
Last, but not least, is carat. Many people are confused about carat, believing it’s the overall size of the diamond. Carat is actually the weight of the stone. The word carat comes from “carob” seed, which is the original unit of weight used by diamond traders. Today one carat equals about one paperclip.
If you put two 1-carat diamonds side-by-side, they could have a completely different cost, depending on the other 3 C’s. A 1-carat diamond with an Excellent cut is probably going to cost more than a 1-carat diamond with a Poor cut, for instance. Color and clarity will also impact the price of these two diamonds.
Just as Dazzling
So far I’ve mostly spoken about natural diamonds, but lab-grown diamonds are equally as marvelous. They are chemically the same as natural diamonds, yet instead of being created deep in the earth, lab-grown diamonds are crafted in a lab. Because they are the same as natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds are also graded by the 4 C’s. However, lab-grown diamonds often cost a little less than natural diamonds. Since everyone has their own preferences, the choice between a lab-grown diamond and a natural diamond is an individual one. Whatever your decision, Yelton Fine Jewelers is here to find the right diamond for you.
Shop with Confidence at Yelton Fine Jewelers
Now that you know the basics about the 4 C’s, you can shop with confidence to discover that perfect stone this holiday season. Start by browsing Yelton Fine Jewelers collection of stunning diamonds. It’s easy to search by shape, carat, color, cut and clarity. If you still have questions, stop by our store in West Chester, Ohio or give us a call! We’re happy to walk you through our extensive collection and introduce you to some of our finest stones.