The 6 Cs of Choosing a Perfect Diamond
Diamonds have great brilliance, plus the delightful quality know as fire, or dispersion, the ability to take in white light and throw back flashes of color. Diamonds are graded into dozens of categories. While this is helpful to the professional, it can be confusing to the average consumer.
Your average Diamond Guide is comprised of four C's that have been originated by the Gemologist Institute of America (GIA). This is the body that developed the diamond grading system that most jewelers use today. To these 4 C's, we've added two more, hence the 6 C's in the title. The 6 C's give you the detailed information you'll need for buying your diamond.
Before seeing the first diamond, you need to have a very clear idea of how much you can spend and still have money for the honeymoon. Some like to say that it should be the equivalent of 2-3 months' income, and that is a fair assessment. However, this is only a guideline, but use it to give you an idea. You'll want to be sure that you purchase a Certified Diamond, which means the diamond has gone through rigorous testing and is guaranteed to be the diamond grade on the certificate.
First, know that diamond cut should not be confused with the shape of the diamond. Cut refers to how cleanly and brilliantly a diamond may sparkle and twinkle back at you. You want your diamond's first impression to be as jaw dropping as possible. Subtle cut variations can affect the diamond's twinkle and sparkle, and in contrast, a poorly cut diamond seems to lack sparkle and life. The proportions in a poorly cut diamond do not allow for light to be reflected around the facets and back at the viewer. Diamond cut can be a decisive factor and allow you to look past other possible imperfections that it may have. After all, you won't be able to see most diamond imperfections unless you look extremely close. However, the brilliance of a perfectly cut diamond can be seen from a couple of feet away!
Diamond clarity is referred to as the clearness of the diamond. Most diamonds have what are called inclusions. Inclusions are small particles, bubbles, imperfections, or scratches that are visible inside or on the surface of the diamond itself. Obviously, the cleaner the diamond the more valuable it will be. Diamonds are graded from Diamond Clarity F, all the way down to Diamond Clarity SI. On the Diamond Chart, clarity is measured in the following ways:
The color of a diamond or lack thereof, is another factor that you will need to keep in mind. The more clear and colorless the diamond, the higher the quality and cost of the investment. A diamond with more color will act like a window with tinting and prevent light from passing through. If less light passes through, you will get less flash and dull rainbows inside. Diamond color also has a grading schedule, and you should be familiar with it when you are shopping for her diamond engagement ring.
Carat weight is the measurement by which a diamond is measured. It's the big first question about all diamonds. It's like asking a man how much horsepower he has under the hood of his car! It is a number that is worn with pride. To give you a clear comparative measurement of a diamond, a carat is equal to 200 milligrams. The larger the carat weight of a diamond, the more valuable the investment. Larger diamonds are harder to find especially because it is difficult to find a relatively clean, uncut diamond that a cutter thinks he can make a spectacular one while leaving it in the 3-carat diamond range. In most cases, they are cut down to two smaller 1-carat diamond rings each or one 2-carat diamond and a 1-carat. So, which size do you buy? Go as big as you can because size is an important factor. Size is noticeable to anyone, not just the untrained eye. This is the big wow factor. You can try to internally negotiate the other variables, but this one should be one of the factors that you push for the hardest. However, do not forget to weigh in the other C's as they are extremely important too.
Before purchasing a diamond, you should expect to review a copy of its certificate as proof that it has undergone an unbiased and professional examination. A diamond certificate, also called a diamond grading report, diamond dossier®, or diamond quality document, is a report created by a team of gemologists. The diamond is evaluated, measured, and scrutinized using trained eyes, a jeweler's loupe, a microscope, and other industry tools. A completed certificate includes an analysis of the diamond's dimensions, clarity, color, polish, symmetry, and other characteristics. Many round diamonds will also include a cut grade on the report.