Engagement Ring Guide
Engagement Ring Buying Guide
Diamonds are an item that we are all aware of but are rarely in the market for. They are highly coveted and symbolize special occasions. For this reason, we recognize the desirability and esteemed status of diamonds but don’t know where to start when it comes to buying one. When buying a diamond, we are often buying one for our significant other and making the right decision for them is just as important, if not more, than our own standards. Due to this high expectation of finding the perfect diamond and our limited experience buying them, it's important to know all of the classifications and specifications so that when the time comes, we can make a proper and educated decision.
Classification of Diamonds
There are many classifications used to signify the quality, size, purity, and clarity of diamonds. These classifications are all listed under the 4Cs of diamonds. The 4Cs of diamonds refer to Color, Clarity, Carat, and Cut. All of these characteristics add up to the overall quality of a diamond and are the modern classification of diamonds throughout the industry.
When thinking about diamonds we often think of clear, colorless gems whose main visual effect is their ability to reflect light. While modern technology has allowed us to provide diamonds of all colors such as pink and blue, this traditional expectation is what is still highly sought after and praised while assessing diamonds. The color of a diamond is categorized on a scale of letters. They are listed alphabetically, skipping over ABC, starting at D and working their way through the other letters until Z. This letter scale works as a gradient of visible color and can be categorized as such.
● D-F: Colorless
● G-J: Near Colorless
● K-M: Faint Color
● N-R: Light Color
● S-Z: Noticeable Color
It is important to note that diamond color does not dictate the quality of the diamond but the rarity. A colorless diamond is rarer because it means that no outside chemicals were introduced to the diamond seed during its formation.
Jack Joseph is able to provide diamonds of all pigment variants. Whether it be a class D diamond or a colored diamond from across the spectrum. Color is more about preference than it is quality so if you are specifically looking for a colored diamond know that it will be categorized somewhere between K-Z but that is not a reason to be worried that the diamond you are getting is of lower quality than a D class diamond.
Clarity dictates the visual quality of a diamond. Diamonds are assessed on their amount of noticeable inclusions and blemishes. Inclusions are the external elements that got trapped in the forming diamond, making their way into the chemical bond. This is a common occurrence found in mineralogy and is more frequent in mined diamonds. One of the biggest values in lab grown diamonds is that diamonds are formed in a controlled environment where unwanted external factors can be eliminated from the equation. Blemishes are surface defects that affect the consistency of the diamond. Inclusions and blemishes can weaken the overall beauty of the diamond and if they are obvious can be distracting to the naked eye.
The grading scale used for diamond clarity assess diamonds on the visual flaws a diamond includes. This scale goes from Flawless to Included with multiple categories and subcategories in-between. The full scale is listed as follows.
● Flawless (FL)
● Internally Flawless (IF)
● Very Very Slightly Included (VVSI)
● Very Slightly Included (VSI)
● Slightly Included (SI)
● Included (I)
There are a lot of different categories for diamond clarity, but this allows for all blemishes and inclusions to be accurately evaluated properly. While this long list of classifications may seem intimidating, it's important to know that only the Included stage and possibly the Slightly Included stage when dealing with a large enough gem, will show inclusions to the naked eye.
Of all of the 4Cs, carat is probably the most known of to the average person. Carat refers to the weight of the diamond. One carat is equal to 200mg. While massive multi-carat diamonds often make the news and are grand exhibit spectacles, they are often not the realistic expectation for the average person’s diamond purchase. When it comes to carat weight for the stone of an engagement ring, diamonds usually start at around 0.2 carat and can reach upwards of 2-3 carats. The average size for an engagement ring is usually around one carat in the US.
It is important that the diamond is the right size for the ring and for the wearer. A diamond that was smaller than 0.2 carat wouldn’t provide a size beneficial to properly weighting a ring, its luster and intricacies wouldn’t be appreciated to the viewer. Likewise, a diamond might be too big for the situation. Aside from the obvious hindrance of price, a bigger diamond could simply be too impractical to wear. Whether it be the weight on the wearer or the size throwing off the balance of the ring’s design, there is such a thing as having too much.
At this stage of the decision process of buying a diamond it’s important to consider the wearer and the situation. When it comes to providing diamonds for rings, you need to know the wearer's hands. Whether the wearer has big or small hands, long or short fingers, can make a difference in how it looks and fits on the wearer. Aside from making sure the band is the right size, it's important to know these specifications so that the diamond feels natural on their hand. When the carat of the diamond is off from the hand of the wearer it becomes noticeable. The same diamond ring can look completely different on varying hands. A 0.5 carat ring could fit one hand naturally while looking small on another.
Aside from the size, another way to make a diamond better suited for the wearer is its cut. Cut refers to the quality of the design and shape of the diamond. There are many different types of designs and shapes that diamonds are sold as. When grading the cut of a diamond its more about how accurate the attempt to create a specific shape/design is rather than which specific shape or design is being attempted. The grading scale for the cut of a diamond is a lot more comprehensive than some of the other grading scales used in the 4Cs. The cut grading scale is as follows:
● Very Good
The self-explanatory grading scale allows for those looking to buy diamonds to know what level of craftsmanship went into shaping and creating diamond designs.
Types of Diamond Cuts
As stated before, there are many different types of diamond cuts. Some of the most popular are Round Brilliant, Oval, Pear, Princess, Cushion, and Emerald. These cuts of diamond are used in different scenarios and offer different effects when creating a piece of jewelry. Round Brilliant
diamonds are the most popular shape and the one you think of when imagining a diamond. It has a circular face that works well for a lot of different jewelry styles, rings especially.
Some diamond shapes are wider and offer a larger look. All of the other above-mentioned diamonds offer a wider face than a Round Brilliant but Princess, Cushion, and Emerald are the most extreme example of this effect. If you are looking to find a diamond for a wearer with larger hands or fingers you might want to look into some of these options.
Finally, it’s important to keep in mind the taste of the wearer. If they have specific expectations or interests when it comes to a diamond its best to keep those in mind. Maybe they already know which diamond cut is right for them or they have a color in mind. Are they more traditional or eccentric in their styling? Implementing some of these characteristics can lead to a more personal diamond that is well worth the price.