Carrye & Jason Wilson - Caitlin Joyce Photography
The four C' s
When you go ring shopping, take notes and compare the differences of the four C's. This will help you understand the different qualities of diamonds and how theyll affect your budget.
1. Clarity -the clearness or purity of a diamond
Technically speaking: Clarity is determined by the number, size, nature, and location of any internal inclusions and external blemishes (the number of crystals or clouds that can be seen using 10x magnification).
In regular guy terms: Lets be honest, before you stress about being able to afford a flawless diamond, remember that 99.9% of the time you and your fiancé will be looking at the ring with your naked eyes. Unless you're viewing the diamond with 10x magnification, there really isn't a noticeable difference.
2. Color -the amount of color the diamond contains
Technically speaking: The majority of diamonds have a hint of yellow or brown, but a perfect diamond is perfectly transparent with no hue. All diamonds are graded by their comparison to perfect diamonds. So the closer the grade is to D, the closer the diamond is to being perfect.
In regular guy terms: Before you break into a sweat and call off the engagement altogether, remember that the vast majority of diamonds are not perfect. It's more typical for people to purchase a diamond thats Grade G or below, but depending on your budget and priorities, Grades D, E, and F are slightly more beautiful diamonds.
3. Cut - the proportions, finish, symmetry, and polish of the diamond
Technically speaking: A diamond's cut doesn't actually refer to its shape, but its reflective qualities. A diamond's angles and finish are what determine its ability to handle light, which creates the sparkling effect that girls love.
When a diamond is well cut, light enters it and travels to a point where it reflects from one side to the other. It then reflects back out of the diamond and into the observer's eye, once again, creating the sparkling effect.
Diamond cuts are separated into four categories: ideal cut, very good cut, good cut, and fair-to-poor cut. Because ideal cut diamonds reflect the most amount of light that enters the diamond, they typically sell at a premium, while poorly cut diamonds usually sell at discounted prices.
In regular guy terms: Diamonds with a cut grade of good or very good are the best value with high-quality appeal. Just find out what works best for you and your budget.
4. Carat - the unit of weight of the diamond
Technically speaking: The value per carat increases exponentially with carat size because larger, rough diamonds occur less frequently than smaller ones. In other words, 2 half-carat diamonds taken together won't cost as much as 1 one-carat diamond because the one-carat diamond is more rare.
In regular guy terms: Does size really matter? Thats a personal question for each bride. If youre like most grooms-to-be, your budget makes a difference. Your bride might prefer to have a lower- quality diamond for a larger look, or she might prefer quality over a larger size. Its up to you to determine her preference.
Family heirlooms: Nothing is sweeter and more meaningful than using your grandmother’s ring or a century’s old family heirloom. Ask around, you may have no idea! My husband's friend Ryan told his Mom he was going to buy a ring for his girlfriend, and his Mom pulled out a 2 carat diamond she had from an old necklace. You never know, so inquire!
Recommendation from TMR
Diamond engagement and wedding rings are personal to each bride. It's best to follow this general approach:
1. Establish the budget you can afford. The rule of thumb is to go with the two months salary approach. For example, if you make $10,000 per year, you should spend approximately $1,667 on the engagement ring.
2. Be sneaky and determine her preferences on size, quality, and shape on the sly. Or be direct and ask for her opinion, but just be sure you know your gal well. Will she thank you later for asking her opinion, or will she be mad it is no longer a surprise? When in doubt ask her best friend, Mom or sister.
3. Narrow down the four C's of a diamond based on:
a. Her preferences,
b. What your budget will allow.
4. Make sure to shop around if you do go to a big chain store! Their markup will shock you, so do your research. I will say again, go to a family owned store at least once.. It pays to do your research!
5. When you've narrowed down your selection of diamonds, make sure to ask the jeweler to let you review the independent Diamond Grading Reports, also called certificates. These reports will verify the classification of the four C's.