The 4C's of Engagement Ring Shopping
Diamonds are a girls best friend. Chocolate, Starbucks, and naps make up the girl posse but diamonds are the best friend. When you hit the point and realize that the person you've been dating for the past however long is the one you want to spend your life with you might experience this big AH-HA moment or you might have a quiet Aaaaahh moment. However it happened, however you felt, it probably wasn't long until you thought about what kind of ring you wanted. There are TONS of engagement ring choices and wedding band choices so how do you find the one that's just perfect for you? When you go ring shopping the consultants, who are going to be super helpful, will throw a lot of terms at you that you may be unfamiliar with so consider this like a little vocabulary introduction.
There are four categories when determining the value of a ring: clarity, color, cut, and carat. You might otherwise here these categories called the 4C's. Now, you could have two rings that have the same exact values in three of the categories but if one of these four categories in one ring is better than the second you could see the value of that overall diamond with a significant increase.
Diamonds come in a range of colors. On average you can see diamonds as colorless, slightly yellow, or like a brown you might see during the fall. The most rare of all diamonds is colorless so you will find those with the greatest value. As you get farther away from that colorless color you will find the value decreasing. Thankfully the diamond industry made a super easy way for those of us without a lab or a microscope to recognize the value of the diamonds and they do it by using the alphabet. But in this particular alphabet letters A,B,C don't exist. Don't ask me why because I don't know. Each range of letters corresponds to how colorless the diamond is and therefore where its value falls.
DEF | HGIJ | KLM | NOPQR | STUVWXYZ
Colorless | Near colorless | Faint | Very light | Light
Now, the next C is all about the clarity. The clarity refers to the face of the diamond itself and whether it has any blemishes, nicks, scratches, basically any imperfection. Not everything in this world is perfected and that includes diamonds. Flawless diamonds are extremely rare. So rare that people will spend their entire lifetime looking for one and when they do you can bet that they want top dollar for it. And I'm talking more than what Kanye could afford. Just like with color though, the closer the diamond is to being flawless then the more value is placed on it. Some imperfections are visible to the human eye but again, the diamond industry made a scale for us common folk to reference and they use abbreviations to keep it simple. The abbreviations are VVS, VS, SI, and I. VVS stands for very very slightly imperfect, VS stands for very slightly imperfect, SI stands for slightly imperfect, and I stands for imperfect. The closer you are to the left of the chart the less imperfections it has so the higher the value.
Flawless | Internally Flawless | VVS1 | VVS2 | VS1 | VS2 | SI1 | SI2 | I1 | I2 | I3
The cut of a diamond can be considered a true test of a craftsman's skill and this is a big reason why it's part of the 4C's. The cut of a diamond refers not just to the shape i.e. princess, oval, emerald, heart, and round but also how well the light hits the diamond. The better the light hits the diamond the brighter and colorful the diamond will be. The interesting thing is how scientific the cut of a diamond actually is. So much so that scientists and jewelers have proportions measured that will exemplify the brilliance.
The last and final C refers to the term that catches most people's ear, the weight of the diamond or in other words how many carats the diamond is. The term carat is actually a form of measurement in which the diamond is weighed. Two diamonds could have the same exact color, clarity, and cut but the price difference could come down to the carat size of the diamond. Larger diamonds are more rare therefore they are already more valuable which is why four 0.25 carat diamonds in one purchase would not be the same price as an individual one carat.
Shopping for an engagement ring can be a great ton of fun and I hope that you don't feel as overwhelmed about beginning the process now that you can walk the walk and talk the talk with the best of the jewelers.