Choosing a engagement ring can be a really difficult task because there is a huge variety of diamond rings and prices. To help you, we gathered some information from Jewelry Experts.
How to choose the engagement ring: Guide to natural diamonds
In this guide we will talk about the 4C system of diamonds perfected in the ’50s by the American Gemological Institute of Gems (GIA), the system is accepted worldwide by both gemologists and investors.
Established in 1931, GIA is the world’s foremost authority on diamonds, colored stones, and pearls. GIA is the leading source of knowledge, standards, and education in gems and jewelry. This system represents the four essential characteristics of diamonds: weight (carat), color, clarity, and cut.
This guide will help you a lot to know how these 4Cs influence the quality and value of diamonds.
Few things in nature are absolutely perfect. This is as true of diamonds as anything else.
Before buying natural diamond jewelry you should consider the following information:
- The first “C” – carat (weight)
The carat is the standard unit of measurement for the weight of the diamond. The term is of Greek origin (“keration”). In ancient times, “keration” was the name for locust kernels. These seeds were used as a unit of measurement for natural stones, and more.
One carat (ct) is equivalent to 1/5 of a gram, ie 0.20 grams. Therefore, 5 ct = 1.00 g. Diamonds over 2 carats are rare, they are very difficult to find in mining explorations, which makes them more valuable. Therefore, a 2-carat diamond is more valuable than 2 diamonds of 1 carat each of comparable quality, hence their higher price.
When comparing two diamonds of the same size, we must not make the mistake of considering them of the same weight (number of carats). Depending on how they were cut, they may have different weights. For example, a diamond that has been cut too deep (sharper) might look small for its weight and suffer from shine.
Depending on the cut, the carat of the diamonds (weight) is closely related to the visible diameter.
The following information represents the ratios between the weight and the approximate visible size of the diamonds in various cuts:
The second “C” – Color
The color is seen in diamonds under a hint of yellow. The more colorless (colorless) a diamond is, the better its grade on the color scale will be.
GIA classifies the color of diamonds on a descending scale, from D to Z, where D is completely colorless, and Z has a visible yellow-brown tint. The distinction between these individual color stages is almost invisible to a free, untrained eye.
The color standard is as follows:
D – Absolutely colorless. The highest degree of color. It is an extremely rare diamond.
E-F – Colorless. It shows only traces of color that can only be detected by a gemologist expert. It is a rare diamond.
G-H – Almost colorless. Color is difficult to detect and if not compared to another better grade diamond. The diamond has excellent value.
IJ – Almost colorless. Good value, easily detectable a shade of color.
K-M – Visible yellow tint.
N-Z – Visible yellow tint.
In terms of color, the appearance of fluorescence is also important. Many diamonds have different levels of fluorescence, resulting in neon light in an unpleasant blue appearance. The fluorescence of a diamond can have the following intensities: Very strong / Strong / Medium / Weak / No
Many jewelers avoid talking about fluorescence, providing highly fluorescent diamonds (obviously of inferior value and quality) at prices of fluorescence-free diamonds. Always ask for the maximum technical details about the diamond you want to buy.
3. The third “C” – Clarity
Clarity is measured in the number and size of the smallest imperfections found in almost all diamonds. Most imperfections are microscopic and do not affect the beauty of diamonds. Diamonds with the fewest and smallest imperfections have the highest degree on the scale of the GIA system of Clarity.
The GIA system grades diamond clarity into 11 distinct categories. FL and IF include the range of diamonds without internal or external imperfections, very rare on the market, and the most valuable. Category l1, l2, and l3 have visible inclusions and are the weakest in quality and value.
We recommend diamonds with a minimum degree of clarity SI1.
Diamond Inclusion Standards:
FL, IF – Flawless: no internal or external imperfections. Internally Flawless: no internal imperfections. A very rare diamond.
VVS1, VVS2 – Very, Very Slight Inclusions: imperfections are almost impossible to detect, even under 10x magnification. It is excellent quality for diamonds.
VS1, VS2 – Very Slight Inclusions: the imperfections are very hard to see, even with a 10x magnifying glass. These diamonds are less expensive than VVS1 and VVS2.
SI1, SI2 – Slight Inclusions: imperfections visible only with a magnifying glass with 10x magnification. Good value.
I1, I2, I3 – Imperfect: Inclusions visible to the naked eye.
4. Fourth “C” – cut
The degree of cutting of diamonds is the objective way to measure light performance, generically described as “brilliance”.
When a diamond is cut in the correct (ideal) proportions, the light returns through the top of the diamond (called by gemologists “tables”). If the cut is deep, the light is lost through the sides, and if it is superficial, the light is lost through the flag (the bottom of the diamond) before it can be reflected.
The best proportioned and faceted diamond is the “round diamond” or simply “brilliant”. This cut was invented by Marcel Tolkowsky in 1919, He indicated an ideal number of 58 facets, a diamond with ideal angles and proportions. Tolkowsky made this special calculation for brilliant-cut diamonds, to highlight their brilliance in the best way.
The GIA system classifies diamond cutting into 5 distinct categories:
IDEAL / EXCELLENT – This cut is present in only about 3% of diamonds. It theoretically reflects all the light that enters the diamond. It is a special and very rare cut.
VERY GOOD – This cut is present in about 15% of diamonds. It reflects approximately the same amount of light as the ideal cut, but at more affordable costs.
GOOD – This cut is found in 25% of the diamonds on the market. It reflects most of the light that enters the diamond. It is much more economically economical than a very good cut.
CORRECT – This cut is found in 35% of diamonds. It is an acceptable cut will not be as good as a very good cut, but it is still part of the defining cuts of diamonds.
WEAK – Diamonds have an elongated and narrow or flattened and thin shape so that most of the light that enters them is reflected only on the sides and bottom.
Diamonds that have a beaded cut are the cheapest.
In the case of natural diamonds, in addition to the cut, for maximum brilliance are also important:
The higher the symmetry of the facets, the more beautiful the diamond looks. Thus, light is allowed to reflect from one facet to another, just as when it is caught between two mirrors. Therefore, we recommend that you choose diamonds that are located on high levels of cut measurement, according to the GIA gradation scale, to have extraordinary jewelry.
A diamond is not completely unpolished. Grinding diamonds increases the fineness of their surface. If the sanding is of poor quality, the gemstone will suffer not only as a shine but also as an effect to the touch.
We recommend buying diamonds that have very good (VG) or excellent (EX) cut, symmetry and grinding.
Choose your diamond jewelry carefully. The jewelry store where you buy the jewelry must offer you a certificate of quality and guarantee.