Unless a couple decides to elope, a proposal usually comes before a wedding. In most cases, a future groom will plan the perfect proposal and ask the woman of his dreams to marry him! But what would a perfect proposal be without the perfect ring?
When it comes to a traditional proposal, a man with a plan walks into a jewelry store before proposing and buys THE ring. In some cases, the guy has an idea of what his future fiancée wants in a ring, but sometimes, he may need a little direction.
If a couple hasn’t discussed rings, consider the “4 Cs” as your guide!
What “cut” of diamond do you want? According to the Gemology Institute of America (GIA), “Diamonds are renowned for their ability to transmit light and sparkle so intensely. We often think of a diamond’s cut as shape (round, emerald, pear), but a diamond’s cut grade is really about how well a diamond’s facets interact with light” (http://gia4cs.gia.edu/), “A diamond’s cut is crucial to the stone’s final beauty and value. And of all the diamond 4Cs, it is the most complex and technically difficult to analyze.” Because the cut of a diamond is hard to determine, to ensure quality, have a jeweler explain what cut the diamond you are considering buying is,
The next “C” is “color.” In addition to “cut,” diamonds are graded by “color.” The scale runs from D to Z, with D being colorless and Z having increased visible color. Most of the time, color isn’t detectable by the naked eye. If a diamond gives off a yellowish hue, it is probably a poor quality diamond. Again, the more colorless, the more expensive the diamond gets.
The third “C” on the list is “Clarity.” The GIA says, “Natural diamonds are the result of carbon exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep in the earth. This process can result in a variety of internal characteristics called ‘inclusions‘ and external characteristics called ‘blemishes.’ Evaluating diamond clarity involves determining the number, size, relief, nature, and position of these characteristics, as well as how these affect the overall appearance of the stone. While no diamond is perfectly pure, the closer it comes, the higher its value.
The GIA Diamond Clarity Scale has 6 categories, some of which are divided, for a total of 11 specific grades.
- Flawless (FL) No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification
- Internally Flawless (IF) No inclusions visible under 10x magnification
- Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) Inclusions so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
- Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterized as minor
- Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification
- Included (I1, I2, and I3) Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance
Many inclusions and blemishes are too tiny to be seen by anyone other than a trained diamond grader. To the naked eye, a VS1 and an SI2 diamond may look exactly the same, but these diamonds are quite different in terms of overall quality. This is why expert and accurate assessment of diamond clarity is extremely important (http://gia4cs.gia.edu/).”
The last “C” is “Carat.” Carat size is what we mean when talking about the size of a diamond. Larger diamonds are more rare and most of the time, more expensive, but if the quality of diamond (as referenced with the above mentioned “Cs”) isn’t good, a smaller, higher quality diamond, will cost more. So it’s not always “the bigger, the better” when it comes to diamond size.
After the 4 Cs are considered, the final step is deciding what shape of diamond is desirable. The round diamond is most common and traditional, but there are also emerald shaped diamonds, square, cushion, marquise, pear, radiant, heart-shaped, oval and many more. When it comes to the shape of a diamond, it’s really personal preference.
Just remember, have a jeweler appraise any diamond you are considering buying and setting into an engagement ring to insure you’ve selected the exact diamond you want.
While choosing the right ring may feel overwhelming, remember, at the end of the day the “Yes!” is the most important part!