After a lifetime of searching, you have finally found the person that you want to be with forever, and now it's time to choose the diamond that will represent your promise of "eternal love," but where do you begin? First things first. No matter how much research you do, and no matter how much time you spend on the process, remember one key element: Enjoy the Experience! This is supposed to be a fun time for both of you, so do your research, but don't become overwhelmed in the process.
Every book on diamond education and every web site dedicated to diamond buying will tell you the same thing: you can't start the diamond buying process without first learning about the 4 C's. Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight are the four C's that will determine the diamond's 5th C... its Cost. Deciding on your budget is an important first step. Another thing to keep in mind is that even though you are the person making the purchase, your significant other will be the one that it adorns for the rest of their life. So remember to snoop around, and find out what style, shape or size diamond will make them happy. For more information on the 4 C's, see the 4 C's section of this web site.
A Diamond Grading Certificate or Grading Report should also accompany the diamond that you plan to buy. Consider this to be the diamond's "birth certificate." All of its characteristics, including the Shape, Color, Clarity and Carat Weight are posted on it, along with specifications such as Polish, Symmetry, Girdle Culet Size, and Fluorescence. The goal in buying a diamond is to get the highest grade in all of these traits that your budget will allow. There may be sacrificing involved if your wish is to get a higher grade on a specific characteristic when working with a fixed price. This is where you will have to determine what is most important to you or your special someone. Is color most important? Is getting the largest diamond that fits within your budget the most important? Establishing this up front will help guide you through the entire process, and for the most part, make it easier and more enjoyable.
Remember the first rule of buying a diamond ...ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE!
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Four major components are considered when determining a diamond's quality and value. They are known as the Four C's. Color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. Understanding these four factors and how they interact can help you select a diamond that suits your taste and your pocketbook. There are two additional but lesser know C's that can greatly impact your search for the right diamond. Cost and Certification.
C1.Carat: Refers to the weight of a diamond.
Carat is often confused with size even though it is actually a measure of weight. One carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams. One carat can also be divided into 100 "points." A .75 carat diamond is the same as a 75-points or 3/4 carat diamond. A 1.00 carat diamond costs exactly twice the price of a half-carat diamond, right? Wrong. Larger diamonds are found less frequently in nature, which places them at the rarest level. A 1.00 carat diamond will cost more than twice as much as a 1/2-carat diamond (assuming color, clarity and cut remain constant).
C2.Color: Refers to the degree to which a diamond is colorless.
Diamonds range in color from icy winter whites to warm summer whites. Diamonds are graded on a color scale which ranges from D (colorless) to Z. Warmer colored diamonds (K-Z) are particularly desirable when set in yellow gold. Icy winter whites (D-J) look stunning set in white gold or platinum. Color differences are very subtle and it is very difficult to see the difference between, say, an E and an F. Therefore, colors are graded under controlled lighting conditions and are compared to a master set for accuracy. Truly colorless stones, graded D, are treasured for their rarity. Color, however, ultimately comes down to personal taste.
C3.Clarity:Refers to the presence of inclusions in a diamond.
Inclusions are natural identifying characteristics such as minerals or fractures, appearing while diamonds are formed in the earth. They may look like tiny crystals, clouds or feathers. To view inclusions, jewelers use a magnifying loupe. This tool allows jewelers to see a diamond at 10x its actual size so that inclusions are easier to see. The position of inclusions can affect the value of a diamond. There are very few flawless diamonds found in nature, thus these diamonds are much more valuable. Inclusions are ranked on a scale of perfection, known as clarity. The clarity scale, ranging from FL (Flawless) to Included (I), is based on the visibility of inclusions at a magnification of 10x.
C4.Cut:Refers to the angles and proportions of a diamond.
Based on scientific formulas, a well-cut diamond will internally reflect light from one mirror-like facet to another and disperse and reflect it through the top of the stone. This results in a display of brilliance and fire, thereby being more sought after than deep or shallow-cut diamonds. Diamonds that are cut too deeply or too shallowly lose or leak light through the side or bottom, resulting in less brilliance and ultimately, value. Cut also refers to shape-round, square, pear, or heart, for example. Since a round diamond is symmetrical and capable of reflecting nearly all the light that enters, it is the most brilliant of all diamond shapes. Non-round shapes, also known as "fancy shapes," will have their own guidelines to be considered well-cut.
C5. Cost:What to spend on a diamond.
When you start to think about buying a diamond-and the love it will symbolize-you naturally want the best you can afford and a beautiful stone you will treasure forever.
Diamonds can be found in a range of price and you are certain to find one that suits your taste and what you plan to spend. If you are about to buy a Diamond Engagement Ring, you may want to consider spending the commonly accepted guideline of two months' salary. But it's up to you to select a diamond that will truly represent your deepest emotions and the promise for the future you will share.
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