In the famous words of Beyonce, “if you like it, then you shoulda put a ring on it”, and rightfully so. If you’ve found the love of your life, the next step is to pop the question. Before anything else, though, a ring is in order.
While shopping for a ring can be fun, a lot of thought goes into choosing one— not just for the design and price, but also for the quality of the stone. The most common stone used in a wedding ring? A diamond.
The saying “diamonds are forever” rings true because really, they’re the hardest gemstone on earth. With a ranking of 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness, the only thing that can scratch a diamond… is another diamond! Thus, people use it as a symbol of marriage and love— one that lasts forever.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA), a lab known for studying, grading and assessing gemstones like diamonds, pioneered the criteria of a diamond’s quality into the 4Cs: Clarity, Color, Cut, and Carat. These quality factors help determine the value of a diamond and its corresponding price.
GIA 4Cs of Diamond Quality
The cut of a diamond plays an important role in how brightly the diamond sparkles. It refers to the symmetry and proportion of the stone while taking the diamond’s shape into consideration.
The workmanship is important since a diamond that isn’t cut well can look dull and lifeless. Round diamonds are easy to assess because it comes with a clear set of guidelines. On the other hand, this can be more difficult for other shapes, especially since there are more factors to consider. Thus, the overall grade of the stone, which is usually written on the stone’s certificate, is what you look at. For cut, you follow an Excellent (EX) to Poor (P) grading system.
Clarity refers to how “clean” your diamond is. It’s assessed based on the presence of “inclusions”—crystals, cloudiness, chips, and other characteristics in a diamond. The ranking starts off with FL (Flawless) being the highest and rarest grade, which goes from IF (Internally Flawless), all the way down to I (Included).
Included diamonds have noticeable marks— the kind that even the naked eye can see— which can affect the diamond’s overall durability. This is what you need to look out for aside from the “cleanliness” of the stone since it might not last in the long haul.
While you may be familiar with the “white” diamonds that you see (though technically, the proper term is colorless), surprisingly, they aren’t entirely colorless to start with! A lot of them actually have a yellowish tinge, and can even look brownish or grayish. Some diamonds can even have fancy colors— brighter colors like yellow, brown, and even pink, to name a few!
Colorless diamonds are ranked based on their lack of color. It follows the alphabet, starting at D being the highest-ranking color down to Z. The more colorless the diamond is, the higher the price.
On the other hand, colored diamonds— also known as fancy colors— go the opposite way. The stronger the color, the higher the price. The rank starts from Fancy Light, all the way to Fancy Vivid and Fancy Deep.
While Karat (K) refers to the weight of gold, Carat (ct) refers to the weight of the diamond. Make sure not to get the two of them mixed up! Also, take note that bigger isn’t always better. Depending on other factors (the 3Cs), two diamonds of the same weight can be priced differently.
Aside from the 4Cs, there is one more C to consider— the Customer, or in other words… you! While there are many diamonds and factors to consider, it all boils down to what you and your partner want, along with the sentimental value that the diamond will ultimately have for both of you.
Got any jewelry-related questions for us? Ask away, and we’ll try our best to answer them for you!
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