When it comes to engagement rings, buying the perfect diamond will depend on a lot of factors. In addition to your budget, you’ll also have researched shapes, settings and (most importantly) the 4Cs.
What are the 4Cs of diamond quality?
The quality of every diamond is judged on four different factors, also known as the 4Cs. These are clarity, colour, cut and carat.
Clarity refers to how clean the diamond is of inclusions and blemishes. Finding a completely flawless diamond is incredibly rare, however many people choose to opt for an “eye-clean” diamond. This is a diamond that is clear to the naked eye and only has inclusions that are visible with a microscope or loupe.
While diamonds can come in many different colours, this usually refers to white diamonds. The GIA grades diamonds from Z to D, with Z being slightly brown/yellow and D being the most colourless. Of course, at a certain point, it is difficult to see the difference in colours with the naked eye. Furthermore, the setting of a diamond may affect how its colour appears.
You may have heard of diamond cuts such as princess, emerald, pear, and so one. However, with a brillaint cut diamond the diamond cut refers to the quality of its angles, brilliance, fire, proportions and symmetrical facets. All of these factors combine to create a diamond’s sparkle factor. The GIA grades cuts from Ideal to Poor, with Ideal and Excellent being the preferred levels for maximum brilliance and fire.
Finally, carat refers to the weight of the diamond. A one-carat diamond weighs 0.2gm.
Clarity vs Colour
Now that you are aware of the 4Cs, the question remains: is diamond clarity or colour more important? Many people will agree that a diamond’s cut is its most important feature. However, it can become confusing after that. Is there more value in prioritising a diamond that is clear in colour, or one that is free of blemishes?
Both of these factors can affect a diamond’s appearance. Obviously, a diamond with poor clarity will have many blemishes and thus, sparkle less. Similarly, a diamond with poor colour can appear muddy.
Of course, this will also vary depending on the shape of your diamond. Clarity is more important in shapes like emerald, princess, and asscher. Colour is important for cushion, radiant, pear and oval.
Generally speaking, as long as you choose an eye-clean diamond, your diamond will still look beautiful in terms of clarity. Very few people will be examining your engagement ring with a loupe, so your diamond only needs to appear blemish-free to the naked eye. After this, you will want to focus on colour but again, may not be necessary to invest in a completely colourless diamond. Instead, you will want to focus on a diamond that appears white when it is mounted in your ring setting.
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