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The Four C's: Diamond Shopping 101

Do you know all of the qualities that make up a diamond? These are the Four C's of a diamond that will help you determine which one will make a ring perfect for your loved one. 

There are few moments in life more exciting than the moment a person asks someone they love for their hand in marriage. The future newlyweds both experience a rush of emotions-- joy, love, and perhaps terror as well, especially for the asker. What if the love of your life says no? Or, perhaps worse, what if your darling doesn't like the ring?

While you can't really predict whether your sweetheart will say yes, you can ensure they love the ring by purchasing a stunning, high-quality diamond. Shopping for engagement rings isn't always easy, but with a little preparation and research, you can find the perfect piece of jewelry to help you pop the question.

To find a diamond your love will want to wear for a lifetime, you'll need basic diamond-shopping knowledge. Try starting with this guide to the four C's of diamonds:

The Diamond-Buyer's Guide to the Four C's


1. Cut

Cut is the first quality to evaluate while diamond-shopping, and it is arguably the most important. A diamond's cut has the greatest influence on overall sparkle, and an ideal cut shape will create the greatest brilliance and fire. The diamond's angles and proportions are evaluated on a scale with an ideal as the highest, then excellent, very good, good, fair, and poor. For the purpose of an engagement ring, choose diamonds of at least "excellent" cut quality.

2. Color

Though you may think of all diamonds as white or clear, diamonds can actually come in a huge variety of shades, and even white diamonds can have slight color tints. "White" diamonds are graded from D to Z, with D being colorless, and Z containing a visible amount of undesirable yellow or brown tint. Though color differences in diamonds alone aren't always noticeable to the naked eye, they may become more visible when set in a ring because the color of the metal interacts with the tint to interrupt the diamond's sparkle. When shopping for a diamond, ensure that you take note of the color in relation to the setting to make the best choice for your engagement ring.


3. Clarity

Clarity refers to the presence of microscopic flecks within the diamond, called "inclusions." Generally, inclusions don't matter as much as the first two C's, since they are hard for the human eye to notice. However, they can impact the price of the diamond. In general, as long as the inclusions don't interfere with the sparkle of the cut, the diamond will make a great choice for a wedding ring!


4. Carat

Finally, the carat of the diamond refers to its weight. Though many brides and grooms know the carat of the diamond significantly impacts its price, bigger is not always better. A two-carat diamond with an average cut will be far less stunning than a one-carat diamond with an ideal cut, no matter how much more the bigger rock weighs. Remember to prioritize cut and color for a stone that wows. 

Engagement shoppers shouldn't only consider the four Cs when looking for the perfect jewelry. For example, when picking an engagement ring, 56% of brides say their biggest priority was the shape, referring to whether the diamond was round, princess, or another shape when viewed from above. Only five percent prioritized color. Other considerations for engagement ring shopping might be the diamond's setting or even the origin of the stone.

Ultimately, there are many other specifications to consider when shopping for wedding rings. For beginners, learning the four Cs is an essential first step. Use this guide to the four Cs of diamonds to get started on your ring-shopping adventure or download your own chart here

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