If you are new to the world of purchasing diamond rings, it may seem like everyone in a jewelry store is speaking some type of highly technical jargon that is impossible to comprehend.
In reality, the terms used in diamonds, and in rings, is really not all that complicated. In addition, all reputable jewelers will take the time to explain the terms they are using, and all you will need to do is ask. Since diamond terminology is universal, it is also one those things you have to learn once and you will have the basics.
The 4 Cs
Most people have heard of the 4 Cs of buying diamond rings or any type of loose diamonds or diamond jewelry. These are the basics, and it is important to understand how these four issues can impact the overall appearance of the diamond as well as the price.
1. Cut – cut is not the shape, although this is a common misconception. The cut is the way an actual diamond is cut along specific lines to create more inner fire and brilliance. A poor cut, regardless of the size (carat) of the diamond will not produce the colors and the dazzle that is the hallmark of a quality stone.
2. Color – this is really the lack of color, with the clearest of diamonds the most valuable. These are known as white diamonds, with lower quality diamonds taking on a definite cream to yellow color. There are natural or artificially colored diamonds, known as fancy color diamonds, which are graded just the opposite, with higher natural color saturation the more desirable.
3. Clarity – this is the uniform clearness of the diamond, or in diamond rings a diamond with very few imperfections. All diamonds will have some imperfections, but the most valuable are so slight they are virtually impossible to detect with the naked eye.
4. Carat weight – an actual weight measurement of the size of the diamond. The larger the diamond is, providing it also has good cut, color and clarity, the more expensive it will be.
With diamond rings and particularly engagement rings, it is common to have a large central diamond in the setting. This is the most important element of the ring as it is the most visible. Smaller diamond chips, pavé diamonds or other gemstones around the center diamond also need to be considered as they will create a distinctive impression and look for diamond rings of any design.