1. Know the 4Cs
There are four key principles you need to know before you go head to your first jewelers; color, cut, clarity and carat. These four rules are the internationally accepted standard for grading diamonds. Governed by the GIA, these standards and grades allow you to confidently compare diamonds and engagement rings
In brief, the 4Cs are:
- Color: D-to-Z diamond color grades rate a diamond color, with white diamonds being graded the highest grade; ‘D’.
- Cut: How well the diamond sparkles is all in the cut! This is arguably the most important quality to take into account, as this is one that can be marred by human error.
- Clarity: The fewer flaws and inclusions, the better the clarity and the higher the grade. Where the inclusions are situated also affects the grade e.g. nearer the center and more visible from above will mean slipping down the scale more than a peripheral blemish visible from below.
- Carat Weight: carat weight refers to a diamond’s size.
You should consider which one of these 4 properties are most important to you and your future spouse – this will make comparing rings and prices much easier. Understand the 4 C’s before you speak to a jeweler, or else you probably won’t understand what the jeweler is saying.
Understanding the 4Cs is worth your time. It’s a universal language to describe diamond quality.
- Understand the difference between shape, cut style and cut quality
Shape, cut style and cut quality is not the same thing. Shape refers to the outline of the diamond when you view it from above. Popular styles include round, oval, pear, heart, square rectangle and marquise.
Cut style refers to how the facets of the diamond (the flat surfaces that together create the overall shape) are arranged. One such cut for a round shape is ‘standard brilliant cut’, which is a particular arrangement of 57/58 facets. These facets may be few or many and may be small or large. They affect how the light hits the diamond and therefore the overall ‘wow’ factor it gives.
But, it won’t matter what the cut style is if the cut quality is low. Quality pertains to polish, symmetry, girdle thickness and table size, all of them affecting the appearance of the diamond greatly.
- Pick a ring that suits their style (not yours)
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget this crucial point. You must have a good idea of your partner’s style, and know what metal they prefer. You could simply ask, or look at the jewelry they wear, or what their overall style is. Understated, vintage, glitzy – people have wildly different tastes so you don’t want to gamble on this component. You could ask them to describe their style, or their favorite style, then do a bit of research around the jewelry that fits in with that style. Asking their best friend is also a good idea, or go shopping together and see what kinds of jewelry draw them in. You can be subtle or just go right in and ask – either way, know what they like!
Then, find a designer who fits the criteria – here is a good place to start: https://www.whiteflash.com/about-diamonds/tips-and-advice/top-12-engagement-ring-designers-1515.htm