D i a m o n d   B a s i c s 

It may be true that the first engagement ring was given over three hundred years ago by a prince who was old by a wise man to give a ring to show his sincerity of his intentions to wed his betrothed. It may also be true that the reason we wear wedding rings on the left ring finger is because there is a vein that runs directly to the heart. Hence, the established practice of wearing the engagement ring on the outside and the wedding ring on the inside so it will be closer to the heart. It may also be true that the engagement ring is supposed to represent the love between two. It may also be true that the whole subject of engagement rings may be a very romantic subject. One fact remains, and that is, when buying a diamond engagement ring it is probably one of the blindest items you will ever buy. When you buy a house, you can have an inspector report its condition. When you buy a car or some other product, you can check with consumer reports. However, when it comes to buying a diamond, not many customers walk around a gemologist in their back pocket. So when buying a diamond, you need to know more that just the four C's: CARAT, COLOR, CLAITY, and CUT. You need to know what these words mean. I have always said that there is a fifth "C" and that is CONFIDENCE. If you do not have confidence in the jeweler, then the other four C's do not mean a thing.

What Are the Four C's
Carat      Color      Clarity      Cut

Carat with a C refers to the size of a diamond and is the measurement of its weight, not to be confused with Karat with a K, which pertains to the purity of gold. A carat is divided into 100 points. The size and weight are not the only factors to consider in the value of a diamond. The fact is, a smaller diamond can be more valuable that a larger one. You need to combine all four C's in determining its value.

Quality Grades
There are many types of color and clarity grading systems. Some use a number system (i.e. 1, 2, 3) or a AAA system, but they are hard to compare one to another. The Gemological Institute of America, GIA, develop a system that is one of the most used and abused. For some jewelers, it is a common practice to upgrade diamond qualities. That is why I strongly recommend viewing diamonds under a microscope.

Diamonds are found in there natural state in every color of the rainbow. The color of the diamond directly effects its value and its beauty. Colors can range from colorless to varying shades of almost any color. In order to color grade a diamond a jeweler needs a master series of pre-colorgraded diamonds to compare with the ungraded stone.

Clarity describes inclusion (internal flaws) and blemishes (external flaws). It is the size, number, placement and color of these flaws that determine the stones clarity. The grade is done by a trained expert under a 10 power loupe (magnifying glass) or a 10 power microscope. When a customer is looking at a diamond they should always look at it under a microscope rather that a loupe because the average person can not see the details of a diamond with a loupe.

Cut is a matter of how well a diamond is cut into the shape that it is. The cut directly effects the brilliance and beauty of the diamond. There are ideal proportions that were designed for an American round brilliant cut diamond some seventy or more years ago. When it comes to fancy shapes (marquise, pear, oval, emerald, heart, radiant, trillion, etc.) there is no ideal model to compare to, but there is a definite difference between a poor cut and a good cut. He quality of the cut and the shape can make as much as a 20-30 percent difference in the price.

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