Shopping for a diamond engagement ring requires basic knowledge of diamond quality and ring designs. However, most people begin the process with virtually no information. This means that they often overpay for low-quality stones or rings that don’t meet the recipient’s expectations. Fortunately, you can avoid these issues by simply staying informed on a few simple concepts related to diamonds, ring settings, designs, and additional types of stones. So, in today’s guide, we will provide you with everything you need to know to get the perfect diamond engagement ring!
The 4 C's Of Diamonds
The 4 C’s of Diamonds are easy to remember and very important to know. Essentially, these four factors cover all of a diamond's most important aspects that dictate the stone's overall quality and visual appeal. The 4 C’s of Diamonds refer to the Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat. Below you will find a more detailed explanation of each of these terms:
The Diamond Cut refers to how the natural diamond is cut and shaped before it is mounted on an engagement ring or other piece of jewelry. Here are a few of the most common and popular diamond cuts:
- Asscher - A square stone with X-shaped facets that cross in the center of the diamond.
- Cushion - A square stone with round or shaved corners.
- Emerald - A rectangular stone where the short ends usually sit parallel to the ring band.
- Heart - A heart-shaped stone with two larger curves at the top and a singular point at the bottom.
- Marquise - A long, thin stone with rounded sides and point edges at the top and bottom of the diamond.
- Oval - An oval-shaped stone with short, rounded ends at the top and bottom.
- Pear - A stone with a large, rounded top that extends down to a singular point at the bottom.
- Princess - A square-shaped stone with slightly-reduced corners.
- Radiant - A rectangular-shaped stone that offers more facets than the Emerald cut.
- Round Brilliant - A rounded stone that forms a circle, albeit with small, flat edges.
The color of a stone is one of the first things that you will notice when seeing it for the first time. Consequently, the color of your diamond is important when shopping for a diamond engagement ring. The diamond color scale helps jewelers and consumers identify the natural color of diamonds, which generally range between white (or clear) and dark yellow.
This scale uses the alphabet to categorize different colors, starting with the letter D and going all the way to Z. D through I generally refer to whiter stones, while J through Q refers to stones that have a darker hue that almost resembles a light green or blue. Finally, R through Z includes all of the stones that range from light yellow to dark yellow.
However, it is important to note that you don’t have to opt for natural diamond colors for an engagement ring. You can also choose a fancy color like pink, blue, or emerald green. Unbeknownst to many people, you can also get black diamonds, which actually occur naturally (even though they may look like yet another fancy color). A black diamond occurs when a natural, high-density diamond is formed with graphite and amorphous carbon.
Diamond clarity refers to the number and degree of imperfections (known as inclusions) in a diamond. This metric is measured on the diamond clarity scale and is generally used to determine the overall quality of a given stone. Here are the most important diamond ratings to be aware of, ranking from the most imperfections to the least:
- Inclusions 1 (I1) - The diamond has visible imperfections.
- Small Inclusions 2 (SI2) - The diamond has imperfections that can be seen with a magnifier and possibly the naked eye.
- Small Inclusions 1 (SI1) - The diamond has imperfections that are visible at 10x magnification.
- Very Small Inclusions 2 (VS2) - The diamond has imperfections that may be difficult to spot at 10x magnification.
- Very Small Inclusions 1 (VS1) - The diamond has imperfections that are difficult to spot at 10x magnification.
- Very Very Small Inclusions 2 (VVS2) - The diamond has imperfections that are extremely difficult to spot at 10x magnification.
- Very Very Small Inclusions 1 (VVS1) - The diamond has imperfections that are not visible at 10x magnification.
- Internally Flawless (IF) - The diamond has no imperfections.
Diamond carat refers to the weight of a diamond. Naturally, this is a direct reflection of the size, with larger diamonds weighing more than smaller ones. Carat measurements use a number scale that goes all the way up to 100, with 1 carat being equal to 0.2 grams. The average diamond carat for an engagement ring is somewhere between 1 and 3 carats, though you can get much larger diamonds if you are willing to pay more.
The Ring Material
The material of your diamond engagement ring can be just as important as the quality of the stone(s). For example, some people have allergic reactions to different kinds of metals and materials, which means that you will need to do your research before choosing a material for the band. Moreover, the material can also greatly change the visual appeal of your engagement wring. In any case, some of the most popular engagement ring materials include:
- White gold
- Yellow gold
- Rose gold
The Diamond Ring Setting
In addition to the material, you will also need to consider your engagement ring style. Not only will this include the design of the band, but also the diamond setting and the way in which the stones are arranged on the ring. The most common diamond ring settings include:
- Bezel - One low-set diamond surrounded by a metal ring.
- Cathedral - Arches holding up a central stone.
- Halo - A ring of smaller diamonds surrounding the central stone.
- Modern - A more varied, customized ring setting.
- Prong - Multiple prongs (typically 4) holding the central diamond in place.
- Side Stone - A central diamond with smaller diamonds lining the band.
- Solitaire - A solitary diamond set on a thin band.
- Three Stone - A central stone with one smaller stone on each side.
- Vintage - A variation of settings to offer an old-school, vintage look.
The Stone Type
Finally, you will want to consider the type of diamond used for your engagement ring. When choosing diamonds, you essentially have three choices: lab-made, natural, or moissanite. Diamonds made in a lab and diamonds found in nature both have the exact same composition. In other words, they are both real diamonds formed using the same essential processes. The only difference is that one is formed over long periods (typically underground) while the other is created in a lab over a much shorter period of time.
If you opt for moissanite, you should know that it is not a real diamond. Instead, it is a diamond simulant made of silicon carbide. While moissanite typically has a better price than real diamonds, it does not offer the same quality or lasting value. For this reason, we recommend choosing a diamond ring that is either made in a lab or found in nature.
We hope you found this guide on diamond engagement rings both useful and informative! Are you in the market for diamond jewelry? Do you want beautiful, certified lab diamond engagement rings at competitive prices? If so, be sure to check out the luxurious products available at Liori Diamonds today!