The Four C’s: the key to buying a diamond engagement ring

The diamond engagement ring has been a symbol of love and romance since 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave Mary of Burgundy a gold ring set with a diamond as a token of his love. Today, the tradition of the diamond engagement ring continues. According to new consumer survey, 70 percent of all brides-to-be receive one.  A diamond is an expression of individuality. Just as love is unique, no two diamonds are alike.  Each diamond has its own personality and sparkle. Therefore, when purchasing a diamond engagement ring, it is important to become an informed consumer.

A little knowledge can go a long way to help unearth the best-quality diamond within a budget. Understanding diamonds requires knowledge of the four C’s: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. These four variables are key to answering the elusive question as to why diamonds of equal size may not be of equal value.

CUT-Although diamonds can be cut in several shapes, like oval, marquise, pear, or round, it is the quality of the cut that gives the stone a brilliant sparkle. Light is reflected best when all of the facets are perfectly proportioned.

COLOR-The best color is no color. A totally colorless diamond best allows white light to pass effortlessly through it and be dispersed as rainbows of color.

CLARITY- The term “clarity” refers to a diamond’s lack of naturally occurring inclusions, often called “nature’s fingerprints,” most of which are not visible to the naked eye. The fewer inclusions, the more valuable the diamond.

CARAT-Carat refers to the weight of the stone. There are too points in a carat. Therefore, a diamond of 50 points weighs one-half of a carat.

Deciding how much to spend on diamond engagement ring is a very personal and obviously depends on income. Most people find the two months’ salary guideline to be helpful in determining how much to spend. Most importantly, choose the finest-quality diamond affordable, because a diamond engagement ring is a unique symbol of commitment that will be treasured for many years.

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