A carat is a measure of weight and is equivalent to 0.20 grams. This is basically the weight of the diamond. The heavier and bigger the diamond, the more expensive it becomes with all other things considered same. Some people refer to the weight of a diamond as “points” where 1 carat equals to 100 points. Also consider that since larger diamonds are more rare than smaller diamonds, a 2 carat single diamond is worth significantly more than two diamonds weighing 2 carats total. Just in case you were curious, the average carat size men bought their future wives in America is around 0.4 carats and spent just over $2000 on the entire ring.
Ideally, if the diamond has no color, it is then perfect. This grading is defined with a letter “D”. D is the best color grading you can achieve in a diamond. As you go up in letters, the grading goes down. Z is the worst grading. Typically, you won’t see Z grading anywhere in the US. Most popular ones range from D-J and the value, considering all else same, decreases as it gets closer to J. Colors ranging from D-F fall into the same category of Colorless, and G-J fall into Near Colorless. Beyond those two categories, the colors become more yellow as you go down the scale. The average American purchased an H or I diamond.
A cut of a diamond generally refers to how well proportioned it is. An Excellent cut is the best cut you will be able to find. It is perfect and the angles of each part of the diamond, along with their corresponding symmetries and depth allow the light the reflect in a way that is ideal. If the diamond is cut too shallow, or too uneven (not very symmetrical), the light being absorbed will not be reflected or dispersed optimally, thus not giving good sparkle to the diamond. The grading goes down to Very Good, Good, and Fair. The value of the diamond decreases with lower grades, with all else being equal. I would recommend a cut of “Very Good” if you can not afford “Excellent”. Beyond that, you will be able to notice the difference in brilliance or sparkle with the naked eye.
Even though a diamond has highest color rating with the most excellent cut, there can still be imperfections or inclusions within the diamond. These inclusions include air bubbles, cracks, scratches, and chips. Some of these inclusions appear at the time of cutting the diamond. Others are just naturally there. But whatever the case may be, the more inclusions you have, the lower the clarity level it becomes. Granted, most of these inclusions are invisible to the naked eye but can be easily seen with the 10x magnifying glass. The highest grade you can achieve is “F” which refers to Flawless. This grade is extremely rare, as no diamond is ever perfect. The next grade is “IF” meaning “Internally Flawless”. Then it goes down to “VVS” and “VS”, “Very Very Slightly Included” and “Very Slightly Included” respectively. Then it becomes Slightly Included (SI) and Included (I). At SI and I ratings, the inclusions become more visible with the naked eye and very visible with the 10x magnifying glass. I would suggest staying above VS, but SI diamonds will still have their sparkles preserved.
Two More C’s
The ratings for each of the 4 C’s described above is associated with GIA certification standards. They exist to help consumers be more educated on diamond quality and provide official diamond certification. This is one of the other C’s, Certification. When purchasing a diamond, make sure it is properly certified. Request a GIA report on the diamond you were looking to purchase. If not GIA, there are other institutions that defines the diamond quality. However, I would only recommend GIA certified diamonds as they are proven to be the industry leader.
The last C refers to cost. Despite all of the grading categories, make sure you don’t spend too much money and go over your budget. Of all the women I asked, they all said they rather have smaller diamond that is excellent in quality over bigger diamond with lower quality. So if the diamond you want to purchase is out of your budget, look to decrease in carat weight and preserve the other C’s.
I have yet to find the perfect diamond. I am still looking but I am very close. I have already budgeted for the ring as I have been saving up for it for awhile. This will be a significant purchase but if you’re smart with your finances, you should be OK. I recommend an online diamond search engine, pricescope. When you filter the type of ring you want, it provides a list of all the rings available and the online company, along with the price, you can purchase it at. You will notice that Abazias is listed quite often from the search engine. They are a very reputable online diamond company and one of the industry leaders.