After filling your Pinterest board with dreamy ring inspo and adding a few dozen (okay, hundred) ring photos to your Instagram saved folder, you’ve landed on the perfect ring design. Or maybe you’re shopping for your future bride, and her BFF, friends and family have helped you find the ring of her dreams. What comes next is deciding what kind of center stone to add, and if that’s a diamond, it’s time to conquer the infamous 4Cs.
Our job is to get you the most bling for your buck, and it’s a job we take seriously.
The 4Cs stand for color, clarity, carat weight, and cut, and they make up a grading system that determines the quality and price of a diamond. It is important to remember that every diamond is completely unique and that the 4Cs grading system is simply a guideline. What matters the most is what you and your future bride think of the diamond.
To make your diamond buying journey a little easier, we broke down the specifics of the diamond 4Cs in no particular order, along with helpful tips on how to make the most of each component financially. You may also be surprised to discover that diamonds have aspects even beyond the 4Cs - including fluorescence - which we'll also touch on.
Cut is the only diamond component not influenced by nature. It refers to the quality of the diamond’s cut - not the shape or size - and how well the stone is faceted, proportioned and polished. It also determines how the diamond interacts with light. Brilliance, which is the diamond's ability to return light to the eye, is measured solely by the stone's cut.
Diamond cuts are graded as Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. Cut grade doesn't influence cost as much as the other Cs, so we recommend looking for stone in the excellent to very good range.
Diamond colors fall under a D-Z scale, with D meaning completely colorless (and the most expensive), and Z being a light yellow color. Standard diamond colors fall within the D to J color grade. The shape of the diamond also influences its spot on the color scale. A round brilliant diamond, for example, hides color very well, so you can go further down the scale without seeing any yellowing. Longer diamond shapes, like Oval and Radiant, reveal color much easier.
It’s important to remember that diamond color is personal preference, and it doesn't indicate quality.
Here’s a tip: If you choose a Round, Emerald, or Asscher cut, you can typically go low as a J grade without seeing any incredibly noticeable color. On the other hand, cuts such as Oval, Cushion, Radiant, Pear, Princess, Marquise, and Heart require a bit higher on the scale (G and up) so as not to see any color.
Rose and yellow gold settings can often accommodate stones lower on the scale, while you will want to stay a little higher with a white gold or platinum setting.
This C indicates the amount of natural imperfections - called inclusions in the jewelry world - present in the diamond. The GIA grading scale rates diamonds from Flawless (FL) to Included (I).
It’s important to note that stones with a number of inclusions can still be “eye-clean,” or not visible to the unaided eye. We have seen many round diamonds graded at SI1 that look like complete, eye-clean perfection. This is an area you can save thousands of dollars.
We check all of our stones to ensure they are eye clean before shipping them to you!
Because carats are a girl’s best friend! While people often mistake carats for size, carat actually refers to the weight of the diamond. One carat converts to 0.2 grams. Generally, the larger the carat, the more expensive the diamond.
Because no two diamonds are the same, carat should be viewed as a guideline, since it only determines the weight of the stone as opposed to the actual size. Three round diamonds that are all exactly 2 carats with the same color, clarity and cut may all have a different “face-up” size depending on depth. A stone with a certain weight may actually look larger than the carat suggests due to its dimensions, measured in milimeters.
The 5th C: Fluorescence
Fluorescence refers to the visible glow a diamond exudes when exposed to UV light, like direct sunlight or fluorescent lamps. Not all stones visibly fluoresce in the presence of ultraviolet light, and this component can be ranked from None to Very Strong. In our experience, diamonds that have None to Medium fluorescence rarely have a glow.
Fluorescence ultimately comes down to personal preference, however this is an area you can save some budget. Don't be afraid of fluorescence—it may not even be visible, and your savings account will thank you.
We offer mined diamonds and lab grown diamonds as options for the center stone of any of our ring designs. Contact us to start creating your dream ring.