The Ultimate Engagement Ring Buying Guide: 4 C’s

Dec 25, 2021

Looking to buy an engagement ring? Before you buy just any ring, it's important to note the 4 C's: color, clarity, cut, and carat. Different jewelry stores will also tell you about the 4 C's, but their order of importance will differ. While some stores believe color is important, others might say it's the cut. Do your own research to see what you care most about in a ring, and read on below as we discuss the 4 C's:

1. Color

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Diamonds range from colors D-Z as determined by The Gemological Institute of America (GIA). D represents colorless so your diamond will look like a clear diamond. Z represents a light yellow color so your diamond will have a yellowish tint to the naked eye. If you're looking for clear diamonds, Colors D-F is the way t go if you want a perfect diamond color, but keep in mind that this will also be the most expensive since these are considered rare and of high quality.  If you're looking for something close, but not as much on the pricier side, consider colors G-J. These are nearly colorless so when you look at the diamond, you won't be able to see the small hints of yellow.

2. Clarity

While diamonds are forever, they are not always perfect. Pretty much all diamonds will have some sort of blemishes or inclusions. There are six different categories that test for clarity: flawless, internally flawless, very very slightly included diamonds, very slightly included diamonds, slightly included, and included diamonds. Flawless diamonds are very rare and as a result, have a very high price. If you're looking at diamond clarity ranging from flawless to very slightly included, your naked eye most likely won't see any inclusions. The Blue Nile recommends you start your search with very slightly included or slightly included clarity as it's not too visible and also won't break the bank.

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3. Cut

Photo: Memoirz

If you're wondering why a diamond sparkles, it's because of the cut. There are four different types of cut: ideal/excellent, very good, good, fair, and poor. The cut determines how much light gets reflected. Excellent/ideal cuts are those that are rare and reflect a lot of light making your diamond sparkle to its fullest. It's also the most expensive. Very good cuts are those that reflect a little bit less light than excellent/ideal cuts. The amount of light getting reflected goes down as you go through the other cuts.

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4. Carat

Photo: This Modern Love Photography

A diamond's carat is its size. The higher the carat, the higher the price. According to the Blue Nile, "Diamonds with higher carat weights are cut from larger rough crystals that are harder to source than small crystals. So, the relationship between carat weight and price depends on the rarity or availability of a rough crystal." Buying a ring just based on its size means nothing if you haven't taken the other 3 Cs into consideration.

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To recap:

$$$$: D-F, ideal/excellent cut, flawless or internally flawless

$$$/$$: G-J, very good or good, very very slightly included diamonds or very slightly included diamonds or slightly included diamond

$: K-Z, fair or poor, included diamonds

We hope you learned a bit about diamonds and have some basic understanding of what's important to look for when picking out a diamond. A diamond ring can be a huge investment so make sure you've done your research before emptying your account.


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Featured Photo: Memoirz

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