If you’ve researched diamonds and engagement rings online, you’ve probably come across the “Four Cs” of diamonds. So you know that together cut, clarity, color and carat play a major role in grading any loose diamond. But have you ever seen two diamonds that look exactly the same and wondered why there was such a huge difference on the price tag? The slightest change in any of the Four Cs can end up having a huge impact price.
That being said, few people actually understand how to prioritize the Four Cs when searching the perfect ring for their S.O. Understanding how a diamond's cut and clarity affects the appearance and price of a diamond is essential for anyone buying a diamond engagement ring.
Find out which of these two Cs is most important and how each will effect your search (and wallet):
1) Diamond Clarity
Like most natural things, a diamond isn’t perfect. Clarity is a direct measure of the number of inherent imperfections the diamond has. These flaws can be things such as dark spots, feathery cracks, or white points in the diamond. A ‘flawless’ stone is extremely rare, and its rarity makes it very costly.
To some people having as few imperfections as possible is important' however it’s important to note that unless you reach an SI2 or lower, it is extremely unlikely the naked eye will be able to see any flaws. A diamond doesn’t have to be flawless to be beautiful. Eye clean diamonds are a fraction of the cost of a truly flawless diamond, but have the same appearance to the naked eye. Because the flaws aren’t visible to the naked eye, many shoppers find it well worth it to sacrifice clarity grade for what it affords in other categories.
It all depends on what’s important to you, but unless you're planning on pulling out a magnifying glass every time you look at your diamond, you may want to prioritize another “C.”
2) Diamond Cut
The cut of a diamond refers to the proportions, symmetry, and polish of the loose stone. Although this is the hardest of the 4 C’s to quantify, the cut of any diamond has three attributes: brilliance (the total light reflected from a diamond), fire (the dispersion of light into the colors of the spectrum), and scintillation (the flashes of light, or sparkle). All of the factors determine how beautiful a diamond is.
The beauty of a diamond depends more on cut than any other factor. A well-cut diamond acts as a prism, splitting white light into a brilliant rainbow of colors. Ideally all diamond cutters would be focused on enhancing the light performance of loose diamonds; however, since some customers will pay more for a larger diamond, there is pressure to sacrifice beauty for weight (bigger isn't always better!). A poorly cut diamond will seem dull even with excellent color and clarity.
Unfortunately, the "cut grade" given in laboratory reports are extremely broad and do a very poor job reflecting the true beauty of the diamond. Two diamonds given the same cut grade online could end up looking completely different in person. Seeing/inspecting a diamond up close is the only way to make sure you're getting the best possible stone for your money.
Check out our other blog for a more in depth explanation of why a diamond cut matters so much.
What Does This All Mean?
The Four Cs are just as important today as ever before. They provide a universal standard for valuing diamonds and will reassure you of the value of your diamond. But it's important to remember that the Four Cs are really just a guideline. Understanding how each factor affects the appearance and price of a diamond is essential for anyone buying a diamond engagement ring.
Cut is the most important determinant of the overall appearance of a diamond. No Clarity grade can help a poorly cut diamond; however, an excellent cut diamond can have a lower color (G-H) or clarity (SI1-SI2) and still look quite beautiful due to its superior ability to create sparkle and brilliance.
Here at Long's, we only believe in selling beautiful diamonds. We want our clients to learn how to trust their eyes and evaluate a diamond on a deeper level that will leave them feeling certain about their choice (the 5th C of Loose Diamonds).
At the end of the day, your fiance won't be bragging about her “1-ct. E VS1” diamond. She'll be telling her friends to look at her "beautiful sparkly diamond ring," and that’s ultimately what matters most.