Picking the perfect engagement ring can be a daunting task. Not only does it require a significant amount of investment, but you will also be purchasing it for someone else. Additionally, no one teaches us about the specific diamond details that you have to consider when it comes to selecting the right ring. With a bit of luck, however, it won’t be one of your more repeatable skill sets.

We are going to walk you through the process of selecting an engagement ring. This portion of the guide is dedicated to diamonds. Everything that you need to know about diamonds is divided into four Cs: cut, color, clarity, and carat.

Cut

Most diamond experts will tell you that “cut” is the most important characteristic of a diamond because it has the greatest influence on overall beauty. Not to be confused with shape, “cut” determines the way a diamond reflects light. When cut correctly, the light should reflect out the top of the diamond (see table.) In shallow cut diamonds, light leaks out the bottom. In diamonds that are cut too deep, it leaks out the side. Cut ranges from “ideal” and “excellent” down to “fair.”

Color

Diamonds are judged on a color scale ranging from D, connoting colorlessness, to Z, which indicates a yellow-brown or grayish tone. Typically, you want your diamond colorless – or as colorless as possible. To save money, go for a G color diamond. There isn’t a significant visible difference between F and G, but the price jump is huge. If your diamond is on the low end of the scale (anything K or lower), you can set it in gold to minimize the appearance of yellowness. However, with Diamond Foundry diamonds, this is typically less of a concern, as labs can better guard against impurities than the Earth’s crust.

 

Clarity

Even something as strong and durable as a diamond can come with a few flaws, and the clarity scale measures those flaws. The scale ranges from FL “Flawless” to I3 “Included.” An “inclusion” refers to a blemish that is visible to the naked eye. For an engagement ring, you want to select something between FL “Flawless” and VS1/VS2 “Very Slightly Included.” To save money, experts recommend that you buy something in the “Very Slightly Included” range, as there is little difference between the blemishes in these diamonds and the next level up.

 

Carat

The carat refers to the size of the diamond. Unlike the other three Cs, there isn’t a good trick with this one as the higher the carat number, the bigger the size of the diamond placed on the engagement ring. Some experts suggest that if you need to skim on one of the other Cs to afford a bigger carat, then you should go for clarity.  

Image source Theknot.com

In summary, the cut is the most important of the four Cs to consider when purchasing a diamond. For a colorless diamond, buy something from D to G on the color scale – G is the biggest bang for your buck. If you can’t afford a clear color, then set the diamond in yellow gold. For clarity, you want “Very Slightly Included” or higher to minimize visual blemishes.