We’re so excited to be back into the swing of things here at Weddings Head Quarters. And it’s no secret that while we were away over indulging in all things festive, many of you were saying “Yes” to those four little words “Will you marry me?”
For those with a fiancé too nervous to make the big purchase without you, you’re probably beside yourself with excitement, itching to hit the streets in search of the perfect piece of bling. But do you really know what you’re looking for, what the jeweller is on about when you hear the words clarity or carat? Well here’s a quick guide to everything you need to know about your next big purchase. Just remember, it’s all about the 4 C’s – Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat.
1. THE CUT
The cut doesn’t refer to a diamond’s shape but the proportion and arrangement of its sides and the quality of workmanship. The cut is a diamond’s most important characteristic, giving it the greatest influence on the overall appearance and determining what we generally refer to as “sparkle”. The amount of “brilliance” and sparkle in a diamond is defined by the cut with grades ranging from ‘Excellent’ to ‘Poor.’
In a well cut diamond a large percentage of light that enters the stone gets reflected back into the observer’s eye, giving it a bright looking appearance. In a poorly cut diamond, the light that enters reaches the sides and ‘leaks’ from the bottom of the stone, rather than reflecting back into the eye, giving it less “brilliance”.
2. THE COLOUR
Diamonds are found in almost every colour imaginable. In fact, it’s rare to find a diamond that doesn’t have colour. Essentially, a colourless diamond allows more light to pass through it and emits more “sparkle” than a coloured one meaning, the lesser the diamond’s colour, the greater its value.
Particularly coloured diamonds don’t follow this rule however and are usually quite rare and expensive, ranging in colour from blues to greens and bright yellows. Extremely rare and highly sort after coloured diamonds include pink, red, blue and orange.
A colour grading is given to a diamond ranging from D to Z, with D containing the least amount of colour and Z containing the strongest colour.
Diamonds graded from D through to F are naturally the most valuable and desirable because of their rarity but you can still find beautiful diamonds that are graded slightly less than colourless ones such as those graded from G through to I which virtually no colour to the untrained eye.
3. THE CLARITY
Because diamonds are naturally created under an immense amount of pressure, most will display flaws of some kind. A diamond’s “clarity” grade refers to its flaws, or lack thereof, for which there are two types; Blemishes, found on the surface of the diamond (external flaws like scratches and chips) and Inclusions, found within the diamond (internal flaws such as air bubbles, cracks and crystals).
The fewer the flaws a diamond has, the higher its clarity grade and value. A flawless diamond shows no external blemishes or inclusions with the lowest clarity grade exhibiting a heavily “included” diamond with large visible flaws. Because they are less common, diamonds with no or few inclusions and blemishes are more highly valued and priced.
4. THE CARAT (Weight)
Carat, or weight, is a feature of diamonds for which many people have misconceptions. To set you straight it’s important to know that one carat is equal to 200 milligrams (0.2 grams). Carats however are also divided into points with one point representing one hundredth of a carat. In other words, one carat is equal to 200 milligrams or 100 “points”.
When shopping for an engagement ring it’s important to remember the difference between Carat Weight and Total Weight (total weight referred to as CTW or TDW). If a ring’s price tag says “1 CTW” it is referring to the sum of weight of all diamonds in it. This does not however tell you anything about the weight of any single stone in the ring. Remember: Carat Weight refers to the weight of a single diamond where as Total Carat Weight refers to sum the individual carat weights of all the diamonds.
Did you know, the word “carat” is taken from the carob seeds that were once used to balance scales? The seeds are so uniform in shape and weight that even today’s technology cannot detect more than three one-thousandths of a difference between them.
So, you can now confidently shop for your engagement ring with your Groom-To-Be. Although, you will need to consider which colour gold you want, and of course which shape diamond to go for and the setting… But let’s leave that for another day.