June 30 2014 Monday at 05:18 PM

Learn About Diamond Rings Before Buying: How to Have Fun and Learn Something Along the Way

One of the most exciting times in a woman’s life is the entire marriage process, from proposal and ring, to planning the celebration and the actually wedding, and of course years of marital bliss.  Let’s focus on the ring part, as this is a physical representation of your love that will stay with you forever.  Some women like to be surprised by the ring, and others like to be involved in the purchase.  If you’re like me, you want to be involved, but you also don’t know what to look for in a ring.  If you really want to have a special emblem of your love, you should become educated in the diamond ring world.  Not only will you be able to find yourself a special token of love, but you can have fun along the way learning about the complex world of diamond rings.

Let’s explore.

The qualities of diamonds that we need to educate ourselves about are known as the Four C’s.  They are: cut, clarity, color and carat.  And none of them are intuitive; you have to learn about and compare each of these four qualities.  Then, and only then, can you confidently pick out a diamond that you know is special, priced appropriately, and a source of love for all of your days.


Source: Drawing of antique Diamond Cuts from Alexander Japp's 1889 "Days With Industrials"

The Cut of the ring is the most difficult to describe, but is also the most important.  The brilliance of the diamond comes from its cut.  A diamond can be cut by hand or by machine.  Typically a machine will do an adequate job, but an expertly hand-cut diamond will be more brilliant every time.  It’s the cut that determines the number of faces on the rock, and the more faces means the more sparkle.  The most faces that can by done by machine will be 124 – to get 128 faces, the most that are possible for a diamond, it must be cut by hand.  That is why those additional faces, which add a special sparkle, make the rock worth considerably more. 


Source: easycalculation.com

Rocks are formed nationally by long term geological pressure.  As with any natural process, there are going to be imperfections, or inclusions, during the time of formation.  They can be subtle or they can be more obvious, but the inner flaws of a diamond determine the rock’s clarity.  Obviously, the fewer flaws, the more clear and the more brilliance will be achieved.


Diamonds can have a hint of color to them, pink being the most common.  You might think that color would add value but quite the opposite is true.  A colorless rock will allow the most sparkle, which comes from the refraction of light through the faces.  Any color within the rock will absorb some light, and any time you are absorbing as opposed to reflecting like, you’re diminishing the brilliance.


Carat is simply a measure of weight.  You can’t glue rocks together, obviously, and the larger the diamond the more rare.  The pricing structure does not go up linearly: the bigger the rock the more expensive it is, on a sliding, or exponential, scale. 

Learning about the four qualities of diamond will help you in the shopping process.  There is no right or wrong: you must determine what you value the most.  Size or sparkle, brilliance or weight.  A diamond ring is for you and for your husband-to-be.  You do not have to worry about what your friend or your sister valued most, you get to have your own opinion as it’s an extremely personal piece of jewelry.

Go to stores and start asking to see rings of varying degrees of these four qualities and you will start to develop an eye, and a feel, for what to look for and for what’s important to you.  And most importantly, allow yourself to have fun with it, and to learn.