The Beginner's Guide to Diamonds


| LAST UPDATE 12/12/2022

By Gitty McGee
Diamond Shopping Ring Guide
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Shopping for diamonds can be an extremely overwhelming process. At the start of the venture, you may feel like a kid in a candy shop with all the options in front of you. But soon, you're feeling fatigued, with no understanding of the difference between cut, clarity, color, and carat. While you know these things will seriously impact the ring outcome, likely, you don't understand how. We're breaking it all down right here...

First up, we have the cut. Put simply, the cut refers to the shape of the diamond. Sadly, when diamonds are dug out of the ground, they are not found in the beautiful design we buy them. The large pieces of diamond need to be shaped with particular tools and then attached to the jewelry. Shapes are ranked in terms of quality and status and will significantly contribute to the diamond's overall appearance and light reflection. Even those diamonds of the same form will vary in quality, depending on how well they have been cut. The Gemology Institute of America (GIA) grades them on a scale of 1-5.

Diamond Carat Clarity Cut
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It may be tempting to go for a bold-colored diamond, but if you want it to look expensive, opt for neutral colors. The industry describes these as 'brilliant white,' and they are given a D rank on the GIA scale. More yellowy diamonds are ranked Z and are viewed as lower-quality diamonds. This is because the discoloration reflects the diamond's impurities (non-carbon parts). Pure diamonds are transparent and, therefore, of higher quality and value. If you're looking to save a little, purchase a diamond with more yellowy tones.

Similarly, it's essential to consider the diamond's clarity. Like a yellow-toned diamond, cloudiness will also signal impurities within the diamond. These are generally small cracks known as inclusions that will diffuse the light at the stone's center. A crystal clear diamond would be so perfect that it would theoretically be invisible if no refraction or reflection were involved. The GIA has an 11-point scale for clarity from Flawless (FL) to Included (I3). The last C on our list is the carat -essentially a fancy word for weight. A carat refers to 200 milligrams of diamond, and as with most things, the more you buy of it, the more expensive it will be. For inspiration, check out our list of the most expensive celebrity engagement rings!

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