If you've been collecting diamonds for a while, you'll know that the internet is full of tips on how to find the most beautiful and refined diamonds. They all share more or less the same information, but where they differ is in how they present it.
Experts agree that the diamond's cut and polish are the most important factors in determining its overall beauty. You've probably seen someone wearing a diamond ring that appears to be lit from within, flashing with every movement of the hand.
That flare is caused by light reflecting off the diamond's exterior as well as light entering the diamond from the top, refracting off the internal surfaces, and reflecting back out. It's known as light return. The many colors visible as the diamond moves are caused by dispersion.
Another factor influencing light return is the symmetry and polish of the diamond cut. A well-cut and polished diamond will show more flashes of light and color than a diamond with the same cut but a poor polish job. On a diamond certificate, there may or may not be a polish grade. And there are certainly well-cut diamonds with excellent polish that can outperform their certified counterparts.
The cut is not in the shape of a diamond. The shape is created by the cut, but the shape also influences how bright and reflective your diamond is.
A round diamond can't be beat for shine and flash for maximum impact. The round shape's symmetry can reflect, refract, and disperse nearly all available light (if the cut and polish are good). You may come across the term "round brilliant cut," which has 58 facets and is widely considered to provide the best opportunity for great light play in and out of the diamond.
Square and princess cuts are also popular engagement ring shapes, and they are available in brilliant cuts.
A white diamond has varying degrees of color. Colorless diamonds receive the highest grades, and the amount of yellow tint increases as the color of the diamond decreases. To some extent, the less color a diamond has, the brighter and more spectacular the light play will be.
A well-cut round diamond will usually give you more color flexibility because the cut hides minor color differences. A square or princess cut may allow some color to show through at the corners.
The setting, whether in or above the band, can affect how dazzling your diamond is, and the precious metal you choose can both work to enhance its radiance.
When deciding how to set your center stone, keep in mind that a prong setting literally lifts the gem away from and above the band, allowing light to enter from almost every angle and emphasizing the diamond's beauty. Despite the appearance of a delicate setting, platinum prongs are strong and secure.
Side stones in some bands can also contribute to the overall spectacular appearance of a ring, particularly the many tiny diamonds of a pavé or other invisible setting. A halo setting can also enhance the diamond appearance by encircling the center stone with a ring of smaller diamonds.
White metals can enhance a diamond's bright white appearance. A matte finish allows the diamond to take center stage, whereas a shiny finish makes the most of the diamond. Yellow gold, on the other hand, adds warmth (as well as a sense of tradition) to an engagement ring.
5. Have faith in a professional
Nothing beats the assistance of a jewelry store's experienced professionals when it comes to diamond engagement ring shopping. They can go over the 4Cs with you and show you different diamonds, styles, and settings.
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