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The 5 Cs of Diamonds – How to Pick the Perfect Diamond

wedding rings

The 4Cs are a must-know when shopping for a diamond ring because they help you narrow down your options and determine what makes one diamond better than the next.

If you've done any window shopping or reading up on diamonds, chances are you've come across the four 4Cs (cut, color, carat, and color) being mentioned.

What if I told you that there's an important 5th C that you should also take into account? It's important to understand exactly what this term means before making a purchase.

As we explore the five Cs of diamond buying, we'll reveal money-saving strategies for finding a stunning engagement ring without going over budget. Find out more about the 5 cs of diamonds here...

What we're going to talk about is listed below.

  • The First C – Cut Quality
  • The Second C – Color
  • The Third C – Carat Weight
  • The Fourth C – Clarity
  • What Is The 5th C And Why Is It Important?
  • Which Are The Grading Labs You Can Trust?
  • Let’s Wrap Things Up – 5 C’s Of Diamonds

The First C – Cut Quality

Cutting a diamond properly determines its radiance and glimmer, making it the most significant of the 4 Cs. A diamond's brilliance, symmetry, and polish are all taken into consideration when it is graded at the GIA. The stone is then given a grade of Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, or Poor.

A diamond ring from Diamond Registry is shown below in a variety of lighting conditions to show you the best of the best cut quality.

For a diamond to shine brightly, you should only purchase diamonds that have been graded as Excellent (GIA) or Ideal (AGS). The diamond's proportions and facets must also be scrutinized with an eye for detail.

The Second C – Color

The more valuable and sought-after a diamond is, the less color it has (with the exception of fancy color diamonds). According to the GIA, a grade is assigned to a stone by performing an in-lab visual comparison to a set of masterstones that range from D (colorless) through Z (light color).

The majority of gem-quality diamonds that are sold to the general public fall into one of these categories:

  • D, E, F – Colorless
  • G, H, I, J – Near Colorless
  • K, M – Faint, Slightly Tinted

So, which color would be the wisest choice? The answer is that it is entirely up to you and the style of ring that you choose.

In the photo below, we compared diamonds of different color grades to show what they look like in real-world context.

The J or K diamonds would be ideal for a vintage look or a yellow gold setting. Even though D diamonds cost more, they are worth it if you are looking for nothing less than perfection.

Color grades I recommend for the vast majority of people are the G, H, and I grades because they are practical and cost-effective. A well-cut diamond will appear white if it is set in platinum or white gold.

The Third C – Carat Weight

A diamond's carat weight is the most well-known feature, owing to its close association with the stone's apparent size in the hand. Carat weight is the diamond's metric weight, and one carat weighs exactly 200 milligrams.

Because larger diamonds are more difficult to come by, carat weight has a direct correlation to the price of a diamond. The price of a diamond rises in direct proportion to its size.

To make a diamond ring, the most popular size is 1 carat because of its psychological, whole number association. Because of the high demand for these diamonds, smaller carat diamonds see a price increase.

Here's a helpful tidbit that I swear by when I'm on a tight budget:. The "magic numbers" like 1.0ct, 1.5ct, and 2.0ct tend to elude me. Instead, I prefer diamonds that are slightly smaller.

I'd avoid popular 1ct stones by shopping for stones weighing 0.8ct or 0.9ct instead, which are less expensive. When the diamonds are set, a 0.9ct diamond can look just as good as a 1.0ct diamond, saving you thousands of dollars.

The Fourth C – Clarity

The inclusions and blemishes found in a diamond are measured for their impact on the stone's clarity. A certified gemologist examines the diamond at a 10X magnification in the gemological laboratory.

A diamond's grade is determined by its location, size, quantity, relief, and severity of inclusions.

  • FL, IF- Flawless, Internally Flawless
  • VVS1, VVS2 – Very, Very Slightly Included
  • VS1, VS2 – Very Slightly Included
  • SI1, SI2 – Slightly Included
  • I1, I2, I3 – Included

As a matter of fact, inclusions in natural diamonds are perfectly normal because of their chaotic formation in the Earth's crust. An inclusion-free diamond is rarer than one with a large number of them. As a result, these diamonds will command a higher price.

When shopping for diamonds, many people make the mistake of focusing too much on the clarity grade because they believe that a higher rating means that the diamond is more beautiful. A naked eye would miss the vast majority of inclusions. A VS2 diamond may look identical to an IF diamond, but it will cost significantly less than the same diamond.

In the industry, diamonds with inclusions that aren't visible to the naked eye are referred to as "eye-clean" diamonds. When a diamond's clarity plot looks cluttered and full of inclusions, this is because it is, but in reality, these inclusions are so small that they have no effect on the diamond's appearance at all.

Diamonds in the VS2-SI2 range can be eyeclean and save you a lot of money compared to a VVS or IF diamond if you inspect them physically or with a magnified video.

What Is The 5th C And Why Is It Important?

wedding rings

If you thought that the fifth C stood for Cost, Character or even Confidence then you were wrong. In addition to the 4Cs, fluorescence, and additional remarks, the diamond certification (also known as a grading report) contains critical information about the stone's characteristics.

Unethical jewelers frequently dismiss this document, claiming things like "you are buying the diamond, not the paper." or "it's just a piece of paper." You can have confidence in the diamond's quality with a certificate from a trusted, neutral third-party lab like GIA or AGS.

The accuracy of the 4Cs is further confirmed by the 5th C when making a diamond purchase. It's possible that the diamond's quality has been "inflated" due to the use of dubious grading standards (such as EGL and GSI).

This is the reason that uninformed customers are taken advantage of by dishonest jewelers who misrepresent their products, causing them to overpay for the diamond.

As a general rule, if your jeweler is unwilling or unable to provide you with a proper diamond certificate, you should look elsewhere for your jewelry needs.

Which Are The Grading Labs You Can Trust?

wedding rings

The European Grading Laboratory is one of the industry's most well-known testing facilities (EGL). Prior to their closure, diamonds with EGL certificates had a bad reputation for being mislabeled and overvalued, resulting in many customers being fleeced.

Customers who purchased EGL diamonds and later discovered they had been deceived by their jewelers are now suing them for millions of dollars. This sparked a firestorm within the jewelry industry and drew a lot of media attention to it.

Because of their poor grading standards, they were quickly banned from major trading networks and forced out of business. Millions of dollars in consumer money had already been lost, and it was too late to reverse the damage.

We've learned a valuable lesson from this experience: only purchase diamonds that have been certified by a trustworthy laboratory. That begs the question, doesn't it? When shopping for a diamond, who are the laboratories you can put your trust in? For your convenience, I've compiled a list of resources below:

For lab diamonds, IGI and GCAL.

These are the two labs that grade lab-created diamonds on a commercial scale, and they are the ones I trust implicitly. GCAL's certificates, in my opinion, are better because of the light performance data they include. This is common knowledge among cutters and jewelers. To get a better grade, better cut diamonds are sent to GCAL, while most other diamonds are sent to IGI.

For natural diamonds, GIA and AGS.

When it comes to grading standards that are both consistent and reliable, the GIA is unsurpassed. It is guaranteed that you will get exactly what you are paying for with a GIA certificate. AGS's color and clarity grading standards are similar to GIA's, but they are stricter when it comes to the quality of the cut. AGS receives the inventory of vendors dealing in high performance diamonds, while GIA receives the majority of the generic stones.

For fancy color diamonds, GIA.

The color and saturation of a fancy color diamond greatly affect its value. The GIA certification is essential because the lab uses advanced and sophisticated equipment to examine a diamond's color origin. Fancy-color diamonds can be worth hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars depending on whether or not a lab can detect any color treatments.

Let’s Wrap Things Up – 5 C’s Of Diamonds

Buying a diamond for the first time can be a frightening and perplexing experience. But if you take a step back and focus on what really matters, you'll be able to make better purchases. As a thank you for taking the first step in properly walking through the process of purchasing a diamond, which is "learning," we at Diamond Registry have created a short video for you to get to know us better and gain additional knowledge.

In order to find the perfect diamond, you must first determine your budget and personal style preferences. For a beautiful diamond, you don't need the best clarity or colour grade. The key factors in a diamond's appearance are its cut quality and its weight.

In order to purchase a diamond, you must have a certificate, but not all certificates are created equal. It is important that you only buy a diamond that has been properly graded if you want to be certain of its stated quality.

With this knowledge, you should be able to use the 4Cs to select a diamond, and the 5th C – certificate – to figure out the right price to pay for it. Send me an email if you need a second opinion or have any other questions. All the best to you in your endeavors!

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