If you’ve done any research at all into diamond engagement rings, you’ve probably come across “The Four Cs” of diamonds. And you’ve probably already checked Wikipedia to find out exactly what each C is. But what sort of impact do the Four Cs really have on your search for an engagement ring?
Diamonds rated D through F are considered the most valuable, since they are the “whitest” or “clearest”, or as some stores will claim, the “purest”. But color is an incredibly subjective characteristic. A perfectly white diamond may seem cold and harsh to some, while a diamond with a color grading on the “lower” end of the scale may seem warmer and more earthy.
The particular cut of a stone is, if anything, even more of a subjective taste than color. Who but the buyer can judge whether a square or a circle is “better”? And what about practical considerations? Might not someone in a health care profession prefer fewer sharp edges to catch on sterile, nitrile gloves?
This C refers solely to the weight of a diamond, but many equate it with overall size. However, the carat weight of an emerald cut stone may be comparable to a princess cut, though the apparent sizes may be drastically different. Realize, too, that a slender hand might be more tastefully adorned with a smaller stone.
This characteristic is often wildly misunderstood, and thus widely misjudged. From a visibility standpoint, imperfections within a stone are virtually undetectable to the naked eye down to a grading of SI2 (the fifth lowest clarity grade among 12). However, clarity goes beyond aesthetics, and can actually speak to the structural stability of a stone, since the larger and more numerous the inclusions, the more weak points within the diamond.
Knowing what the Four Cs stand for is not nearly as important as knowing what each characteristic means to you. While they may make good starting points in your search for the perfect engagement ring, they should never be taken as the last word on a particular diamond. Be sure you can see the stone firsthand, so that you can make up your mind based on how the stone makes you feel, and not what some C tells you.