Understanding the Many Facets of Diamonds

True love is like a diamond. It's resilient, radiant and perfectly unique. No two relationships are identical, just like no two diamonds are alike. When selecting the stone for your beloved's engagement ring, you want one which is distinct and reflects your one-of-a-kind love.

Choosing a diamond that fully represents your special story is an important decision. If you're not sure where to begin, we recommend starting with the 4 C's. Cut, color, clarity and carats are the criteria that every diamond in the world is evaluated on. They were established by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in the 1940's. Since then, they've reigned as the worldwide diamond evaluation standard.

You might be surprised to find that the right diamond doesn't have to be flawless. Your extraordinary love is perfectly imperfect and so is every diamond. It's mostly a matter of finding the stone which matches your ring setting and budget. That's where the 4 C's come in. By understanding these components, you can choose the diamond that fits your setting, price point and your incredible love story.

Ring

Cut

Many believe that cut is the most important of the 4 C's because it has the biggest impact on the diamond's appearance. Some think it refers to the shape of the diamond, such as round, pear, princess and oval. However, it actually describes how the diamond is proportioned and faceted, creating the ideal symmetry to reflect the maximum amount of light. In short, the cut determines how light flows through the diamond, creating sparkle and shine.

According to the GIA grading system, the cut is rated as Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. We recommend sticking with an Excellent to Very Good range to reveal the full radiance of your diamond.

Color

Color is the second most important C and actually refers to the lack of color in a diamond. Diamonds naturally come in a variety of colors including gray, white, yellow, green, brown and pink. But the highest quality and rarest diamonds are colorless, making them almost icy in appearance. GIA values color on a scale of D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown). D, E, F graded diamonds will cost more than diamonds lower on the scale, such as K diamonds, which have a faint color.

A little color isn't always a bad thing. For instance, diamond color is affected by different settings and metals. A K graded diamond may not be as rare or high quality as a D or even an F, but it may pair beautifully with that yellow gold solitaire setting you have your eye on. Diamonds with a lower rating will also cost less.

Clarity

Clarity refers to how natural imperfections in the diamond are evaluated. Surface flaws are known as "blemishes" while internal defects are called "inclusions". Diamonds with the smallest amount of inclusions receive the highest clarity grades making them more expensive.

But diamonds are unique, not perfect. Natural diamonds are born in the depths of the earth's crust under high pressure and temperature. This means that inclusions and blemishes will inevitably occur. In fact, less than 1% of all diamonds are categorized as "flawless", because it's rare to find a diamond free of inclusions.

Carat

The term carat is often misunderstood. It refers to the diamond's actual weight, not the diamond's size. The word carat comes from "carob" seed, the original unit of weight used by diamond traders. Today a carat weighs about as much as a paperclip.

When it comes to carat, two diamonds of equal carat weight might have different cost depending on cut, color and clarity.

If you want to continue exploring more about the 4 C's, check out our interactive guide here.

Proposal

Begin Your Adventure

Are you ready to tie the knot? Join us August 12th through August 14th for our Fall Wedding Weekend, where you can receive up to $750 off your purchase! Plus, customers who make and keep an appointment will save an additional $50. It's an excellent opportunity to find the perfect engagement ring or a wedding band. Don't miss out on this special, limited-time event. Begin the next chapter of your amazing adventure at Martin Binder. We love helping customers find the right diamond or engagement ring. These once-in-a-lifetime moments are something we cherish as much as you do. So come in and check out our incredible selection. And remember if you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us.