Engagement Series, Part 2: Diamond Basics

All that glitters...

Alright, so now that you have an idea of what her style might be, let's talk about picking a stone. We know this is probably one of the more intimidating aspects of ring purchasing because the De Beers branding from days of yore has pressured us into thinking we should spend three month's salary on a ring. Granted, if you want to do that, please do it here! But ultimately, we want to help you make the best choice. We believe the best customers are educated customers, so let's break down diamonds today! Let's start with the basics.

Brilliant diamond, left. Diamond in the rough, right. Images courtesy of GIA.

The 4C's



Sizes up the number of inclusions, blemishes, and other whoopsie-daisies.

Image courtesy of GIA. Photo by Gary Roskin GG, FGA

Very few things in life are perfect, and the same goes for diamonds. There is a grading scale for diamonds that ranges from I/Included (most diamonds fall into this category) to F/Flawless (many jewelers will go their whole careers without seeing one of these babies). Diamonds on the upper end of the scale are going to have the signature diamond glitter, but they aren't for everyone. We sell and love heavily included diamonds for engagement rings, because the inclusions really set your diamond apart from everyone else's (and has the potential to save you a ton of cash).



For white diamonds, we take a look at the tint to determine value.

Image courtesy of GIA & Tino Hammid

For white diamonds, they are graded on a scale from D (colorless) to Z (light color). Colored diamonds (think blue, pink, red, etc)  are valued completely differently, so we'll address that in a separate post. Truly colorless diamonds are very rare, so yes, they are hella expensive. Don't fret though, it's almost impossible to tell a D from a G unless you're trained, so if it's a white diamond you seek, we can find one that matches your budget. 



The cut of a diamond can elevate it from "meh" to "DANG, GIRL."

The whole reason we love diamonds so much is because of the way they play with light, i.e. how goddamn sparkly they are. There are three factors at play when it comes to diamonds that thrill you: the white light is called brightness, the color flashes are called fire, and the contrast between light and dark in a stone is called scintillation. 


Carat Weight

'Nuff said.

Something important to note that a carat is a measurement of weight, not of diamond diameter or optical size. Diamonds of the same carat weight can look dramatically different sizes because of the depth or shallowness of the stone. Generally speaking, the larger the stone the larger the cost, but diamond pricing can seem convoluted. Double the size doesn't mean double the cost. A one carat diamond is easier for the gem cutter to find in raw material than a three carat diamond, and the price increases exponentially to reflect that rarity.

We farmed the GIA site like crazy for the great images and info for this post and we highly recommend them as an educational resource. We like this one for an intro and this one if you want to go all in

Kate Cosden