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The Four C's and My Diamond Engagement Ring Friday, August 3, 2012 ~ 9:00 a.m.

I'm probably one of the few ladies out there that actually believes that her husband did a better job of picking out my engagement ring than I ever would have. Yes, that's my ring in the photos below, which were kindly taken by my very talented friend and Denver wedding photographer, Christina of Bride Inspired. Before we had gotten engaged in October 2010, Dale and I had discussed rings. What I liked, what I didn't, what he liked, what he didn't. I always wanted a 2-carat princess cut diamond; it was the trendy choice at the time, and the size really, really mattered to me. It sounds shallow, I know, but I'm being completely honest here, so don't hate me for it! I would have rather had a slightly flawed diamond that was larger, than a smaller one that was perfect. My husband though, being the intelligent, level-headed and methodical engineer that he is, was not going to purchase a poor quality diamond.

I should mention that my husband worked in a jewelry store in high school, so he knows his stuff. He was less concerned with the setting, design and shape of the stone, and more concerned with what we all commonly known as the Four C's of diamonds - Cut, clarity, carat and color. I actually did a post that delves into more detail about the 4-C ratings just a couple of weeks ago. Despite the fact that these criteria can seem daunting, they're actually in place to protect the buyer. That way, whether you walk into a Zales or a Tiffany & Co., you can make sure you're getting a high quality diamond that's worth the price that you pay. Oh and trust me, Tiffany's has many poor quality diamonds in its jewelry case; just because it has "Tiffany" on the band, doesn't automatically mean that there's a high quality diamond attached. So do your homework! The last thing that you want to do is rely on the brand name when making such an important purchase.

Diamond engagement ring

My husband actually went to a diamond dealer in the Los Angeles Jewelry District, shopping for and evaluating the diamond stone by itself first, and worrying about the setting and band later. He would later tell me that him and my best friend would struggle between two round diamonds, one that was slightly smaller with better clarity, and one that was slightly larger with a minor (but visible) flaw. Poor guy, he was so concerned about making me happy that he was actually opting for the larger diamond, until my best friend convinced him otherwise. I guess the larger diamond had a very visible black speck at the base of the diamond that my friend just couldn't help but focus on whenever she looked at it. Dale ultimately purchased the slightly smaller diamond, which was the one that he felt best about purchasing, too.

After all was said and done, I was so happy with my ring. Not only that, I was happy that Dale went with the clearer diamond, which I never thought I would say! I'm so happy and confident with my diamond ring that I'm actually breaking it down with you guys today. I'm sharing everything, except the price out of respect for my husband, and because I honestly don't know, myself! All of the information below was gathered from my Diamond Grading Report, provided by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Which, by the way, you should make sure that you get when you purchase your engagement ring. The GIA certification ensures that the diamond you buy is what the jeweler says that it is, and the certificate will be necessary when you go to appraise and insure your ring.

Diamond solitaire engagement ring

The Four C's and My Diamond Engagement Ring

Category My Ring Rating Explaination of Rating
Shape and Cutting Style: Round Brilliant Shapes range from round to emerald, marquis, cushion, pear-shaped and princess. The cut of a ring, often deemed the most important in determinging a diamond's sparkle, is based on the proportion, symmetry and flourescence. Learn more here.
Carat Weight: 1.35 carats The carat is the measurement used to determine the diamond's size by weight. A carat is typically equated 200 miligrams, or 1/5 of a gram. Because round brilliant cuts follow exact standards, you can make a good estimate of the carat weight of the stone based on the stone's diameter.
Color Grade: E Color grades range from a D rating being the best and most "Colorless" diamond, all the way to a Z, being the worst and "Light" in color.
Clarity Guide: SI1 This is probably the most complicated grading system, if you ask me, and measures the flaws in the diamond. The rating system goes like this (from perfectly "Flawless" to "Included"): "Flawless," is the best and most rare in diamonds; VVS1 and VVS2, means "Very very slightly included"; VS1 and VS2 is "Very Slightly Included"; SI1 and SI2 is "Slightly Included"; I1, I2 and I3 ratings are at the lower end of the scale meaning "Included".
Cut Grade: Very Good The quality of the cut of a diamond is rated on a scale of five from "Excellent," "Very Good," "Good," "Fair," to "Poor"

The certificate will also include diagrams indicating where there are visible flaws in the diamond. Mine has three flaws characterized as "Twinning Wisps" on the left side of the stone. A Twinning Wisp is an inclusion that occurs while the diamond is being formed, and refers to a cloudy area caused by pinpoints, small crystals and tiny feathers to twist within a twinning plane. I personally can't see these flaws when I look at my diamond, but they are there!

I hope this helps you make a smart decision about yours (or your soon-to-be wife's) diamond engagement ring! Honestly, I get stopped on a regular basis with compliments on my ring, not because of its size or design (even though I think it's beautiful :), but because of how clear and sparkly it is. And really, people look. When I first got engaged, I couldn't believe how many people pulled my hand up close to their face to see the diamond itself. I was so happy that I didn't have to worry or be self conscious about what they could or could not see in my diamond. The line I hear all the time is, "Wow! Your husband really knew what he was doing!" Trust me, the four C's make a difference. It doesn't matter how large your diamond is, if it's yellow and cut poorly, it's not going to sparkle. Someone told me recently that it's like wearing a dirty diamond on your finger all the time. Trust me, to the trained eye, there is nothing worse than a 3-carat murky diamond.

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