Usually, you will pick a diamond before you pick the matching band. This is where all the jargon sneaks in, and where diamond shopping gets confusing. Before you make the purchase, you really need to know the characteristics of the stone. Change just one and the price can soar from $2,000 to $22,000.
Cut: This doesn’t mean shape. The easiest way to explain cut is how sparkly the diamond looks. Gemologists measure the quality from “Ideal” to “poor.”
Color: This is ranked on a lettered system from D to Z. D means colorless and Z means a lot of color. The most important thing to know is that that D, E, and F are colorless and G, H, I, and J are near colorless. The jump from one letter to another is usually so minute that only a microscope can pick it up.
Clarity: This is probably the most confusing ranking system. The best ranking is “FL” which stands for “flawless.” The worst is “SI2” which means “Slightly Included 2.” It signifies rough edges or markings found on the outside of the diamond. Again, the difference from one ranking to another on the scale is minute.
Carat: This means weight. Watkins says most people stick with a one-carat diamond because it is a nice round number. Keep in mind that you don’t have to. You can get a .91-carat diamond and save a little extra money. Also know that price goes up exponentially. A 50% bigger diamond is going to be at least twice the price, all other C’s kept equal.
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