This original article was first published here: Behind the 4Cs of Loose Diamonds – With Tips and Tricks of Buying
The journey of finding true love is unique to every person and so is finding the perfect ring for that perfect partner. Buying an engagem4ent ring is a very personal decision and it’s best to base that decision on things like knowledge and taste. But all the same, do not overlook your budget and the ongoing trends if you want to hit the bull in the eye.
Sometimes, we do not know where to start from. A little nudge in the right direction or a little assistance along the way goes a long way. If you are finding the perfect engagement ring for your beloved, here is a short guide that can get you through the process with great results.
This discourse is not possible without addressing the 4Cs of loose diamonds. Let’s start there. The 4Cs of a diamond are its Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat. These four elements are key to the determination of its quality and price. There is more on that below.
Unraveling the 4Cs
You may have had a few harrowing days maniacally going through your beloved’s Pinterest board and calling up her friends and family to amass as much information as possible about her tastes and preferences in jewelry. You are the lucky one if you decided to tag the team for this hunt for the right engagement ring. Wherever you are in your search for the best engagement ring, you need to take a deep dive into the 4Cs. This is imperative because by manipulating each of these components, you can buy the most gorgeous bling for the best price possible.
You need to understand that the 4Cs grading system is not a gradation of good and bad loose diamonds but a guideline. So, the attempt to finding a right or a wrong answer is vain here. The best way to go about it is to avoid seeking the opinions of others, and instead, focus on what you think of the natural appearance of a stone.
Understand that the higher up a stone is on the scale, the more it costs. For more affordable options, you need to make small compromises on the 4Cs and that can still get you a really good stone for all. So do not be led by the misconception that the ideal stone is the one that has a perfect score on all 4 areas. There is no correct combination of specs for a stone to be perfect in the eyes of a buyer. It can be a set of specs that are both high and low.
Tips to Choosing the Components of 4Cs
Doing this right will help reduce the final price of the stone and vice versa. Let’s begin with the first and one of the most significant components, the Cut. So, what is cut? It is the way how a loose diamond has been cut, proportioned, and polished. It depends on the brilliance and fire of the stone, in other words, its light performance.
The Cut is the element of evaluating the brilliance of a loose diamond. No other component has a say in it. Ideally, there are six cut grades, namely Ideal, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. What you need to understand here is that the grade of the cut does not bump up or push down the price of a stone as much as the other three Cs do.
Excellent is super brilliant whereas Good is fairly sparkling. Depending on what you are looking for and how much you are ready to pay for it, pick a cut.
When shopping for a white loose diamond, make it your priority to buy a colorless diamond, that is as colorless as you can afford on your budget. The good news is that with curs like Asscher, round, and emerald, you can confidently go down the scale and pick something that does not show any noticeable color. However, with fancy cuts like oval, radiant, and the likes, you need to stick the grades like H and above to get a clear-looking colorless stone.
Clarity refers to the natural imperfections present in a loose diamond. Those with fewer imperfections occur high up in the scale and those with more blemishes appear at the low end. Flawless is the clear stone that shows no flaws under 10x magnification whereas Included is the visibly flawed variety. To grab a clear loose diamond for a great price, you need to hit the sweet spot which is anywhere between VSI2 to SI1. This is where you will get loose diamonds that will save you thousands of dollars and give you clear loose diamonds.
The best tip to offer here is to find a stone that strikes a balance between clarity and color. Aim for a stone that is free of visible inclusions but is also not very high up on the scale.
Coming to a carat, many shoppers slip and wind up with a loose diamond bigger than what their budgets would permit. It’s a slippery slope and you have to be very wary so that you don’t repeat the mistakes of others. Stay loyal to your budget when selecting the size of a diamond. .50 carat may be a small size, but not so much when the ring lets it shine through. All that same if you are for bigger loose diamonds, don’t hold back if you have the money for it.
To save money on bigger diamonds, cut corners on the other 3 Cs so that you can use the money saved up in those categories to get a chunky stone. A fair size is 2 carats and above. Loose Diamonds of this size do not cost too much. Nor do they look particularly small. Besides, the 2-carat size works great for most designs. Do factor in variables like the setting, its height, the style of the band, and such things when deciding on the carat size.
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