The first time you go into the jeweler and begin looking at diamond engagement rings you’ll quickly find that the majority of the cost will be in the diamond itself. Of course, the setting and the ring will carry some value, however, the diamond often can make up nearly 75% of the cost of an engagement ring.
There are four determining factors that go into the cost of a diamond and these are commonly referred to as the 4 C’s. The 4 C’s refer to: cut, color, clarity and carat. The grading system based on these four important factors is what really determines the final cost of a diamond.
The cut of a diamond is often confused with the shape of a diamond, but there is much more to the cut of a diamond that simply shaping the diamond. The sparkle and the brilliance of a diamond is almost completely affected by how the diamond is cut, not shaped.
Regardless of what shape the diamond is cut in, if it is cut too shallow or too deep it will lose brilliance or appear dark and dull. If a diamond is cut poorly it will greatly lower the cost of the diamond and in some cases render it almost valueless.
The most common diamond color is white. A common misconception is that all sparkly diamonds are colorless but what they really are is prisms that are bending the color spectrum to give off that appearance. However, there are extremely rare diamonds that are completely void of color.
When determining the cost of a diamond the grader will take into account the amount of yellow contained in the diamond. Generally speaking the more yellow, the lower the cost of the diamond. The majority of diamonds on the market will have some amounts of yellow tint to them.
At the other spectrum of diamond colors are the fancy colors. Fancy colored diamonds are diamonds with only a single color and no secondary colors affecting them, such as red or blue diamonds. These diamonds are the most expensive of diamonds and are extremely rare.
The clarity of a diamond is often the second most important aspect when determining the cost of a diamond. There are two factors that affect the clarity grade of a diamond and they are: inclusions and blemishes.
Inclusions are internal imperfections of a diamond. Some types of inclusions are other embedded minerals that became part of the diamond while it formed, some diamonds have lines or streaks in them and some diamonds appear somewhat milky in color. Inclusions such as these will lower the diamond clarity grade, in turn, lowering the cost of the diamond.
Blemishes are the external imperfections of a diamond. Often these are simply nothing more than scratches, nicks or pits. Diamond blemishes can also be caused during the cutting and polishing process of the diamond. Like inclusions, the more blemishes or visible blemishes a diamond has will lower it’s cost.
The carat of a diamond is actually the weight of the diamond and one carat is equal to two hundred milligrams of weight. Diamond weight is the most important factor in determining the cost of a diamond. Diamonds are weighed before they are placed in settings and more often than not larger diamonds cost more than smaller diamonds. The only time this would be reversed is if the larger diamond was graded quite lower on the other three C’s.
When you are looking at diamond engagement rings, for example, you’ll sometimes see the ring has a total weight of ‘x’ carats. What this means is the actual combined weight of all the diamonds contained in the ring. If there are small diamond side stones, they will be included with the size of the center diamond. Many times this can be confusing as people think when they see total weight it refers only to the major diamond in the ring.
Perhaps the most important aspect to take into account when shopping for a diamond is the reputation and knowledge of the diamond retailer. Most are more than willing to help explain in more detail what goes into the cost of a particular diamond you may be considering for purchase and will be able to guide you the right diamond for your budget.