If you’re new to the world of ring shopping, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Going into a jewelry store for the first time can be intimidating. You may feel like there are too many options, or like a fish out of water when it comes to talking “the diamond talk.” While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to ring shopping, there are some key questions to ask no matter your process. Use these 5 questions as a start to your diamond buying guide.
The 4C’s are the diamond’s cut, carat, color, and clarity. Diamonds are graded on each of the 4C’s, making them a great starting point when it comes to understanding the overall quality of your diamond.
Cut: Many people associate diamond cut with the shape of the diamond, but that’s a common misconception. Since diamonds are known for their ability to release light and sparkle, the diamond’s cut grade is actually based on its ability to release the diamond’s natural beauty and shine.
Carat: A diamond’s carat is its weight, with one carat equaling 200 milligrams. Carat weight is most often associated with the diamond’s size, because diamonds with a larger carat weight tend to look larger as well.
Color: Diamonds are graded by an absence of color. That’s because even the slightest tinges of color in a diamond can affect the overall brilliance of the stone. Most diamonds are graded on a D to Z scale, with D through F being categorized as “colorless” and S through Z being categorized as “light yellow.”
Clarity: Natural diamonds were likely formed from carbon trapped under very high pressure in the Earth’s interior at the time the planet was formed. This naturally occurring phenomenon often leads to internal flaws (“inclusions”) that affect the clarity of the diamond. Diamond clarity is rated on a 6-category scale: flawless, internally flawless, very very slightly included, very slightly included, slightly included, and included.
It is important to find a jeweler that has certified conflict-free diamonds. Stores like Jared and Kay only accept diamonds that come a participating Kimberly Process vendor. The Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) was created in 2003 to eradicate conflict diamonds from legitimate supply chains.
Many diamonds are sourced from the De Beers Diamond Group – which are conflict free. The company adheres to the Kimberly Process in addition to its other best practice principles that can be viewed here.
Read also: Diamonds Do Good
As I mentioned earlier, natural diamonds are created under intense heat and pressure over thousands of years. Diamonds are the hardest material on the earth. In fact, they’re 58 times harder than anything else found in nature!
If a diamond isn’t 100% natural, it may be because it has been treated to repair cracks or change the color. This could lead to durability issues or lowered value over time. Some diamonds are even entirely man-made in a laboratory instead of beneath the earth’s surface.
Any diamond you purchase must come with at least a 4C’s certification from an independent lab. This will allow you to feel confident that the diamond is natural and has the 4C’s attributes you were promised. The Leo Diamondâ is certified by Gemological Science International (GSI), but there are other well-trusted laboratories as well: Gemological Institute of America (GIA), American Gem Society Laboratory (AGS), and International Gemological Institute (IGI).
In addition to the 4C’s certification, some diamond companies offer specialized certifications. For example, The Leo offers a certification from GemEx Systems. GemEx is an independent lab that tests the diamond’s return of light – something Leo’s patented cut revolutionized with its signature faraway sparkle!
Read also: The 5th C – Confidence
Since engagement rings are typically worn all day, every day (for forever!), they are susceptible to a pretty serious amount of wear and tear. It’s important to choose a jeweler that takes its quality seriously and can offer you a warranty for life’s little mishaps like small diamonds falling out of prongs, or scratches and dents to your band.
When you buy a ring from Kay or Jared, for example, you receive free inspections every 6 months for life. In the unlikely event of a lost stone during regular wear, you can get your stone replaced for free, as long as you stick to your inspection schedule. (Please speak to an authorized dealer for details.)
Everyone’s ring buying needs are different. But, if you use these 5 questions as a foundation for your diamond buying guide, you’re sure to find the perfect ring for your partner in no time!