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What you should know when buying a Diamond Ring


Diamond information for couples interested in buying a diamond engagement ring. At a point in nearly every man's life, there comes a time when his heart knows it's time to buy a diamond engagement ring for the woman he loves. Only then will you feel comfortable buying a diamond engagement ring. There are many things to consider when learning how to buy a diamond, you should never rush into buying a diamond without first doing a little research as to how the diamonds are priced. Buying a diamond is no different, except most of know us very little about diamonds. Buying a diamond ring is often an emotional - not to mention expensive - experience. Buying a diamond ring can be a huge investment and you want to get one with the perfect diamond in it, so you may be intimidated if you are a first time buyer. Buying a diamond means investing in a piece for forever. Every individual buying a diamond seeks out the best they can afford. When buying a diamond, consider your budget and where the stone will be worn to help determine the ideal carat size.

Diamond Ring: The Four C's of Buying a Diamond

The Four C's of Buying a Diamond, to determine the best price for your ring, you need to be familiar with the four C's. The four C's of cut, color, clarity, and carat are explained.

Diamond Color

Most diamonds have a slight hint of yellow and the diamond color scale is based on the amount of yellow present in a diamond. It’s the absence of color that adds value to the diamond.  Diamond color is graded according to the GIA Grading Scale. Grades are based on the amount of yellow that is visible when viewed facedown through the pavilion using the GIA Diamond Lite. The color scale ranges from D (colourless) to Z (yellow tinge).  See chart at end of article

Diamond Cut

To achieve the maximum reflection of light that causes a diamond to sparkle requires a diamond to have an Ideal/Excellent cut grade. Ideal cut diamonds are graded as such because they fall within the ideal cut grade parameters specified by the diamond grading labs. The better cut grades are likely to display more fire and brilliance and since their appearance is more desirable, they are priced accordingly. The GIA and EGL have only extended ideal/excellent cut grade parameters to round brilliant stones at this time. Determining a diamond's cut grade, however, goes beyond simple measurements of width and depth. Diamond Cut is perhaps the most important of the four Cs.

Diamond Clarity

A diamond's clarity is determined by the number, nature, position, size and colour of internal characteristics called "inclusions" and surface features called "blemishes". These show themselves as the various characteristics which make up the clarity of a diamond, included crystals, feathers, clouds etc. These characteristics are sometimes not visible to the naked eye and they are what make each diamond unique. This clarity grade becomes more important as the diamond size increases. The clarity scale was developed by the Gemological Institute of America GIA to quantify these imperfections.  See chart at end of article.

Diamond Carat

It is a common misconception that carats refer to the size of a diamond. In reality, a carat is the standard unit of weight by which diamonds are measured.  Since a carat is a measure of weight, not size, one diamond of the same carat weight may look bigger than another depending on the cut. A premium cut diamond may actually appear bigger than many diamonds of a higher carat weight.

Diamond Shape

Stones come in different shapes, the following are the most popular - Round, Oval, Marquise, Pear, Emerald, Heart, Princess, and Radiant.


A round brilliant is a great choice if you want the most sparkle and the most enduring classic shape round-brilliant diamonds are the only shape to have this ideal proportion defined. Brilliant cut diamonds have facets that are shaped like triangles and kites. Today's round brilliant diamond has a total of fifty-eight facets, but you'll see varying facet numbers in vintage brilliant cut diamonds. Even though Round Brilliant cut diamonds are the most expensive in the market, they make up the overwhelming majority of diamonds found in engagement rings, and are popular as stud earrings and pendants.


The elongated shape of Oval diamonds gives a very flattering effect to your finger when worn in a ring, and is found in some of the most beautiful diamond engagement rings. Unlike round cut diamonds, oval cut diamonds have an elongated shape, which makes the diamond appear larger in carat weight. Oval cut diamonds are essentially elongated round cut diamonds. Many women with smaller hands or shorter fingers prefer the look of oval cut diamonds and pear shaped diamonds because they truly slenderize and elongate the fingers on the hand.


While marquise diamonds are not as popular as round cut diamonds or princess cut diamonds, they are still quite sophisticated and elegant. A marquise cut diamond has a uniquely beautiful shape that is favoured by many women, but a small percentage of brilliance will be sacrificed for the beauty of this uniquely diamond shape. Compared to the round cuts, the marquise diamonds are not as popular these days. In addition, the shape of the marquise diamond almost makes the stone appear larger than it is. The Marquise shape was created for Louis the XIV and is has become a timeless classic.


The pear shape is a stunningly feminine diamond shape with a rounded end on one side and a tapering point at the other.  Due to their elongated shape, pear cut diamonds are known for their slenderizing effect. .The Pear cut allows a range of cutting styles, so that the teardrop shape can be wider, slimmer, or cut to Ideal proportions, based on your choice and preferences. Pear shaped diamonds have a rounded end and a single point. While pear shaped diamonds are not as traditional as round cut diamonds, or as trendy as princess cut diamonds, they are still coveted by many people.


The emerald-cut diamond is among the most classic of diamond shapes that is distinguished by bevelled corners and step facets, emerald cut diamonds are more transparent than other shapes, resulting in the need for higher standards of clarity. The emerald cut can be one of the least expensive to cut because its shape is most like the natural shape of the rough diamond crystal. Because of the angle, size and shape of the facets, the emerald cut shows less brilliance and fire dispersion than the other brilliant cut diamonds. However, the emerald cut stone reveals a classic beauty and elegance not seen in other cuts. The trim lines of Emerald cut diamonds lend an elegant, sophisticated air to both the simplest of ring designs.


The heart-shaped diamond is the most romantic of diamond shapes and a symbol of love and affection, the heart cut diamond is an excellent choice for an anniversary or engagement ring. It is a tender gesture to make to someone special. A quality heart-shaped diamond is lovely and distinctive, with an even shape and well-defined outline.  They are the ultimate symbol of romance, and more and more people are choosing heart cut diamonds for engagement and anniversary rings. Heart Shaped Diamonds are rarer and more expensive as it takes a large piece of diamond rough to shape cut and polish to something that is the ultimate symbol of love “the heart”


A modern innovation, the princess shape dazzles and sparkles with its starburst facet pattern, while still leaving the crown of the diamond flat and open. The princess cut is stunning set as a solitaire it is a modern classic of clean, square lines and beautiful sparkle. Its sharp corners are usually contained in a four-pronged or bezel set in wedding rings. You will also find Princess cut diamonds are often channelled into the wedding band itself.  Princess Cut Diamonds are for those people who love the sparkle and brilliance associated with round cut diamonds, but prefer  the shape of a square. While the round brilliant solitaire seems to be the most popular shape right now for engagement rings, many people are deviating from this trend and going with princess cut diamonds.


The radiant cut was first patented in the late 1970’s by Henry  Grossbard, with its angular shape and brilliant cut facets it makes a scintillating alternative to other cuts such as the Emerald cut. The radiant shaped diamond can be considered a modified brilliant diamond that is closely related to the princess cut diamond because of its square shape.  High quality Radiant cut diamonds combine the fire and sparkle of Emerald and Round cuts.

Now you know the different shapes of diamonds that you can purchase and which shape will accentuate individual fingers or provide brilliant sparkle we can now move on to the ring.

There are many different metals used for rings today which can be grouped into two, precious and non -precious, those in the precious group including silver, gold, and platinum, while those in the non-precious group can include brass, copper ad nickel. Most rings today are made of gold or platinum so we will focus our discussion on these two precious metals.


Gold comes in various colours that can reflect the carat value of the carat of yellow gold with 10k, 14k and   18k being the most popular.  Did you know that you can get Rose Gold, white gold and yellow gold and that white gold is more a silver color than white? Until recently white gold was yellow gold with as much of the yellow gold removed as possible, however it was still not a true white color. To give you that white (silver) brilliance the rings are plated with Rhodium or palladium.


Platinum became very popular for its natural white (silver) color and durability. Customers that buy white gold rings that have rhodium plating will have to have the ring re-plated every few years if it’s worn regularly,  aas the rhodium wears off. With platinum the color stays the same no mater how often you wear it. Platinum is about twice the price of 14K Gold and can push the price of the setting and diamond out of the range of some customers.

Ring Mounts

There are thousands of different settings available for you to choose from; they come in all shapes and sizes, from solitaires to multi stone rings. Your choice is a personal one; however you should consider when you are going to be wearing your ring. If you plan to wear it daily then pick something with a low profile that protects the diamond and setting from getting damaged if you accidentally catch it against something. This could lead to the diamond coming loose and having to be reset, to forcing the diamond out of the mounting and breaking it.

On the other hand,  if you are only going to wear the ring for special occasions then purchase a mount that holds the diamond high so that it’s well displayed and allow the light to enter unobstructed from the top and show the scintillating fire and brilliance.

RRemember that if you are purchasing a high quality diamond for your ring, having other diamonds around it will detract from your centre diamond.  If on the other hand you are purchasing a smaller centre diamond adding smaller ones around the outside will make the centre one look larger

Engagement sets are also very popular, with couples purchasing the engagement ring and then going back and purchasing the wedding band from the set, for that special day.


Clarity and Color Charts  


When buying a Diamond there are four important factors for you to consider Clarity, Color, Carat and Cut. The table below looks at Clarity and Color. This information is based on the GIA Diamond Grading Systems (note there are other grading systems that you will see referenced by other sellers). Please review the information below and if you have any questions please contact:-  Derek  Parnell G.G. (GIA) at Jewels by Truros (>

  Diamond  Grading


Some diamonds are more perfect than others. Clarity refers to the amount and size of imperfections in the diamond. These may be internal flaws (called inclusions) and external flaws (called blemishes). Depending on how a diamond is mounted, some minor flaws can be hidden. The following table is a standard clarity chart, starting from the highest clarity rating and working downwards.



Free from all inclusions or blemishes - No inclusions visible at 10x magnification.


Very Very Slightly Included #1

Inclusions that are extremely difficult to locate at 10x.


Very Very Slightly Included #2

Inclusions that are very difficult to locate at 10x.


Very Slightly Included #1

Minor inclusions that are difficult to locate at 10x.


Very Slightly Included #2

Minor inclusions that are somewhat difficult to locate at 10x.


Slightly Included #1

Noticeable inclusions that are easy to locate at 10x.


Slightly Included #2

Noticeable inclusion that are very easy to locate at 10x.


Slightly Included #3

Some inclusions may be seen with the unaided eye.


Included #1

Obvious inclusions. Somewhat easy to locate with the unaided eye.


Included #2

Obvious inclusions. Easy to locate with the unaided eye.


Included #3

Obvious inclusions. Very easy to locate with the unaided eye.



The color grade of a diamond refers to how closely its body color approaches colorlessness. Most diamonds have at least a trace of yellow, brown, or grey body color. With the exception of some natural fancy colors, such as blue, pink, purple, or red, the colorless grade is the most rare. All things being equal, other than the fancy colors, the closer a diamond is to colorless, the more valuable it is. The color grading scale ranges from totally colorless to fancy yellow. The differences between one grade and another are very subtle, as can be seen by the number of grades within any one category.

Color refers to the color of the diamond (how easy was that?). Diamond color is denoted by a color scale used the letters of the alphabet (from D - "colorless" to Z -"light yellow color"). For a ring, you are most likely to be looking at diamonds in the first two groups:



The colorless diamond group is the most expensive. D and E show virtually no color. F starts to show the very slightest of color and is the transitional color to the Near Colorless group


Near Colorless

The Near Colorless group is a very popular color group because of its relatively low price, yet still high color. These colors are hard to detect in mounted diamonds, showing a very light shade of color.


Faint Yellow

many buyers don't mind a faint yellow appearance (K,L,M ) because when these diamonds were set into yellow gold, they appeared very nearly colorless and since this grade was is expensive the customer could opt for a larger diamond without increasing their budget.


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