The 4Cs and Your Diamond Ring
When looking for your diamond engagement ring, the sheer choice of diamonds can seem overwhelming. Designer engagement rings have jewels of every cut, size and shine. Depending on the system, descriptors for diamond quality make searching even more confusing. Understanding the four Cs of cut, carat, color and clarity will make finding your ideal ring easier.
Cut refers to how well a diamond is faceted. Brilliant and mixed cut diamonds should have a mix of white and colored light, plus shadows for contrast. Step cut diamonds should have clean lines and strong polish. No matter the diamond, symmetry and proportion add to their beauty. Whether brilliant, mixed or step, the jewel is graded on a scale of Poor to Excellent.
Carat measures the size of a diamond by weight. Jewelers use metric carats, which equals one fifth of a gram. Diamonds are weighed on powerful scales to the hundred thousandth of a carat. This number is then rounded to the hundredth, such as 0.41897 to 0.42.
While some diamonds are colorless, others have a faint to light hint of yellow or other hues. Color is measured from a scale from D to Z to determine the level of tinge. Diamonds in the middle or closer to Z have visible tints and are more common than diamonds near D. Yellow gold wedding bands or similar rings can make a diamond seem lighter than its grade.
Clarity measures the quirks in a diamond’s crystal. Diamonds are examined at 10X magnification, with any and all traits are noted on a diagram. The size, visibility and location of characteristics determines where a diamond falls under the scale of Flawless to Included 3. Diamonds with modest clarity grades are sometimes mounted on rings which disguise their quirks.
Why Certified Diamonds for Your Ring?
Diamond engagement rings and wedding bands are designed to be beautiful, fitting their romantic symbolism. When buying something so important, a person may be concerned about the quality of the jewels. Diamond rings with certified gemstones helps bring peace of mind.
Not every diamond certificate is equal. Independent third party laboratories are more likely to be objective with grading. It’s best to look for labs with a strong reputation for quality and honesty. The Gemological Institute of America, or GIA, has decades of diamond experience and helped establish internationally recognized rating systems.
GIA provides several types of certificates. Diamond Reports list a jewel’s 4Cs of color, cut, clarity and carat as well as other identifying details. The documents come with a series of scales to help readers understand their diamond’s grades. On the middle of the report is a diagram marking the stone’s clarity characteristics by position and type. Smaller certificates such as Diamond Dossiers feature grades and scales, but no diagram.
Each diamond GIA certifies receives a unique identification number. This same ID appears on the left and top center of the Diamond Report. Combined with the clarity diagram, 4Cs and other information, it’s easier to confirm a jewel’s identity. This also ensures that the right certificate goes with the right diamond.
At Valentin Magro, all diamond rings are made with GIA certified diamonds. When you purchase jewelry from us, you get the corresponding certificates. We want to make sure our clients are satisfied with their rings, and confident of their quality.
Polishes for Your Ring
One of the distinctive features of diamond rings is how they reflect light. Diamonds have a luster so unique, it’s named after the stone. The precious metal that makes the rest of the ring can be as bright or textured as the designer wishes. For both materials, surface shine depends on the finish.
In diamonds, polishing occurs while a jewel is faceted. The process gives diamonds its finished shape and determines its level of symmetry. An ideal polish leaves defined facet edges, a smooth surface and strong shine. Polishing also helps remove imperfections from the surface of the jewel, making a brighter diamond engagement ring.
Some metal polishes give the band a bright sheen. These rings have a very even texture which help play up their luster. This in turn can help underscore diamonds’ brilliance. Some designer engagement rings may use a mirror like polish to surround their jewels, making the gem seem larger. Those who enjoy strong luster may want to look for rings with this finish.
Other engagement rings have a softer sheen. Matte finishes can contrast with the diamonds, helping draw the eye to the gemstones. These bands can be smooth, or have subtle qualities which influence its luster. Examples include many small dips on the band, or parallel marks from a stiff brush. Such finishes can look satiny, pearl like, or give the impression of years under a polishing cloth.
Still more finishes bring texture to the forefront. One example is taking a hammer to a ring, giving the band hills and valleys. Such finishes are good for simple gold wedding bands, adding interest in lieu of diamonds. Structured and smooth finishes can be combined into one ring, such as a sleek shank and a hammered bezel.
The Right Ring for your Lifestyle
Wedding bands and engagement rings are worn all day, every day. While on the hands, these rings can encounter soap, hot water, bumps against a table and other forms of wear. Some wearers may have a laid-back lifestyle while others are physically active. It’s important to make sure your rings are suited for your routines.
Diamonds are hard, but are still prone to damage. Corners, knife edge girdles or other thin parts of the stone are vulnerable to chipping. Some cuts are designed to reduce harm by faceting girdles or adding French tips to fancy cuts. Cuts like the emerald cut were specifically designed to display beauty while keeping fragile jewels safe.
Settings can also help protect your diamond. Princess, marquise, pear and heart engagement rings often have V shaped prongs to protect their corners and tips. Channel settings encase small diamonds inside a groove in the band, where they are less likely to get bumped. Bezel mounts do something similar, wrapping metal around the girdle.
Karat is another consideration. When spelled with a “k,” the word refers to the amount of gold in a ring. The metal is soft, and is often alloyed with different materials for strength. While grades like 22 or 24 Karat can be attractive, they may show dents or other wear fairly quickly. Gold wedding bands made with 14 or 18K can better withstand daily use.
Decorations can make an ordinary ring spectacular. They should also be compatible with the wearer’s activities. Diamond rings with lacy openwork may not pair well with an avid gardener. Those loath to remove their rings may wish to wear gloves or choose other embellishments. Engraved bands are pretty and less likely to harbor dirt. Other possible designs for the active include asymmetric or knife edged bands, trellises or cathedral mounts.
Diamond Rings Great and Small
Diamonds form deep within the earth under drastic conditions. The heat and pressure needed to make the jewels means larger gems are rare enough to turn heads. While carat is one measure of quality, even tiny jewels add beauty to diamond rings. With the right setting and design, little diamonds can be breathtaking.
Halos are a series of little jewels which surround a larger diamond. Most are made of round brilliants, though baguettes are sometimes used. Halos are used to add brilliance and luster to diamond engagement rings. While they often border a single jewel, some three stone bands have halos that encircle the outer perimeter.
Pave and micropave use miniscule diamonds to cover a ring in gems. The jewels are held in place with strong yet discrete prongs designed to be strong. Some diamond wedding bands use pave in specific areas, like the center of a flower or the shoulders. Other rings have pave which covers the entire ring. Still more pave wedding bands highlight the diamonds with bright gold edgings.
Channel settings are used to mount rows of small diamonds. Jewels of uniform or graduated cut are placed in a gap on the band. The edges of the groove are pressed over the stones, securing them. Channel settings are used for side stones or to add brilliance to the overall ring. The setting is used as a main decorative feature or as a highlight.
Other small diamonds do well as a central jewel on a ring. Factors like cut, clarity and color help add to a gemstone’s quality. The design of the ring is also important. The right band and mounting help to highlight a gem’s beauty, and prove a diamond can be great no matter its size.