How to Choose the Right Diamond: Our Advice
Since buying a diamond for the first time can be a thrilling but anxious experience, how can you be sure you’re making the right decision? It all starts with the right education. You’ve heard of the 4Cs – Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat. But what do they mean? And how important are they in relation to each other?
For over 130 years, Long’s has been in the business of helping New Englanders get engaged. Our Graduate Gemologists work strictly with the standards created by the GIA to provide you with an in-depth education about diamonds and offer the highest quality stones at the best possible value. Our Gemologists are truly passionate about diamonds and will provide you with the right information so you can make an informed decision. We are a member of the elite American Gem Society and take great pride in celebrating the biggest moments in our customers’ lives.
We are committed to providing you an expert diamond education and helping you get it right. Read on for a crash course in the 4Cs and our expert tips to choosing a diamond.
STEP 1: LET’S START WITH SHAPE
Diamonds come in a variety of shapes, ranging from traditional rounds and ovals to square princess shapes, rectangular emerald shapes, cushions, and more. Which shape is right for you? It’s purely a question of style and personal preference.
Shape refers to the geometry of the diamond such as circle, square, oval, etc. Every shape is uniquely beautiful, and choosing the right shape is simply a question of style.
STEP 2: WHAT IS THE RIGHT DIAMOND SIZE?
A diamond’s size is most commonly measured by weight in units called carats. This means that carat weight doesn’t measure the physical dimensions of the stone, so a pair of one carat stones can have very different measurements and look noticeably different depending on the cut. The trick is to find the right balance of carat weight and cut that works for you.
Yes, size matters, but bigger is not always better. Picking the right diamond size depends on a number of factors such as your budget, the trade-off between the other C’s (color, clarity and cut) and the ring style you choose. That’s why you should compare diamonds side by side to judge the visual differences for yourself. Our diamond experts will help you find the right balance between size, budget and beauty.
STEP 3: WHAT COLOR SHOULD I CHOOSE?
Your diamond’s color was determined when it was formed millions of years ago. Diamonds with less color are rarer and therefore more valuable, but diamonds with faint color can be equally as beautiful as colorless diamonds when partnered with the right ring setting. At Long’s, our standards of color are very high and we typically carry diamonds within the D – J range on the GIA color grading scale.
The difference between each color grade is very slight to the naked eye. A well-cut diamond can appear to have a higher color grade than it actually does, and the type of metal used in your ring’s setting will also affect your diamond’s true color.
STEP 4: WHAT CLARITY SHOULD I CHOOSE?
Clarity represents the amount of inherent characteristics, which are called inclusions, that appear in your diamond. Increased clarity translates to increased rarity, and therefore higher value. A flawless diamond is extremely rare, but your diamond does not have to be flawless to still be stunning. In fact, diamonds with slight inclusions can be just as beautiful as a flawless diamond to the naked eye.
When choosing clarity, we recommend starting by examining and comparing diamonds with your naked eye. Most inclusions are not visible unless seen under the magnification of a loupe or microscope. High clarity diamonds hold their value very well, but lower clarity diamonds can be just as beautiful if set correctly in a ring.
STEP 5: WHAT IS CUT?
Regardless of the shape, a diamond’s cut is what gives it beauty and brilliance. A well-cut diamond acts as a prism, splitting white light into a brilliant rainbow of colors. When you see a properly proportioned diamond next to a poorly cut diamond, the difference is night and day. It’s like comparing the engines of a sports car and an economy car – you know the difference the moment you step on the gas! We’ll show you diamonds and teach you all about cut until you can judge the difference with your own eyes.
Cut has the biggest impact on beauty, which is why Long’s is so passionate about cut. Seeing the difference in cut takes practice; take your time and trust your eyes. Be cautious of stones that are cut too deep or too shallow – they retain excess weight and sacrifice light performance.
STEP 6: MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO SEE IT IN PERSON
The 4Cs give you a basic understanding of diamonds, but they are oversimplified. The 4Cs act like a compass pointing you in the right direction rather than a map leading you to the right diamond. At Long’s, we believe there is only one way to be certain about your diamond choice: to get an education that includes learning how to trust your eyes. Remember, she won’t be wearing a diamond certificate on her finger, she’ll be wearing a beautiful diamond ring.
When choosing a diamond ring, the ring setting is just as important as the diamond itself. While viewing diamonds, be sure to browse our engagement ring styles from solitaires to three-stones, pave and more! Make an appointment to see diamonds in person.