If you are shopping on a budget, remember that all diamonds sparkle, and the most important attribute of an engagement diamond is the way it makes a woman feel. Diamonds are the ultimate gift of love. Any diamond you choose will make your woman feel cherished.
However, it is important that you do a little homework before you go shopping. The 4C's (Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat Weight) are the basic attributes used to compare diamonds. An understanding of the 4C's will give you a way to compare two diamonds and help you set basic price parameters.
How to compare diamond Color :
The finest diamonds are colorless, rare and expensive. On the GIA grading scale below, D-F are considered colorless, G-I near colorless and any grade J or below shows an increasingly yellowish tinge. Beyond the preference for a whiter stone, however, the color of a diamond does not affect its brightness or sparkle.
Fast Fact: Most experts agree that, when mounted, diamonds in the "G-H" range appear colorless and represent a much better value than "D-F"stones which command significantly higher prices.
How to compare diamond Clarity:
Diamonds with fewer flaws are rare and therefore more highly prized. In many cases, these flaws (or inclusions) don't detract from the beauty of the diamond because they are invisible to the naked eye. The GIA grading scale below shows clarity ranges from "Internally Flawless" (IF) to "Very Very Slight" Inclusions (VVS), to "Very Slight" Inclusions (VS), to "Slightly Included" (SI), to "Included" (I).
Fast Fact: Any grade "SI2" or above has inclusions that are "eye clean", not visible to the naked eye. An "I1" grade can be an excellent value, particularly if the inclusion is on the outer edge. "I2" grades can still exhibit a fair degree of fire and light. "I3" grade diamonds are noticeably more opaque or dark to the naked eye.
How to compare diamond Cut, Symmetry and Polish:
More than any other attribute, it is the Cut that makes a diamond brilliant and beautiful. A diamond that is well cut reflects light internally and displays a dazzling shower of light back through the top of the stone. A poorly cut diamond will leak light out of the bottom and sides, as illustrated below. Symmetry is another important factor in the brilliance and beauty of a diamond. A diamond is like a small house of mirrors. If the facets are lined up properly, the diamond returns more light to the viewer's eye. Finally, a diamond that is well Polished will reflect more light and sparkle from the surface to the viewer's eye. Cut, Symmetry and Polish are rated on your diamond certificate from Poor to Excellent.
Poor Cut: Light enters and leaks out of the bottom
Excellent Cut: Light enters and returns to the viewer's eye
Fast Fact: The measurements listed on your diamond grading report also give an indication of how brilliant your diamond will be. The formula for cutting a diamond of ideal proportions was written in 1919 by Marcel Tolkowsky. Although it is rather complex, you can find the information by searching his name from within any popular internet search site. .