How to Buy a Wedding Ring or Engagement Ring: Diamond Carat, Color, Clarity and Cut

Engagement Rings Wedding

Diamonds are rated by four unique categories which are known as the 4 C’s of diamonds: carat, color, clarity and cut. These categories are designed to help rate the quality, style and size of a wedding ring or engagement ring; as well as to determine the proper price of the ring.

The 4 Cs of diamonds are put forth by the Gemological Institute of America and are considered an industry standard by buyers, collectors and sellers – allowing consumers to know the exact quality and purity of a diamond. It is important that consumers are familiar with these standards before they attempt to purchase a wedding ring or an engagement ring. The carat, color, clarity and cut of a diamond will have a drastic impact on the price of a ring and buyers need to be aware of what they are purchasing.

The 4 Cs of Diamonds


The first measurement of a diamond is carat weight. Carat weight is measured in metric carats and each carat has a 100-point scale. A wedding ring or engagement ring can be measured to be as small as 1/10 of a carat and expand to be larger than 2 carats in total weight.

The total carat weight of a diamond ring is one of the most crucial aspects in determining the price of a wedding ring or engagement ring. It is simply not feasible to pay a low amount of money for a large diamond, even if the other elements of the diamond are not perfect.


The color of a diamond is another factor relating to the cost and quality of a diamond wedding ring or engagement ring. Diamond colors range from near-colorless to colorless and are rated on a letter scale. The letter “D” on the color scale is the highest rating and indicates that the diamond is completely colorless. The letter “Z”, on the other hand, is a little lower down on the scale and implies that the diamond is close to being a near-colorless diamond.

The color of a diamond is not something that can be seen in great detail with the human eye; but rather it is something is more clearly seen with the usage of gemological tools and viewing devices. While a minor yellow tint of a diamond may only be slightly noticeable to the human eye, the variation in color of a diamond can mean the difference between thousands of dollars.


The clarity of a diamond refers to any internal inclusions or external blemishes that a diamond carries. These inclusions and blemishes are known in the industry as birthmarks because they exist as a direct result of how diamonds are naturally formed. Most of the time, any imperfections of a diamond can only be seen under great magnification.

Diamond clarity is rated on a 11-grade scale ranging from flawless to included; however, most diamonds that can be found in a jewelry store will be identified as very, very slightly included, or VVS1 or VVS2, or very slightly included, VS1 or VS2.


The cut of a diamond implies the style and precision with which the diamond has been cut. Recent trends and popularity typically dominate the cost value behind a particular cut of diamond. The solitaire, which is a squared diamond, and the round-cut have long since been considered the most traditional cut of all diamonds and they still retain their popularity.

Other diamond cuts include marquise, oval, heart-shaped, triangle and emerald. Most of the time the cut of the diamond is left purely up to a buyer’s own personal taste, but the price can be affected by cuts that are currently in style.

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