The Four C's: Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat

How much do you know about The Four C's?  I gotta hand it to the guys...there is a lot of work that goes into buying the perfect ring!  It's always fun to look at diamonds so make sure your knowledge is up to par!!  After all, diamonds are a girl's best friend.
Cut refers to a finished stones proportion, polish, and evenness.  Artisans sculpt facets, or small angles into the raw stone to create the overall shape. The best measurements guarantee stand-out glitz and glimmer while those with poorly placed facets come out dull looking. Diamonds come in a variety of cuts including round, brilliant, pear, marquise, emerald, asscher, cushion, princess, and heart. Andrew Coxon, president of the Diamond Institute for De Beers Diamonds Jewellers, says, “80 percent are round brilliants. They have the most sparkle and are most popular among consumers."  When shopping for a stone look for brillance (reflects lights, fire (flashes color), and scintillation (sparkle).  Also, make sure you study the stone in different lighting environments.
There are two color categories that tend to be indiscernible to the untrained eye: colorless and fancy. However, it all  depends on personal preference.  Colorless diamonds are graded on a scale from D, completely clear, to Z, traces of yellow, gray, and brown. D color is as clear as looking into glass, E and F are in the colorless range and G and J are near colorless. Colors start to turn very light yellow after K and L. Some consumers prefer a slightly warmer white but the colorless stones tend to be the most rare and most expensive. That being said, most diamonds sold in jewelry stores are in the D to L range.
Yellow, pink, blue, and other colored stones are considered fancy diamonds. They are more costly than colorless diamonds because they are rarer. There is no rating system for fancy stones but the more saturated shades are more expensive.
There are two occurring imperfections with diamonds: internal flaws, such as inclusions, and surface flaws, such as blemishes. Diamonds are given a clarity grade from the GIA’s 11-step scale: Flawless (FL), Internally Flawless (IF), Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2), Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2), Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2), and Imperfect Included (I1, I2, and I3). “Eye clean” stones are considered to be in the VS to Si range and are carried in many jewelry stores. Flawless stones exist but are incredibly rare; so rare that most jeweler have never seen one. Stones in the I range should be avoided.
Many people might be surprised to learn that the term “carat” refers to a diamonds weight, not its size.
A metric carat weighs 200 milligrams and is divided into hundredths, or points; each carat comprises 100 points. A 75-point diamond weighs 0.75 carats, a 25-point diamond weighs 0.25 carats and so on. Carat weight, however, is not a direct reflection of its cost. A large stone with a low color grade can be less expensive than a smaller stone with a high color grade.  Remember when shopping for a diamond, the stones weighing in at just under the full carat mark are less expensive than stones right at full carat mark. When the stone is set, you won’t be able to tell the difference but it all depends on personal preference.
Once a year take your ring to the jeweler for a thorough cleaning and a prong checkup. Dirt, lotion, and skin’s natural oils can coat and cloud your ring. At home you can soak the ring in a mixture of warm water and mild dishwashing liquid before scrubbing the stone gently with a toothbrush.