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ENGAGEMENT RINGS There are four C’s of diamond quality: cut, carat weight, color, and clarity. All four C’s relate to the unofficial “fifth C”− the cost. However, before getting to that fifth and final C, it’s important to understand how all these factors are measured and assigned a value, the “grade,” as we call it. Right now, however, we are going to focus on cut and carat weight.

Jim Salyer Gem Source Every girl has dreamt about what her engagement ring will look like. It is probably the most important piece of jewelry you will ever own or buy, and actually choosing that perfect ring can be harder than it sounds − there are so many options! Not to mention, the average cost of a quality one carat diamond engagement ring is around $5,700! So, how do you make that kind of a decision? How do you know which ring is the ring?

Cut, as referred to in this context, is a measure of the quality of cut, rather than a description of shape − which is a topic for a different day. We look at the workmanship of the diamond to evaluate how perfectly cut it is. More specifically, we focus on polish, symmetry, and proportions. Each shape of diamond has a preferred range of all these criteria to arrive at their optimum performance of brilliance − which is a mix of reflected and refracted light. So, how are cut and carat weight related? The answer is simple economics − the cost of a production. A rough diamond crystal, well cut to ideal specifications, will only yield profit of about 40% (at best!) of its original weight. This means that if the diamond cutter can

increase that 40% yield and still have a salable finished product, it has increased value (see illustration). The lighter, more perfectly cut specimen will be noticeably more brilliant, a difference that you can see without a trained eye. To put it simply, the more brilliant a diamond is, the brighter and livelier.  This concept of cut and carat weight has nothing to do with color or clarity grade, they are far simpler. Our next article will feature how they’re graded. Finding and choosing that perfect ring can be hard, and the process can seem overwhelming. You aren’t just choosing any ring, you are choosing one that represents your marriage and relationship. Hopefully, with this little bit of insight on what makes a quality diamond, you will be able to choose that perfect engagement ring without all the extra stress. Happy shopping!

Photo credit: Headshot by Matt Wooley Ring photo by Created With Grace Photography 44 • BRIDAL BLISS MAGAZINE

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