Selecting a Diamond

When selecting a diamond for an engagement ring there are several criteria to consider.  These benchmarks are commonly refered to as the four C’s.  Below each are defined.  For more detailed information on each topic, click on the term.

Term Definition
Color The diamond’s color usually refers to the absence or presence of a yellow tint.  A color grade of “D” means that a diamond is colorless and a color grade of “Z” is the darkest yellow.  Diamond color progressively gets more yellow from D to Z.
Carat Weight A carat is not the physical dimensional size of the diamond but rather its weight, or more precisely its mass. 1 carat = 200 milligrams = 100 points
Cut The diamonds cut refers to the dimensions and proportions to which the diamond is cut.  Cut is critical in order to obtain maximum diamond brilliance.  Sometimes cut is often confused with or associated with style and shape.
Clarity The clarity of a diamond is the absence or presence of flaws, scratches, or mineral deposits inside the stone.  Click the clarity term to see the grading chart.


These criteria have been used for years to help customers understand the uniqueness of diamond and how that uniqueness equates to price.  Any jewelry retailer worth visiting will be able to relay details about a specific piece in their shop by using the terms listed above.

After you have determined the criteria of the diamond you want, be sure to look at the diamond’s certification to ensure those qualities.

Carat Weight

Carat weight is one of the most misunderstood diamond metrics.  Carat weight does not refer so much to a diamond’s dimensional size than as to its mass or weight.  Consider the following formula.

1 carat = 200 milligrams = 100 points

So when someone talks about a half carat diamond, they also mean 50 points or 100 milligrams.  Take your pick.

Sometimes the look of a diamond can be misleading as to its carat weight.  Just because a diamond may look huge when viewing it from the top, it may not have a very large depth, so its carat weight could be less than what you think. This is sometimes a good cost saving tip if you prefer to buy a diamond that merely looks large in size.  Typically diamonds of this nature are not desirable because the dimensions cause the jewel to have poor brilliance due to an inferior cut.

Always remember, a carat is a unit of weight.  Also, there is sometimes confusion between “carat” and “karat”.  Karat refers to the to a measurement of the purity of gold.

If you are trying to save a little money when buying a diamond, stay away from the popular sizes such as 1/2, 1, or 2 carat.  At these weights the prices for diamonds increase significantly.  Consider buying a diamond a couple points below your target.