When it comes to choosing an engagement ring, it’s likely you’ll find yourself being bombarded with a whole new vocabulary of words you’ve never encountered before. Not only do you have to work your way around carats, but also a diamond’s cut and clarity.
But what does it all mean? Well you’re in luck, for it’s time for another handy jewellery guide with the Showcase Jewellers ABCs.
C is for… carat
Apart from sounding uncannily close to the vegetable, carat is the term used to identify a diamond’s mass. The word carat is thought to be derived from the carob, which was a small hard seed once used as a counter balance on the scales when weighing gems.
Although you’ll hear the same terminology being used to describe gold, in the case of the precious metal, a carat refers to the fineness or purity of the material, rather than the weight.
The metric carat has been used as a form of measurement for gems since the early 1900s, where one carat is the equivalent of 200 milligrams. A the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) explains, from here, each carat is then divided into 100 points, allowing for more precise measurement of the diamond. Therefore, 0.5 carats could also be classified as being 50 points.
“All else being equal, diamond price increases with diamond carat weight, because larger diamonds are more rare and more desirable,” explains the GIA, going on to note that carat weight isn’t the only deciding factor on the value of the diamond.
C is for… cut
This one is fairly easy to wrap your mind around, simply describing the way the diamond has been cut. Like many gems, diamonds require skilled craftsmanship to mould them into a shape that will showcase its inner brilliance.
Different cuts allow the light to bend and reflect in the diamond in a way that gives it its special sparkle. In terms of shape, you have anything from a square princess cut, to a classic round cut as demonstrated in the stunning Canadian Fire engagement ring.
However, as the GIA explains, the shape of a diamond doesn’t dictate the quality of the cut, which is determined by the way the light interacts with the gem.
C is for… clarity
In order to understand clarity, you first have to know the terms “inclusion,” and “blemishes”. Inclusions refer to any internal irregularities or markings in a diamond, whilst blemishes refer to external marks.
Flawless, rather than being a Beyonce song, is also used to define a diamond with no inclusions visible at 10 times magnification. Diamonds rank from ‘flawless’ to ‘slightly included’, or simply ‘included’ at the opposite end of the scale.
While there will never be a perfectly pure gem, the American Gem Society notes that the further up the clarity scale a diamond is, the more rare and valuable it becomes.
C is for… colour
Last but not least, and the final of the four ‘Cs’, is colour. This is used again, as a determiner of the value of the diamond, with the clearer the diamond, the more valuable. The scale ranges from colourless, to ‘light’, where the colour of the diamond becomes more off-white, says GIA.
While you’re most likely to see engagement rings with a classic white, or diamond, you can also get diamonds in other hues, also called ‘fancy diamonds’. For example, you can add a unique touch to an engagement ring with a yellow or pink diamonds, such as those found on the rose and white gold diamond ring.