Diamonds on a Budget

Imagine your dream ring. What shape is the stone? How large is it? Does it sparkle from across the room? Everyone has a basic knowledge of what their dream ring consists of, but what about the little details that can make or break the bank? For over two decades, Calvin’s Fine Jewelry has provided each and every customer with the knowledge and tools to decide which diamond is right for you. Once you enter the store, Calvin’s team of experienced experts will help guide you through the process of the 4 C’s - so no need to worry about all the little details quite yet. Want to get more acquainted with what each term means before you start shopping? Today we will be sharing a basic guide of information on the 4 C’s and how they stack up against your expectation of what you want in your diamond. Let’s take it one “C” at a time.

When done well, a diamond’s cut can be considered the most important of the C’s – that is, if you care about sparkling. Cuts can vary from diamond to diamond and have to do with how the diamond is shaped and polished. Sometimes diamonds are cut so they are heavier to increase their carat weight and value. Sometimes they are cut purely to reflect light and allow the most sparkle. And sometimes they’re cut to hide or minimize inclusions. The quality of the cut determines how much sparkle the diamond has. If it’s cut too deep, too shallow, or has irregular symmetry, this can all cause the light to escape the diamond, rather than bounce back. When the light bounces back from the diamond to your eye, it causes the sparkly shimmer we know and love. You can think of a diamond as a prism of light - the better your diamond is cut, the more it will shine and create a dazzling brilliance.

You guessed it, the color of a diamond implies to how much – or how little – color is in the diamond. Most diamonds may appear colorless, but they actually have slight tones of yellow or brown. In diamond terminology, the color of a diamond is scaled from D (colorless) to Z (noticeable color). The more colorless your stone is, the more white it will appear and the more money you will spend. But, every diamond is vastly different. The majority of diamonds you see at a store are between G and J on the color scale which are considered near colorless. Everything after a J grade will start to show tiny hints of yellow or brown color. If a colorless D, E, or F grade diamond is what you prefer, just know it may cost you. If you’re on a tight budget, move down the color scale a tad. This will still allow a diamond that appears colorless, but much more affordable.

It is important to remember that diamonds are rarely perfect. Like any rock or mineral, diamonds often have flaws, known as “inclusions” and “blemishes”. These internal inclusions can range in color and type. Most commonly, the inclusion will either be a small dark spec trapped within the diamond or a white mark on the interior called a “feather”. The scale to determine the clarity ranges from flawless to heavily “included”:

FL: flawless inside and out

IF: internally flawless, meaning there are blemishes on the surface, but not inside of the diamond

VVS1 and VVS2: very, very slightly included

VS1 and VS2: very slightly included

SI1 and SI2: slightly included

I1, I2 and I3: included

Depending on where inclusions are located, it is often difficult to see them with the naked eye. Again, every diamond is different. If you look at an SI1 diamond and can’t see the inclusions without magnification, it’s safe to accept a lower grade. You will save on cost without compromising the diamond’s divine beauty. Remember, no one is walking around with a magnifying glass waiting to inspect the clarity of your diamond.

Carat - the most exciting and well-known aspect of the 4 C’s. Carat weight refers to how much the diamond weighs aka the size of the stone. The heavier the diamond, the more you will spend. As crazy as it may seem, a 1.3 carat and 1.4 carat diamond can result in a large price difference. To cut down on price of a diamond, start by looking for a diamond 10 to 20 points less than the diamond weight you want. For example, if you love a 2 carat diamond, examine it next to a 1.8 carat diamond of the same quality. The difference will likely be close to impossible to detect, and you may end up saving big on the 1.8 carat diamond.

Here at Calvin’s Fine Jewelry, we want you to have a hands-on experience. We know the best process is to show you a variety of diamonds with different clarity, color and carat weight. We want you to experience the slight and major differences – the things you notice and don’t notice. As you start to compare diamonds with your budget in mind, consider which aspect of the 4 C’s is most important to you. Would you rather focus on the radiance of the diamond with an ideal cut and less emphasis on carat weight? Or do you want a larger diamond while sliding down the scale on color and clarity? At the end of the day, the choice is yours and we want to help you find which diamond is right for you and your future fiancé.