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What to Look For When You Buy Diamond Jewelry

Jan 12, 2008
You may already know that diamonds are the hardest substance known to man. Their crystallization process takes literally millions of years, and it's believed that some diamonds can actually be billions of years old! That interesting fact probably doesn't help you when it's time to buy diamond jewelry, however, so let's talk about some practical things to keep in mind when you're heading off to the jewelry store.

The Four C's of Diamond Jewelry

You may already know that the Four C's of diamond jewelry are cut, color, clarity, and carats.

The cut refers to the shape of the diamond, but involves much more than that. A skilled jeweler can cut a diamond in such a way so that light bounces off of it brilliantly, giving it the most sparkle possible. There can actually be a poor cut of a diamond which you may not be able to tell with the naked eye. The shape of it is the same on the top, but the diamond itself is too deep or too shallow to reflect light properly. And really, unless you're buying diamond jewelry as a financial investment, isn't the sparkle the real reason you want to own it? So getting a good cut is important in your selection.

The color of a diamond is graded by letters. A perfect diamond is one that is colorless, although these are said to be quite rare. The yellowish or brown tinge of a diamond will determine its color grade. Some diamond jewelry is purposely colored, such as yellow or blue diamonds, and these are called "fancy." But for most, grades of D, E or F are considered colorless, G, H and I are called near colorless, and the rating goes from there. Just like school report cards, you want the lowest grade possible when selecting diamond jewelry.

Flaws inside diamonds are called inclusions, and clarity grades the number of these inclusions. Most inclusions in diamond jewelry cannot be seen with the naked eye, and so you need to use a gemologist's magnifier to see them.

And it's important to remember that carat does not refer to a diamond's size but its weight. A particular cut can give a smaller diamond a heavier carat, and vice versa. When shopping for diamond jewelry, don't get bowled over immediately by the size of the diamond, as a smaller one with a heavier carat can actually be more valuable.

The four C's of diamond jewelry are still the most important factors in determining its actual value. If you're shopping simply for what looks good, you may be able to afford something larger that has less carats and more inclusions, but if you're looking for a financial investment, really study each diamond's value based on these measurements, and you'll be able to make the best decision.
About the Author
David Cowley has created numerous articles on Diamonds. He has also created a Web Site dedicated to Diamonds. Visit Diamonds
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