You’ve done it! After searching tirelessly on your partner’s Pinterest page or nagging her family and friends for ideas, you’ve finally found the perfect engagement ring for your partner. Or did you pick out the ring together? Either way, you now have to team up against the 4Cs and must now determine how you can work each component against each other to get the most value out of a cheap diamond engagement ring. If you didn’t already know, the 4Cs stand for color, clarity, carat weight, and cut. They form a grading system that helps determine the price and quality of a diamond.
When choosing an engagement ring, you have to pick a metal for the band. Yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, platinum, and silver are the most popular. You may even be able to mix different metals.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each metal. Platinum is the most durable of them all and it will last a very long time. Unfortunately, it won’t keep its shine like gold would and the luster is harder to bring back once it has faded.
On the other hand, gold is more shiny than platinum because it's a much softer metal. It's very simple to buff and polish to get it back to its original luster. On the other hand, since gold is such a soft metal, it's going to wear down faster than platinum would. Give it 15-20 years and the ring may need to be reshanked because it is now too thin to wear.
The 4Cs Explained
You should note that the grading system is a guideline. It isn’t a good or bad scale. When reading about the 4Cs, it's important to keep in mind that there is no right answer and there is a lot of misleading information that can confuse you when purchasing a diamond.
The cut of the diamond determines how it reacts to light. The ability to return light to your eye is what’s known as “Brilliance”. It is measured only by the cut of the stone. Color and clarity have absolutely no impact on it. When you look at any diamond, Cut is the first C to consider.
Next is the color of the diamond. The D-Z scale is what diamond colors fall under. The D means it is completely colorless and most expensive, whereas the Z has a light yellow hue.
Next is clarity. This C is how many inclusions or natural imperfections are in the diamond and whether or not they can be seen with the naked eye. The GIA grading scales will rate a diamond from Flawless (F) to Included (I). The good news is that a diamond doesn’t have to be at the top of the scale to look perfect or inclusion-free. This grade would be Flawless (F) or Very Very Slightly (VVS) Included.
Lastly, carat. This refers to the weight of the diamond. A diamond’s weight is separated into 100 points. For example, a 50-point diamond would weigh 0.50 carats, but a stone may look larger than the carat suggests due to the dimensions in millimeters. You could locate a diamond that has a 2.00-carat weight, but it looks more like a 2.20-carat diamond. In this case, you would actually be buying a stone that looks larger without the cost associated with the higher weight. This means that you have found a goldmine of a shortcut to a cheap diamond engagement ring.