Since proposal season is still going strong, it's time to educate yourself on the bling before you get the ring. Here are the important things to know before you buy!
The 4 CsCut. Cut doesn't refer to the shape of the diamond, but the angles of it. The cut is what gives a diamond the sparkle and brilliance, making it the most important of all the Cs. (Hint: Some diamond shapes, like emerald, show off the cuts more than others, so the cut becomes even more important.)
Clarity. The fewer imperfections the diamond has, the clearer it is. Inclusions are minerals or tiny fractures in the diamond, so the fewer the inclusions, the better the clarity (and the higher the price). Clarity is measured on a scale; S1 and S2 are slightly included but aren't visible with the naked eye, so this is the range you should try to shoot for if possible.
Color. Diamonds come in a lot of colors. Diamond color is graded on a scale that ranges from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow). Truly colorless diamonds are the most rare and the most expensive. White diamonds are the most popular, but really, diamond color is all about preference, and colored diamonds are growing in popularity.
Carat. Carat refers to the weight of a diamond. The heavier the stone, the bigger it is, so the more you’re going to pay. However, a good setting can really show off a diamond and make it appear larger than it really is, and the shape of the diamond can affect how big it appears as well.
Diamond ShapesDiamonds come in many different shapes. The shape is usually just a personal preference, although some can appear larger or more brilliant and typically symbolize a particular style of bride. The most popular cuts right now are round diamonds (classic and timeless, and one of the shapes that look larger and more brilliant) and princess (a square cut). The other shapes you'll see at most jewelry stores are pear, oval, marquise, radiant, emerald, and Asscher.
Diamond SettingsThe setting can have a major effect on the look of a diamond. The metal color you choose, as well as the use of additional stones, will change how a diamond looks and how a ring looks on your finger. (It's also why an inherited diamond can look completely different after it's re-set!) Some setting styles to get familiar with are Tiffany setting, bezel, pavé, channel, eternity, 4 prong, and 6 prong. If you try on rings, ask to try on different settings so you get a sense of which you like best.
The most important thing to remember about engagement rings is that they symbolize a promise to marry and spend your life with someone. Don't get hung up on how big it is or if it isn't what you always wanted. Every ring is beautiful!