How to choose the right diamond for your engagement ring

Dec 08, 2023 | Engagements
Lab diamond selection tips for engagement rings Pin it

Nothing is going to put a smile on her face quite like a gorgeous diamond engagement ring and the heartfelt sentiment behind your proposal. Choosing the perfect engagement ring is no mean feat however, with so much choice and conflicting information around what makes a high-quality diamond.

Following on from the ultimate guide to choosing the perfect engagement ring, we've probed diamond experts With Clarity even further to find out how to choose the right natural or lab-grown diamond for your engagement ring. In this detailed guide, we'll share everything you need to know to understand diamond quality and make an informed decision to choose an elegant engagement ring she'll love forever.

Diamond cut, clarity, carat, and color for your engagement ring, Pin it

Engagement ring diamond quality criteria

Once you have got your head around the basics of choosing an engagement ring to suit her personal style, it's time to get into the nitty gritty of understanding diamond quality. You may have heard of the famed engagement ring 4Cs, which make up the grading criteria that determines the quality and price of a diamond.

The 4Cs stand for cut, color, clarity, and carat weight, and understanding each one will help you to make an informed decision to buy the perfect diamond for your ring. The 4Cs apply to all diamonds, whether natural or lab-grown. However, it's important to keep in mind that though the 4Cs are a useful guideline for choosing a quality diamond, what really matters is what you personally think of the diamond and its natural appearance. Choose what you love.

Guide to lab-grown diamonds Pin it

The 4Cs - Cut

This factor refers to the quality of the diamond's cut and how well the stone is faceted, proportioned, and polished. Cut also determines how the diamond interacts with light, known as brilliance. When assessing any diamond shape visually, cut is the first C to consider, followed by color and clarity (providing the diamond has no visible imperfections).

According to the GIA system (Gemological Institute of America) diamond cuts are graded as Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. Cut grade doesn't influence the cost as much as the other Cs, so look for stones within the Excellent to Very Good range for diamonds with optimum fire, sparkle and brilliance.

Cut does not refer to the shape or size of a diamond, although people often use the words interchangeably. Many think of cut as the diamond shapes for engagement rings, rather than the arrangement of facets of the diamond itself. Shape specifically refers to the outline of a diamond, with round being the most popular, followed by the array of fancy shapes available such as marquise, pear, and oval.

Diamond engagement ring trends Pin it

The 4Cs - Color

Both natural and lab-grown diamonds are valued by how closely they approach colorlessness – the less color, the higher their value. (The exception to this is fancy color diamonds, such as pinks and blues, which lie outside of this color range.) The GIA color-grading scale for diamonds is the industry standard and begins with the letter D, representing colorless, and continues with increasing presence of color to the letter Z.

All diamonds on this letter scale are considered 'white,' although on the lower end they can have a tinge of yellow or brown. Many of these color distinctions are so subtle that they are invisible to the untrained eye, however these slight differences make a very big difference in diamond quality and price. Keep in mind that color is a natural element in diamonds and it's more common for diamonds to have some tint — which varies in hue, tone and saturation — than to be absolutely colorless.

Diamond ring shopping checklist Pin it

The 4Cs - Clarity

Every diamond is individual. Whether formed naturally within the earth or grown in a lab, diamonds develop unique birthmarks, either internal (inclusions) or external (blemishes). Clarity refers to the number of natural imperfections present in the diamond, and whether you can see them with the unaided eye. Using the GIA International Diamond Grading System, diamonds are assigned a clarity grade that ranges from flawless (FL) to diamonds with obvious inclusions (I3).

Flawless diamonds are exceptionally rare and even many jewellers have never seen one. A stone doesn't have to be at the top of the scale to look perfect and blemish-free, it's all about how clean the diamond appears to the naked eye. To maximize your budget, consider a Slightly Included (SI) quality diamond, where inclusions can only be seen under 10x magnification.

engagement ring diamond buying guide Pin it

The 4Cs - Carat

Simply put, carat measures how much a diamond weighs (not to be confused with karat, a measure of gold purity). A metric carat is defined as 200 milligrams. Each carat is subdivided into 100 points, which allows very precise measurements to the hundredth decimal place. The average diamond carat weight is 0.90ct.

All else being equal, diamond price increases with diamond carat weight because larger diamonds are rarer and more desirable. However, two diamonds of equal carat weight can have very different values depending on the three other diamond quality factors of color, clarity, and cut, so it's important to consider all 4Cs when choosing the best diamonds for engagement rings.

Carat is also a key factor when choosing between a lab-grown diamond and its natural counterpart. While lab-grown diamonds have the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as natural diamonds, you will notice a substantial difference in price when comparing diamonds of the same carat. According to With Clarity, a round 0.75ct natural diamond costs approximately $3,030, versus $1,100 for lab-grown.

Lab-grown diamond engagement rings Pin it

How to get the most diamond carat for your money

Diamond price increases exponentially — not linearly — as diamond carat weight increases. That means that once a diamond hits a 'critical weight', the price bumps up. These critical weights are known as 'magic sizes' in the industry and you can get more diamond carat for your money once you know what they are.

For example, although there's no visual difference between a 1.99ct diamond and a 2.00ct, the 2ct can cost far more because it is classed as a magic size. The magic sizes (aka critical weights) are 0.30ct, 0.40ct, 0.50ct, 0.70ct, 0.90ct 1.00ct, 1.50ct, 2.00ct, 3.00ct, 4.00ct, 5.00ct and 10.00ct. Diamonds that aren’t these magic sizes are called 'off-size diamonds' and can be key to getting the engagement ring of your dreams within budget.

Difference between lab grown diamonds and natural diamonds Pin it


Submit a comment
* Required fields