Engagement rings will put you back by over $6,000 on average. This is undoubtedly an important purchase, meaning there’s no shame in going the extra mile and selecting a ring you adore. However, you should be considering the diamond grading that comes along with your potential ring before purchase.
Diamond grading can clue you into the true value of the ring you’re about to purchase.
What is Diamond Grading?
Diamond grading gives value to your diamond based on a variety of closely considered factors. This is a process standardized by the American Gem Society.
The AGS Diamond Grading System evaluates diamonds on a scale of 0 to 10. In the case of diamond grading, a lower score is more desirable than a higher one.
A diamond grade will be displayed in the following manner: 0/0/0-1.000 carat. Each section will vary based on it’s coordinating value. The first value depicts the grade of the cut on a scale of 0 to 10.
The values that follow represent color and clarity. Carat is the last value in the grade and is the easiest to determine as it simply lines up with the carat weight of the diamond.
Understanding what is considered for grading a diamond is Step 1 in selecting an engagement ring worth the hype. Read on as we break down the 4 C’s of diamond grading: cut, color, clarity, and carat.
Diamond cut is the first part of the final grade given to diamonds and is the most important factor to consider. The cut plays a major factor in giving a diamond the ability to sparkle and refract light. A diamond cut too deep or shallow can result in no sparkling and a much smaller appearance.
Focus your budget on the highest quality cut if you’re on a budget. This will give you a diamond ring that sparkles in the sun and is worth every penny spent.
Along with cut is the consideration of shape. While the shape isn’t directly considered during diamond grading, it is akin to cut. Knowing the ideal look of a diamond cut in your preferred shape will help you pick the best quality diamond.
The most common shapes for diamonds include:
Do a bit of background research on the shape you prefer to help you identify how a shallow, deep, and ideal cut looks like for that diamond shape.
Less color to your diamond will mean higher quality. Diamond color is the second most important factor in diamond grading to consider.
Diamond color is graded on a letter scale standardized as the GIA diamond color scale. L-Z diamonds will have the most color visible, which will present as a yellow hue.
D diamonds have no color at all and are quite rare. Because of their rarity, D diamonds come with the highest price tag.
The GIA diamond color scale moves top to bottom in the following manner:
-D Color Diamonds – Absolutely colorless
-E Color Diamonds – Unnoticeable color
-F Color Diamonds – Minute traces of color
-G Color Diamonds – Near colorless
-H Color Diamonds – Faint yellow hue
-I Color Diamonds – Yellow hue
-J Color Diamonds – Light yellow tone
-K Color Diamonds – Light color
-L-Z Color Diamonds – More distinct color
Keep in mind the factors that can affect the diamond color.
This scale is designed specifically for white diamonds. If you’re considering a colored diamond, then you will look at a different diamond scale that considers more radiant colors as a positive quality.
Clarity assesses small imperfections. These are either internally or surface imperfections only visible at a microscopic level. Internal imperfections are called inclusions, while surface imperfections are blemishes.
The highest quality diamonds with the best grade will have no imperfections.
The GIA has a grading chart for clarity which presents each diamond with one of the following values:
-Very Very Slightly Included
-Very Slightly Included
Other considerations when grading a diamond using the GIA clarity grading chart include:
-Color and relief
This is the least important of the 4 C’s of diamond grading because the imperfections are not visible to the naked, untrained eye. But if you’re concerned about the clarity grade, try to buy a Very Slightly Included or Slightly Included diamond. These will be much cheaper than Flawless or Internally Flawless diamonds, and the imperfections will be invisible to the untrained eye.
Carat Weight of Your Diamond
Weight and size are related when it comes to diamonds. You’ll notice a higher carat weight immediately based on the increased size of the diamond. The common carat weights for engagement rings range from 1/4 of a carat to 3 carats.
One carat is equivalent to 0.200 grams or 0.007 ounces. While it’s common to assume a larger carat is automatically worth more, that isn’t always the case.
A diamond with a lower carat weight but a better cut, color, and clarity grade will be worth more than a diamond with a higher carat weight with poor cut, color, and clarity grades.
As you shop diamond engagement rings consider the values used to determine the true quality of your diamond. Double-check that the value aligns with the price tag displayed. You don’t want to find yourself ripped off on such an important purchase.
Selecting the Best Engagement Ring for You
You shouldn’t shy away from diamond grading as a factor when selecting the ring, you’ll be wearing daily for years to come. But, don’t get caught up in the grading entirely. Be sure to pick a ring you’ll fall in love with – you’ll be looking at it daily.
For more guidance on engagement rings and preparing for the big day, check out our related articles.