Posts Tagged ‘The 4 C’s’

Beyond 4Cs: Educate Yourself Before Buying Her Ring

Monday, November 17th, 2014

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As many men can attest, the diamond buying process can be pretty daunting, to say the least. With so much information (and misinformation) out there, it can be tough to cut through the clutter and find the best tips to really prepare you for this major life purchase: her engagement ring.

That’s where Beyond 4Cs comes in. Created by a GIA diamond graduate, the informational website walks readers through every important step of the diamond buying process, including the four Cs and why they’re so vital, how diamonds are graded, the different diamond shapes available (such as the popular cushion cuts), major jeweler reviews and guides, and even how to properly care for diamonds.

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Education is key, especially when it comes to a purchase as important as this one. If you plan on shopping for her engagement ring soon, check out the Beyond 4Cs step-by-step diamond buying guide. It’s a great place to begin your research before you ever set foot inside a jewelry store.

What diamond shape are you planning to purchase? Tell us in the comment section below.

The 4 C’s Of Diamonds. Fast.

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Real men are swift, strong and decisive. We hate to linger. Everything has to be fast. Ordering a burger? Serve it under 5 minutes or I’m leaving. Buying a car? Does it go REALLY fast? If it does… Sold!

Too many words? Skip it.

At Brilliance.com, we never beat around the bush. We realize that there’s just too much out there for you to do and there’s just so little time, that’s why we give it to you straight, right between the eyes! We’ve been in the diamond and jewelry business for over 20 years and we are here to tell you that if you like it then you SHOULD put a ring on it!

If you don’t, somebody else will.

Of course, we know what you’re thinking. Buying a diamond engagement ring is no simple task. That’s true, and it isn’t exactly cheap either. We’re not one to mince words; you are going to spend a lot on it, but before you do, at least know what it is you need to buy and what’s the best that your budget can get you.

Enter the 4 C’s: Carat, Cut, Color and Clarity. In a nutshell, these are the qualities which make diamonds pretty. These also determine how much a diamond will cost. Just like when buying a car or a gadget, the better the features, the more expensive it’s going to be. Consider these 4 as a diamond’s main features.

Normally, you’d have to scour the Internet for accurate information on the 4 C’s. You’d have to read paragraph after paragraph of technical details that might just mess up your mind, and that’s something you don’t want cuz’ you’re probably already messed up thinking about your proposal. But since we’re such nice folks here over at Brilliance, we’ve decided to make an infograph about it, just for you.

Just one look at this and you’re ready to buy almost any kind of diamond jewelry!

loose diamonds infograph

That was quick, right? So, whenever you are ready to get that ring, just look us up. By the way, although we specialize in loose diamonds and diamond engagement rings, a lot of our customers (and there are quite a lot) also loved our diamond stud earrings, necklaces and bracelets. Now if you’re looking to give a truly unique, one-of-a-kind gift that can’t be found in anywhere else, go for our custom-made jewelry! Just upload your sketch on our website and we’ll digitally render it for you. Once you’ve approved of the sketch, it’ll just be a couple of days before your creation is shipped to you in a beautiful lacquered gift box for free.

And oh, just a thought to leave you with, did we also mention that we offer the lowest prices EVER? If you ever find an item of identical size and quality at a lower price, we will beat it.

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5 Things to Ask Your Jeweler Before Buying a Diamond

Monday, November 15th, 2010

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Purchasing a diamond is a big step and finding the right one can be pretty intimidating. However, it doesn’t have to be. Before you make your purchase of a lifetime, make sure to ask the following 5 questions to your jeweler.

1. May I see a selection of diamonds to compare?

It’s important to see an assortment of diamonds that fall within your price range. Because buying a diamond is such a big investment, make sure you’ve explored your options before making a decision.

2. Can you tell me how the diamond grades against the 4Cs?
Nearly 50 years ago, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) created the now world-famous 4Cs of diamonds: Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat Weight.
Diamond Color: Measures how close a diamond is to being colorless. The more colorless a diamond, the more brilliant it appears under light.
Diamond Cut: The cut of a diamond impacts its brightness and how much it sparkles when exposed to light.
Diamond Clarity: Diamonds can contain tiny imperfections that naturally occur during its formation. Clarity is graded by how visible these markings are at 10x magnification.
Diamond Carat weight: The most obvious characteristic of the diamond, carat weight is relative to the size of the gem. While size is important, the perfect diamond is one that satisfies your requirements for Color, Clarity and Cut as well.

Your jeweler should have no problem explaining the 4Cs to you in more detail. In fact, to determine what Cs you find most important, you may want to ask your jeweler to show you diamonds that provide the best example of a certain characteristic, such as a colorless stone.

3. May I have a grading report for this diamond?
Insist that your diamond comes with a grading report from an independent, accredited gemological laboratory, such as GIA.  Their reports are highly regarded and are one of the most widely used reports in the world. An independently generated report will ensure your diamond’s value, quality, and authenticity. GIA also offers a Diamond Dossier®, containing the same information found on the traditional grading report, but in a more compact format, and available for stones of up to 2.00 carats.

4. How can I protect my investment?
Keep your purchase secure by having your diamond appraised or insured. Appraisers and insurers rely on diamond grading and identification reports to evaluate the quality and value of your diamond. Your professional jewelry can you provide you more information on diamond appraisal and insurance.

5. How can I take care of the diamond?
Diamonds are durable, but they aren’t indestructible. Talk to your jeweler about care and cleaning tips to keep your diamond strong and beautiful for years to come.

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To learn more about buying a diamond, visit www.gia4cs.gia.edu.

The Truth About Diamonds

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

 

Diamond expert Ira Weissman drops in to share some advice with our grooms on what they need to know about selecting a diamond.

Like the diamonds themselves, there is an almost endless supply of informational websites teaching the consumer the best way to buy a diamond. The problem is, however, that if you look closely you will find that the vast majority of these informational pages are owned, either overtly or covertly, by the very same people looking to sell you a diamond. Most people know by now not to trust everything your car salesman says about the car he’s trying to sell you, so should the person trying to sell you a diamond be looked at any differently?

The simple fact is that almost all advice given online about how to buy a diamond is grossly exaggerated to fit the particular type of diamond that each vendor specializes in. A vendor who specializes in “ideal cuts” is going to tell you that everything else but “ideal cuts” are junk and don’t look nearly as nice as what they’re selling. An online vendor who doesn’t offer pictures will tell you that you need to buy a high clarity grade, or else you could wind up with an eye visible inclusion.

I would like to present to you, the diamond consumer, my take on the four C’s (Cut, Clarity, Color, Carat). What I’m going to explain to you now is the way every diamond dealer I know would approach buying a diamond for his wife or girlfriend. You’d be wise to do the same.

To preface my discussion of each “C” individually, it’s important to discuss two important issues first. First of all, we need to address where to buy the diamond and the simple answer to that question is: online. While bricks and mortar stores provide the obvious benefit of being able to see the diamond ahead of time, that one benefit is not worth the much greater margin you’re going to end up paying. Most online vendors markup their diamonds anywhere from 10 to 18 percent. Bricks and mortar stores will typically markup their diamonds around 50% — and that’s down significantly from where it was just about 10 years ago when it was closer to 100%.

The second issue that needs discussion is my general approach to balancing tradeoffs between the four Cs. Before you attempt to evaluate this balance, you need to define the goal for yourself. I typically advise one of two goals: Either trying to buy the largest diamond for your specific budget, or alternatively, keeping the size where you had originally planned it, but trying to buy the cheapest diamond (that obviously covers my minimum requirements) for that size. The analogy for balancing the four Cs that I like to use is that of a pie. Each “C” represents a slice of the pie. The larger (better) one slice, the smaller the other slices necessarily become. My diamond buying strategy can be summed up quite succinctly as the following: minimizing the slices that your eye doesn’t notice (color and clarity), and maximizing the slices that your eye does notice (carat and cut).

Lets get into it one “C” at a time:

Color – As I mention in my article on diamond color, round diamonds colored J or better look white when viewed face-up. You can only see that one diamond is more yellow than another if they are placed right next to each other. When diamond dealers evaluate a diamond’s color, it’s face down, sitting on a plain white folded card held directly underneath a fluorescent light. Even then, it’s very hard to detect what the color of a diamond is taken by itself. When gemologists grade color, they use a master color sample to compare the test diamond against. Under normal lighting, with a diamond mounted by itself in a setting face-up, it’s pretty much impossible for any non-expert to detect any amount of yellowishness in a diamond J color or better. So why spend more money on a “colorless” diamond when it won’t be appreciated? Take that money you save on color, and buy a bigger rock!

Clarity – Clarity is a bit more tricky than color, for the simple reason that every diamond is completely unique in the way it is included (filled with blemishes). A clarity grade is an evaluation of the size, color, and position of the inclusions inside of a diamond — but it doesn’t tell you how visible the inclusions are to the naked eye. I, personally, don’t view clarity in terms of grades. For me, clarity is strictly binary — that is, is the diamond completely clean to the naked eye, or is it not? A diamond VS2 will be clean to the naked eye about 95% of the time, but a diamond I1 will be completely clean to the naked eye probably around 50% of the time. All else being equal, though, a VS2 will cost 77% more than an I1! So wouldn’t it make sense to buy an eye-clean I1 versus an eye-clean VS2? After all, unless your fiance will walk around with a jewelers loupe inspecting her ring constantly, the two will look exactly the same to the naked eye. The trick, though, is finding the I1 that is eye clean. For that, you need the help of an expert to pick the right stone, and an online vendor that offers pictures of their diamonds. If you’re interested I’d be happy to help you pick the perfect I1.

Cut – Cut refers to how nice the diamond’s proportions and measurements stack up. It used to be, before 2006, that you either had to buy a diamond with an AGS certificate, which offered their own cut grade, or you had to learn about the different diamond measurements and figure out for yourself whether the diamond you were buying was a “nice-make” or not. In 2006, though, the GIA came out with their own cut grade system. Their cut grade system is based on over 10 years of research measuring light performance for every different combination of measurements imaginable. So now, the choice is very simple. Either buy a diamond with an “Excellent” or “Very Good” cut grade from the GIA, and you will have a beautiful diamond. There is some added fire and sparkle when buying Excellent over Very Good, but it’s really much less than most advice-givers would have you believe. The added benefit is further minimized over time when your wife’s ring will collect dirt and naturally become slightly duller. Also, you should know that the difference in light performance between Excellent and Very Good diamonds is particularly stark inside the jewelry store where they use specially designed overhead halogen lighting designed to make diamonds sparkle their artificially fullest. When you leave the store, and enter real-world lighting, the difference is much much less.

Carat – To me, this is the most important of the four “C”s because this is the one that your eye sees the clearest and people appreciate the most. Everyone will notice the difference between a 1.50 carat diamond and a 1 carat diamond, but few people will notice, for example, the difference between an eye-clean I1 and a VS2, or a J color and an H color diamond, or an Excellent and Very Good cut.
Bottom Line – Buy an I or J color, SI2 or I1 clarity (confirmed to be clean to the naked eye – contact me for help), Excellent or Very Good Cut Grade (from GIA only), and use all that saved money from buying an I/J SI2/I1 to either buy a bigger diamond, or save it for the down payment on your first house together.

Diamond expert Ira Weissman

Diamond expert Ira Weissman

Ira Weissman is a diamond industry veteran with experience at one of the worlds largest diamond manufacturers. His work has brought him to Israel, France, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Russia, Dubai, Thailand, and to most of the 50 states in the USA. Ira is presently the editor of Truth about Diamonds, a website offering the diamond consumer insider advice of how to buy diamonds like a diamond dealer, and not like a retail shopper.

The Million Dollar Ring: Does Engagement Ring Cost Matter?

Friday, December 12th, 2008

J Lo’s 6.1 carat pink diamond engagement ring from Ben Affleck was worth $1.2 million dollars. It made headlines, but didn’t make her his wife. Soon thereafter, she weds Marc Anthony whom doesn’t even give her a ring. Apparently, “Love Don’t Cost a Thing.” A year later, he does get her a 14.5 carat, brilliant cut diamond ring on a platinum band, valued at more than $5 million dollars. So, I guess love does cost a little… bit… more.

Pink ring?? Good call Ben.

Pink diamond? Good call Ben. How’d that work out for ya?

Don’t fret though fellas…even if you can’t drop down that million or two on a ring, here are a few tips on how to shop for the perfect engagement ring.

Set a budget
According to theweddingreport.com, the average amount spent on an engagement ring is $4,322. So, throw that “three-month’s-salary-common-rule-of-thumb” out the window! Accept your limitations. Let quality and value be the basis for your decision making, not the dollar amount.

Consider the four C’s: clarity, color, carat, and cut.
The 4 C’s are either a man’s best or worst friend. The best value in clarity is a diamond with no inclusions, other minerals stuck inside the stone visible to the naked eye. A colorless or near colorless diamond also adds value to your ring, unless of course you’re going for another gemstone (like a sapphire) or a colored diamond. The third “C” is for carat weight. Although a larger stone is nice, bigger doesn’t necessarily make it better. An inclusion-free, colorless, large carat stone loses its brilliance and sparkle depending on the cut. There are several cuts to choose from: princess, emerald, round, and pear to name a few. Every woman will have their preference.

Know your diamonds.

Know your diamonds (or at least your cubic zirconia)

Once you’ve chosen a rock, you’ll have to do a bit of research.
Study the current jewelry style she wears; classic, fancy, antique, modern? Does she prefer white or yellow gold or maybe platinum? She may need a cathedral or contour setting (which means the diamond is set into the band) if she’s more active with her hands. A raised setting, works well for women that don’t have to worry about snagging their clothing, etc. Ask her friends if she’s pointed out anything specific and make them promise not to spill the beans!

Or, you can also simply ask her. Today, many couples are looking for rings together, which is an enjoyable and error proof route for you! In any case, stay within your budget, use the four C’s, consider her personal style, and you will have a fabulous ring to propose with!

Let me just say, that with the candlelight low, a bottle of bubbly, gazing into each other’s eyes, as you get down on one knee – she’ll probably say “Yes” before you bring out that little box. And whether it’s a 1 carat or a 14.5-carat ring, I guarantee, she’ll wear it like it’s worth a million bucks.

We’re thrilled to have Gretchen Viles as a guest contributor on GroomsAdvice. Gretchen is editor & social media editor for WindWishes.com. WindWishes makes beautiful, affordable paper banners that are a groundbreaking new category in the paper products industry aimed at the keepsake and favors markets.

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Random cool/interesting thing we found on the internet: You guys like bacon? Let us introduce the bacon weave to you. We’re not quite sure if we should be running to the store to grab the supplies or going in for a heart exam just for having looked at it. One thing’s for sure – this must be the best drunk food known to man!

The Man Registry’s groomsmen gift of the day: If your wedding party is playing golf on or around your wedding day or bachelor party day, why not present your boys with a groomsman gift they can put to use immediately. The personalized golf towel and key ring tool set can be engraved with up to three initials per item at no extra charge. Hey, at least let them look good while you’re takin’ them to school.

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