The 4 Cs of Diamond Engagement Rings

When the time comes to start looking at engagement rings, many men are stumped at how to even begin making the right choice. While much depends on your budget, the future life partner and individual taste, if you are planning to give a loved one a diamond and pop the question, a good way to get started on finding that perfect ring is to follow the 4 Cs approach.

This system is used in the diamond industry, where many different diamond characteristics are graded and categorised. The 4 Cs comprise the most important characteristics when determining the value of a diamond – Cut, Clarity, Colour and Carat. There’s also a lesser known but still important 5th C, which is Certification.

What do all of these mean when it comes to choosing engagement rings that feature diamonds? Here’s what you should know about characteristics of diamond rings.

Simple Guide to Buying Diamond Engagement Rings

Without further ado, here are the things that you will need to consider when selecting the ideal ring for your future wedded love:

1.       Cut

This refers to the shape and style of the diamond. There are many different cuts, ranging from square to round, with each cut determining just how much sparkle the diamond has when placed within the ring. Simpler cuts are always a timeless choice, while elaborate cuts that allow the full brilliance of the stone to shine are bold, beautiful and sure to make a statement.

2.       Clarity

Almost every diamond has some flaw that occurs when the stone is formed, and this is what makes each stone unique. Generally speaking however, the clearer the diamond, the more it shines and the more it costs. The visibility, number and size of the flaws all help to determine the clarity. Even though clear stones are valued highly, there are many levels of clarity that ensure plenty of choice and variety. After all, sometimes the tiny imperfections in stones (and people) can be more alluring than pure perfection.

3.       Colour

Diamonds with no colour allow the most reflection of light, which gives the stone that all-important sparkle. When a stone is off white, it absorbs more light, which in turn reduces the level of light that shines off the facets of the stone. Colourless diamonds are especially brilliant in a cut that maximises the shine of the natural light that is refracted.

4.       Carat

This is often the thing that most people know about diamonds, especially when it comes to determining the value of a stone. As the unit of weight that diamonds are measured, this refers to the value of the stone as well as the size. Larger diamonds are much rarer than smaller diamonds, meaning that the larger stones are more valued, and therefore more expensive, too.

Then, there is the 5th C that is often overlooked but should also be a vital part of any purchasing decision. This C refers to the certificate (also known as a grading report) that evaluates the diamond. This grading is done by a qualified expert, using special instruments used to evaluate gems. As each stone is unique, with its own individual qualities, listing the stone’s characteristics in an official certificate helps to ensure that you are buying the real deal. It is also essential for insurance purposes.

Now that you have a better idea of how to set off on your mission to find the perfect ring, have a look at our tips on the symbolism of engagement rings to find more advice on fine-tuning your search.

Romantic Symbolism of Engagement Rings

Engagement rings have long been a tradition of devotion and love, symbolising the start of a love story that is as unique to each couple as the ring itself. From classic cuts, traditional styles and sparkling diamonds to modern designs, intricate detail and elegant simplicity, this ring is a token of love that has origins dating back through hundreds of years.

The diamond itself is a universal symbol of love, with many believing that Cupid himself bore arrows tipped with diamonds. Over the centuries, diamond rings have continued to be the classic choice for engagements around the world, across diverse cultures, countries and beliefs.

Where did the symbolism of engagement rings begin though, and what does your ring design stand for in its meaning, history and tradition?

The Origins, Meanings and Symbols of Engagement Rings

The first instance that diamonds were used for engagement was during the Middle Ages. It was during this time that the endurance, invincibility and value of the diamond were seen as a perfect token to seal a marriage pledge. By the 15th Century, diamonds were seen in rings in nearly all royal and noble engagements.

In 1475, the Italian nobleman Constanzo Sforza gave his bride Camilla d’Aragona a diamond ring on the day of their wedding. In 1477, Archduke Maximilian gave the first recorded ring to his bride Mary of Burgundy, who was the daughter of Charles the Bold. Over the years, diamonds began to be seen in rings presented to future brides, with various styles, cuts and designs appearing through each era. Today, while many other stones are also used in these rings, the diamond remains a classic choice.

The cut of the stone itself has its own roots in meaning, too. Some of the most popular cuts and their symbolism include the following:

  • Solitaire. The most timeless and classic of all rings, this single gem ring is set on a band of precious metal. Its meaning is simple yet beautiful – there is just one love. In addition to traditional rings in this style, there are also modern designs that have taken the style into the current era.
  •  Three Stones. This ring is also rich in symbolism, with each stone representing the past, present and future. Often, the middle stone that represents the present takes front stage, with two smaller stones flanking the main gem. More traditional rings in this style feature equal sized stones.
  •  Cluster. Made famous by Princess Diana, and later, Kate Middleton, this is one of the more traditional styles. It features a large stone that is surrounded by smaller stones, which can be contrasting in their cut or colour. Bold, eye-catching and glamourous, rings in this style are perfect for those who have a love for style.

Of course, there are many other designs to be found. Rings can also be designed from scratch, with meanings rooted in each couple’s personal journey. Whether modern, traditional, vintage or entirely original, finding the perfect choice of engagement rings is made simple with the help of qualified, experience jewellers such as Cape Diamonds.