Follow our step-by-step syllabus for all you need to know about buying THE ring.
You may have heard of the “Four Cs” - carat, cut, clarity and color. Each diamond’s value hinges on its combination of these factors. Let’s break it down:
CARAT: Carat is a unit of weight, not volume. That being said, generally the bigger the carat, the bigger the diamond appears. Don’t get too hung up on this though – there are many other factors that can affect the appearance of the size, like cut and shape. You will see this abbreviated as ct, or as tcw for "total carat weight" which would be used for a ring with multiple stones.
CUT: Cut refers to the shape of the stone, and the shape of its facets. A good cut has even, symmetrical facets, nice polish, and reflects light well. Different cuts have come and go in popularity over the history of jewelry design. Now, modern jewelers have a huge variety to choose from when creating a ring: Art Deco-inspired emerald and baguette cuts, romantic and subtle rose cuts, elegant old European cuts, and many more. We suggest thinking outside the brilliant cut box and choosing a design that speaks to your own aesthetic sensibilities.
CLARITY: Clarity means the size and quantity of any irregularities in the stone (aka inclusions and blemishes). The Gemological Institute of America, a nonprofit institute dedicated to research and education in the field of gemology, has created an industry-standard grading chart to measure the clarity of a diamond.
IF: internally flawless
VVS: very very slightly included
VS: very slightly included
SI: slightly included
Unless you have Beyoncé’s budget, you will probably never see a “flawless” graded diamond. A VS or VVS grading refers to inclusions so small that they can only be seen under 10x magnification, and even then only to the trained eye. Many of our favorite rings here at ESQUELETO use heavily included stones, and we think the inclusions are unique and beautiful!
Extra Credit Assignment: Read more about diamond clarity here.
COLOR: Did you know that diamonds can occur naturally in a range of colors from crystal clear white to nearly opaque black? Though white diamonds are the most commonly used for jewelry, we carry rings with diamonds of many colors - from warm, honey-hued champagne diamonds to moody, smoky gray diamonds. Fancy colored diamonds include greens, yellows, pinks, blues, etc. and are very rare and distinctive. Black diamonds have an edgy vibe, and salt + pepper diamonds (a unique type of inclusion: carbon “pepper” flecks suspended in a clear stone) have been very popular for the past few years.
In addition to their unique beauty, imperfect diamonds also offer an ecological advantage, as just a few decades ago they would have been headed for the slag pile. But ESQUELETO’s modern, mindful jewelers enjoy rescuing these natural wonders and setting them in contemporary, unusual designs. We are proud to offer a diverse selection of rustic diamonds and unique future heirlooms, and we encourage our customers to discover the inherent beauty of nature’s “perfect imperfections.”
Investing in fine jewelry can be overwhelming, as the industry has roots in human rights atrocities and environmental degradation. Diamonds have a long, complicated, and violent history. We acknowledge this, and we are committed to driving change within the industry by working with artists and suppliers who share our commitment to social and environmental sustainability. Sustainability is more than mere policy or procedure – it is our consistent commitment to better ourselves, empower each other, provide value for our clientele, and protect the Earth in the process. Read more about our company ethos here.
FORGET THE OLD RULES. How much you spend should be based solely upon what you and your partner feel comfortable with. We have great options to suit every budget! We also offer easy-to-set-up payment plans via Affirm.
Curious about a fully custom ring created just for you? Our in-house design team will guide you through the whole process. More details available here.
We get it – this is a huge purchase! We’re here to help. You can book an appointment, either in-person or virtual, with one of our expert staff members in any of our locations via the button below.