Diamonds, Authenticity, And The 4 C's: FAQs About Jewelry

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What do you need to know about diamonds? Before you invest in diamond jewelry, take a look at some common gemstone questions.

How Do You Know A Diamond Is Real?

You want the real deal—but aren't sure how to tell the difference between a genuine gemstone and a manmade knockoff. While there are popular self-tests, such as the water, UV light, or fog test, these aren't always practical measures of the authenticity of a diamond. Instead of buying a diamond and taking it home to test it, talk to the jeweler. 

The jeweler should provide you with a certificate of authenticity from a trusted source, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), or a diamond grading report from the American Gem Society (AGS). These credentials show the diamond is real and meets industry standards.

Are the Four C's Really Important?

The four C's include cut, color, clarity, and carats. These diamond qualities can help you to choose a gemstone and make a meaningful investment. The cut is easy to confuse with shape. But the two are not the same. Instead of the overall shape, the cut refers to the interaction between the diamond's surfaces and the light. The lower the cut grade number, the more sparkle it has.

Along with the cut, you will want to know more about a diamond's color (colorless, yellow, brown, pink, or another hue), clarity (the presence or absence of internal inclusions and external blemishes), and carats (the weight of the stone).

Is One C Better Than Another?

There is no standard answer to this question. Ideally, you want a diamond that has all four C's. But you may not find the perfect stone. This means you will need to decide which C's are important to you. Do you want a brilliant sparkling diamond that is larger in size (has a higher carat weight—or would you prefer a smaller stone? Is an inclusion- and blemish-free stone important to you? Do you want a specific color of diamond, such as yellow or pink? Does a traditional or classic clear stone appeal to your aesthetic?

Create a list of what you want in a diamond ring before you shop for the perfect bauble. This will help to inform your decision-making process. If you don't know how much importance you should place on one, some, or all of the C's, talk to an experienced jeweler. A jewelry professional can show you examples of different diamonds and help you to select the just-right investment piece.