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Diamonds are foreverMaximilian of Austria is said to have started a wonderful tradition over 500 years ago when he gave a diamond ring to Mary of Burgundy to seal their engagement. The Duke made a wise choice – the diamond – which proved to be a fitting symbol for everlasting love because of its beauty, hardness, rarity, and enduring value.
Of course, not all diamonds have the same value. The diamond industry uses a simple formula to determine quality: each diamond is graded for cut, color, clarity and carat weight, also know as the Four C's.
Cut. This is the shape of the diamond. The cut chosen is purely that of personal preference. The most common cuts are the round, pear, oval, marquise, emerald, baguette and heart. The shape of the cut contributes little to value – it's the quality of the cut that counts. Ideally, the best cut will reflect the maximum amount of light back to the viewer.
Color. To the untrained eye, the common diamond is somewhat colorless, usually tinged yellow, brown or grey. Completely colorless diamonds are very rare and the most valuable. Also rare and valuable is the "fancy stone," a diamond with definite color rather than just a shade or tinge. Pink, red, green, blue, yellow and brown are some of the colors considered fancy stones.
Clarity. Diamonds are formed deep in the earth from one simple mineral – carbon. As the carbon crystallizes into the diamond, imperfections make each crystal unique. Internal and external spots and bubbles form, lessening the clarity of the diamond. Generally, the more irregularities there are, the lower the value of the diamond.
Carat. The weight of the diamond is expressed in carats. 1 carat equals 200 milligrams; 142 carats equals 1 ounce. Carat fractions are further subdivided into points; 1 carat equals 100 points, 1/2 carat equals 50 points, etc.
Confidence.Whether looking for a sparkling diamond or lovely gemstone, a couple should take the time to consider a fifth C – confidence. The wise couple will choose a jeweler they have confidence in. The reliable jeweler will talk frankly and freely about the diamond the couple wants to buy and the price they want to pay. Like any other large purchase, investigate all your options.
And of course, cost. The amount you spend on a wedding set depends fully on your personal preference and financial ability. Purchase the highest quality your finances can afford – the ring is a investment you'll wear for a lifetime. Always be mindful that the symbolism of the wedding ring is priceless.