It’s the day you’ve been waiting for, the last day of our four-part discussion about the four Cs so that you can best fit your budget to the best diamond. Next week, we’ll wrap up with how to set that budget, and then we can move on to other things, like hot spring jewelry trends to find in pawn shops in Northern Virginia.
When people talk about diamonds and carats, they often mean size, i.e. “I want at least a carat.” But carats are actually measurements of weight, as are points: 100 points equals one carat. CTW—an abbreviation you sometimes see in pieces with many smaller diamonds—means carat total weight.
When you’re trying to match a diamond purchase to a carat amount, keep in mind that small differences in carat size can result in big increases in price. If you’re going over budget on that 1.2-carat stone, ask the jeweler to bring you a 1.1- or even one-carat diamond; in diamonds identical in clarity, color, and cut, the difference could be thousands to you and, unless your intended is a diamond expert, it’s doubtful the difference will be noticeable at proposal time. When you’re reducing size to cut price, start by shaving off ten or 15 points, and see what it does to the price, and how noticeable you think it is. Ask us to show you a few for comparison when you visit Loudoun Jewelry on Maple Avenue.
If you find that to get to your price range, you’re needing to compromise on size to the point of it being significant enough to matter to you, look at some fancy shapes—ovals, rectangles, marquise—which give the illusion of being larger (and can often hide flaws better, so the price is less), as does a narrow band, or bezel or halo setting. And remember that when it comes to diamonds, size isn’t everything. In fact, in considering the 4 Cs against your budget to buy a gorgeous diamond, it’s the least important. And you can play around with it: for example, you might get a half-carat diamond flanked by two quarter-carat diamonds, and that will cost less than one-carat stone. Consider the other three Cs, and then carat weight to find your best deal when you shop for diamond jewelry in the DC area.