Diamonds 101

You found the girl you want to spend the rest of your life with, so the next step is thinking about engagement rings. Chicago readers may recall that we recently blogged about some general tips on engagement ring shopping, but now we’ll take it a step up for those in the market for rings in and around Chicago. Engagement rings are one of the most important pieces of jewelry your soul mate will wear, so you’ll want to be well versed in diamonds.

Before we delve into specifics, we can’t emphasize enough the importance of establishing a budget. We know, you’d like to give your bride-to-be the best money can buy however you need to be realistic. Especially considering weddings average over $20,000, you’ll want to budget carefully as the engagement ring is just one of many big ticket items that comes with getting married.

In and around Chicago, engagement rings typically cost 2-3 months of the fiancé’s annual salary, however this rule is only a general reference. Spend what you are comfortable spending and don’t break the bank. Now that you’ve set the budget, it will help direct you in focusing on the king of engagement ring you’ll purchase and will also help salespeople keep you in your budget.

Diamonds are a woman’s best friend for a reason (sorry Fido). They are a rare, precious stone, and most of the diamonds sparkling on fingers of women across the world are more than 100 million years old! However, not all diamonds are made equal. Below is a rundown of what are known as the ‘4 C’s’ of diamonds.


With respect to diamonds in engagement rings, Chicago shoppers should know that cut is the most important. The way a diamond is cut affects the way light reflects off of it, meaning it affects that sparkle. Even if you purchase the whitest and clearest diamond but the cut is not precise, the diamond will lose its brilliance.

The cut of a diamond affects the cost, but remember that degree of brilliance will trump size. So if you are looking to cut corners (no pun intended), do not do it on the cut of the diamond.


Clarity refers to the degree of inclusions or imperfections within the diamond. Most of these are invisible to the naked eye and may only be visible under a microscope. For this reason, this may be one area where you can save money by getting a diamond with small imperfections that will drive down the cost, yet won’t necessarily be visible.

To help you compare clarity across diamonds there are various clarity grades ranging from flawless to imperfect. You’ll want to stay somewhere in the middle.


While most area always white or clear, there is a varying degree of transparency. Like with clarity, the more transparent the diamond, the more expensive. Diamonds range in color from D to Z, with D being completely clear and colorless, and Z being tainted with color, usually a yellow-ish hue. You can see the difference in color if you look at the loose diamond on a white piece of paper.

It is difficult to tell the difference between a D and G colored diamond, which tend to be the most expensive. Hence, stick with a diamond in the G-J range and you’ll get a transparent diamond at a great price.


Last but not least is the carat, probably the most familiar of the ‘4 C’s’ terms. A carat refers to the weight of the diamond and the larger and heavier the diamond, the more expensive. One trick to keep costs down is to get a diamond with a carat very close to a whole number. For instance, opt for a 0.97 carat diamond if you are looking for a 1 carat diamond or a 1.99 carat diamond if you are in the market for a 2 carat diamond. Diamond prices typically jump quite a bit at the whole number carat cut points.

We know this may be a lot to take in all at once, but the ‘4 C’s’ are essential to engagement ring shopping. Overall, finding the perfect loose diamond to build your engagement ring around will have a great balance of all ‘4 C’s’. With these rules in mind, be sure to check out our latest collection of beautiful Tacori jewelry! We hope to see you soon.

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