Choosing a Diamond: Juggling the four C’s to find an awesome diamond.

by Nancy Plante February 13, 2017

Choosing a Diamond: Juggling the four C’s to find an awesome diamond.

Wouldn’t it be great to have your very own gem expert to help you find the highest-quality diamond for your budget?

Sometimes what you really need is not just a jeweler, but a specialist who will find out what is most important to you, then help you choose a diamond while providing an eye-opening experience. 

This is what Mark Benoit found at Plante Jewelers, when he was searching for a diamond engagement ring for his wife.

He recalls of the process, “Pierre Plante was amazing. Even though I was living three hours away he showed me everything I needed through e-mail and phone calls. The different diamonds with different cuts, different clarities, different choices. We eventually pared it down to about five different diamonds. And then we determined a time I was going to be coming back to Swansea and I sat down with Pierre. He had the different stones waiting for me. He talked me through each stone and the quality. He tested what appealed to me as far as the color and the cut and the clarity of the diamond. I chose a diamond, and the end product was absolutely beautiful.”

Today, we explain just a fraction of the in-depth knowledge that Pierre brought to his meeting:

Choosing a diamond: First steps

The first fact you must understand about this process is that there is a lot more to a diamond’s beauty than just the intrinsic “quality” of the gem when it comes out of the ground. 

The most important factor that will influence your choice - and it has the potential to deliver the juiciest eye-popping explosions of technicolor sparkle - is the diamond’s “proportion of cut.”


This is what you want to prioritize when it comes to choosing a diamond. An ideally cut diamond is incredibly precious - the diamond’s distinctive fire, brilliance, and beauty all emerge from the precise workmanship of the gem. 

The round brilliant-cut shape has the greatest potential for this wonderful display of  refracted and reflected light. Although only about one percent of all round diamonds are polished to this perfection, Pierre is able to teach you how to evaluate diamonds and find these beauties. 

When considering cut, you will also consider shape. Diamonds can be cut into a variety of shapes, round being traditional. Others, such as oval, cushion, pear, marquise, emerald and princess cut are referred to as “fancy” shapes. In general, fancy shapes cost less than the classic round shape because less of the original crystal is polished away.  

Those of us who are interested in fancy-shape diamonds will find that the fire or sparkle is different when compared to the best proportioned round diamonds.The difference is caused by the variation of the dimensions that fancy shape diamonds have.

For example, the square princess cut has a longer measurement from point to point as compared from side to side. This makes it impossible for the polisher to create as much sparkle as a round diamond could have. Just as there are special round brilliant cut diamonds, beautiful fancy shapes can be found. 


Diamonds can be found in many colors. Overall there are two color groups, one being traditional white diamonds including a variety of tones and a second group being fancy color diamonds with each color being found in a variety of intensities. Fancy colors include yellow, orange, pink, red, violet, red, green, blue, gray and brown. Of the traditional white diamonds, the icy-white color is the rarest and most expensive tone.

Traditional white diamonds can have varying degrees of faint yellow which are less expensive. Keep in mind that the rarest color may not be the most appealing color to you. Since each person perceives color differently, comparing diamonds of different tones will help you to choose one that is attractive to you. If you are interested in a unique fancy color, yellow, gray and brown are the most affordable options.  


Clarity can have a large impact on diamond prices, just as Carat does. It generally refers to how easy it is to notice inclusions in the gem. But the highest clarity diamonds - termed “flawless diamonds” - cannot even be distinguished from nearly-flawless diamonds with the naked eye. Those who notice fine details may opt to sacrifice some size for better clarity, but generally gems with a few inclusions may have great beauty as well.


This is a simple enough measure: Carat refers to the diamond’s weight.  There are 100 points in one carat. The size of a diamond is also a key driver of a diamond’s value. As the size of a diamond increases, its value increases exponentially. The reason for this is that a greater number of small diamond crystals are found as compared to larger ones, making large crystals much more valuable.

One way of working with size and to help you stay in budget is to choose a diamond that is slightly smaller than the size that you were originally considering. An example of this is that if you wanted a one carat size diamond you could save a lot by choosing one in the ninety-point size range. This slight difference will have a considerable effect on the cost.

A benefit of choosing a slightly smaller diamond that has “spot on” proportion of cut is that it will be much more beautiful than a larger poorly proportioned diamond.


As you can see, there are a lot of aspects to choosing a diamond. Most importantly, seeing how each of the 4Cs interact and affect each other will help you make the right choice. Knowing how much you can spend will help you and your jeweler, acting as your personal guide, to find the best diamond.

One of the most satisfying parts of the effort that you will put into choosing this wonderful gem is knowing that whenever she looks at it she will think of you. So when making a decision our most important tip is: Take your time! Learn and trust your instincts.

In the words of a recent customer, “a diamond is not a commodity. Choosing a diamond for our engagement ring is about choosing a diamond that is beautiful to us. Diamond reports don’t matter, they are just a point of reference for future value. We will not be selling the diamond that we choose, it will be in her ring for the rest of our lives.”

Plante Jewelers is a jewelry store located in Swansea, MA. We specialize in helping customers choose beautiful gems and creating custom jewelry. We also have a wide selection of brilliant designer jewelry in our store. If you want more help choosing a diamond for yourself or someone you love, contact us and we will do everything we can for you.




Nancy Plante
Nancy Plante


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