Is knowing the 4Cs of diamonds enough? Understanding the Basics of Engagement
A reporter with the Chicago Tribune asked us what everyone should know about diamonds before
they go out shopping for an engagement ring.
They had a series of questions for us that were designed to help their readers
understand the basics for diamond and ring shopping.
Below is part of the interview:
Diamonds, Engagement Ring Shopping & the 4Cs
What should you know about diamonds going into the process? Is it enough to know
It's important to know as much as you can about diamonds. For most of us,
buying a diamond engagement ring is the first time (and often the last time) we
will spend so much money on a piece of jewelry.
Diamonds are tricky because to the untrained eye
it is very difficult to determine authenticity or overall quality.
The 4Cs are a
great start and we believe that everyone should have a basic understanding of
what they are and how they affect quality and cost before you go out shopping.
The best place to get a clear and unbiased understanding of the 4s is from the
education section of the
However, since diamonds are not manufactured, just like every person on the
planet, each diamond has its own unique character and personality so to assess a
stone’s beauty and quality solely based on the 4Cs and gemological reports is
Diamonds, like people, are not interchangeable. Two diamonds that are
comparable on paper don’t necessarily share a similar value, can ultimately look
quite different from one another in reality, and generate completely different
responses from you.
Grade, shape, and light performance all play a role in determining the
commercial value of a diamond. So when shopping, know and understand the 4Cs but
choose a stone that you feel some sort of connection to—and the more diamonds
you look at, the easier it will be to recognize the one that speaks to you at an
Do you really have to spend two or three months' salary?
You should spend what you can afford and
what feels right for the two of you!
The engagement ring is a traditional symbol of commitment of marriage and the
level of that commitment is not reflected in the cost of the ring or even in a
In fact the diamond engagement ring only came into vogue after a clever
marketing campaign by the DeBeers Diamond Company in the 1940s that coined the
saying "A Diamond is Forever"—it would eventually be pronounced as the best
advertising slogan of the twentieth century by Advertising Age Magazine.
It is rumored that in order to increase diamond sales, the clever executives
at DeBeers followed up the campaign by setting the standard of two to three
months salary as a way of providing an acceptable cost guideline (from their
point of view) for all men, thereby making diamonds more accessible to the
Since no specific figure is given, all that was really required for you
to demonstrate your love and commitment was a diamond ring that cost about a
quarter of your yearly salary whatever that may be.
Those guys were brilliant!
Once you recognize the origin of this standard you can understand why jewelry
stores and others with a vested interest perpetuate that standard and why we're
still talking about it today.
Of course, every girl wants a huge rock to show off and if one can truly
afford it and it is within their means, we say “Bring on the Bling!"
It’s easy to get caught up in the fantasy and by what we see in the media,
but the reality is that many of us today need to be more practical, if not by
desire then by necessity.
This seems to be a trend that is catching on with more and more couples
saving their extra dollars for their first home and future together instead of
putting it towards a more expensive ring. They understand that the true meaning
of the ring comes not from its cost or the size of the rock, but instead from
the strength of the commitment it represents.