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Understanding the 4 Cs of Vintage Engagement Rings

Knowledge about the 4 Cs, cut, clarity, carat and colour, is essential when considering diamonds for vintage engagement rings.

The ‘4 Cs’ are the four factors that determine the value, quality and beauty of diamonds in vintage engagement rings. They are: cut, clarity, carat and colour. Basic knowledge about the 4 Cs is essential when buying a diamond, because they can look the same but be valued very differently.


The cut is the style or design guide used when shaping the diamond. It is not just the shape of it (round, oval, square, etc.), since the cut refers to its proportions, symmetry and polish, as well as how well the facets interact with light.

The cut grade is the most important factor when choosing a diamond, because it affects the overall appearance of the gemstone. A poorly cut diamond will seem dull even with excellent clarity and colour.

For superior brilliance, a diamond with a cut grade of ‘Very Good’ or ‘Excellent’ for round diamonds is the better choice. In fancy shape diamonds, ‘Good’ or ‘Better’ will suffice. If you are buying a diamond in this higher price range, make sure its symmetry and polish are also graded as ‘Very Good’ or ‘Excellent’ to work well with the cut grade of the diamond.

A ‘Fair’ to ‘Good’ cut grade would suit those on a budget. Be careful not to buy a ‘Poor’ cut diamond, though, as most people find the quality unacceptable.


Diamonds have internal characteristics called inclusions, and surface defects called blemishes. A diamond’s clarity is the scale that grades the perfection of the diamond; for example, the fewer inclusions the diamond has, the greater the clarity and the more valuable it will be. It is important to remember that diamonds have natural flaws and are rarely perfect.

Inclusions include flaws such as air bubbles, cracks and non-diamond minerals. Blemishes can be scratches, pits and chips. Some blemishes can be created in the cutting process, but all inclusions and most blemishes are completely natural.

Clearer diamonds with fewer inclusions and blemishes are rarer and make for more expensive and vintage engagement rings.


The weight of a diamond is measured in carats. A metric ‘carat’ is 200 milligrams. Carats are split into points where 100 points equal one carat. For example, a half carat diamond is a 50 point or 0.50 carat diamond.

‘Carat’ shouldn’t be confused with ‘karat’, which refers to the purity of gold.


The colour of a diamond usually refers to the presence or absence of colour in white diamonds. A pure diamond has no colour, and therefore, colourless diamonds are the most desirable for vintage engagement rings, since they allow the most refraction of light (also known as sparkle). Off-white diamonds, on the contrary, absorb light.

The diamond certificate

The diamond certificate or grading report is sometimes known as the fifth C and is a complete evaluation of the diamond by a qualified professional. The individual characteristics of the gemstones appear on the certificate. Diamonds are issued with certificates such as GIA (Gemmological Institute of America) or AGS (American Gem Society).

It is clear, thenFind Article, that the basic 4 Cs are essential when considering diamonds for vintage engagement rings to ensure value and authenticity.

Article Tags: Vintage Engagement Rings, Vintage Engagement, Engagement Rings

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Frederick Holm is staff writer for of the F&L Designer Guides, compiled and written to help consumers choose a unique engagement ring design. From diamonds to vintage engagement rings, from a princess cut to a platinum band, we have ideas and opinions covering all the options. Offering advice, tips and suggestions on how to choose that perfect ring, F&L will accompany you on every stage of your search to find the right designer.

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