The Four Cs of Diamond Engagement Rings

August 11, 2022
The Four Cs of Diamond Engagement Rings

Finding that perfect wedding band or engagement ring is a magical moment. They are pieces of jewelry that stay forever and will be the very start of your family history. That’s a big deal! 

When it comes time to shop for engagement rings and wedding bands, there are a few important details to understand before shopping. They are known as the four Cs of diamond engagement rings. These small details drastically impact the stone’s beauty, worth, sparkle, and more. 

Blue Nile Jewelry is celebrating its anniversary and sharing the importance of education of the four Cs. Together, we’ve broken down each element and what couples should look for when it comes time to shop for that special band.


The cut of a diamond is extremely important. A person could have the highest quality diamond in the world, but if the cut is not done well, the outcome can be a lifeless and dull ring. Especially when investing in the perfect diamond, you want it to sparkle and shine! Don’t underestimate the importance of the cut. 

Blue Nile uses a cut grading scale that ranges from poor/fair to their Astor by Blue Nile collection. The higher quality of the cut, the more the diamond can gather and reflect light. The highest quality diamonds are rare and expensive, as only 15 of every 10,000 diamonds meet the quality criteria

When shopping for rings and discussing the cut, there are three characteristics to look out for: 

Brilliance relates to the reflection of white light

Fire is the dispersion of light into the colors of the rainbow

Scintillation is the play of contrast between dark and light areas—it’s the sparkle


The diamond color grade scale ranges from L-Z to D color, with D being absolutely colorless. Diamonds that are lower on the color spectrum pair well with yellow gold bands. The same applies to colorless diamonds, with platinum or white gold making them look even icier. 

It’s important to remember that the bigger the carat, the more apparent the color of the diamond becomes. Specific diamond shapes hide color better, which can end up costing up to 25% less than a round diamond. 

Fun fact: Colored diamonds exist! And they are more valuable and rare than colorless diamonds. Only 1 in 10,000 diamonds possess a natural color, including red, orange, yellow, purple, blue, and green. The richer the color, the more valuable the diamond! 


Clarity is important in diamond engagement rings, but it’s important to remember real diamonds have character! Natural imperfections can be a sign of higher-quality diamonds. Many engagement ring retailers promote ‘high clarity grade’ diamonds when in reality, the clarity of the diamond rarely impacts the sparkle or shine. 

In total, there are 11 grades of diamond clarity. 12 and 13 diamonds have the lowest clarity, with blemishes sometimes available to the naked eye. At high-quality retailers like Blue Nile, many do not carry 12 or 13 diamonds. VS1 or VS2 diamonds are in the middle of the chart. Typically, these diamonds have minor inclusions that can only be seen under 10x magnification. This is the most popular diamond clarity, with nearly 43% of customers buying VS diamonds at Blue Nile. 

The highest quality diamond is the FL (flawless) diamond. No blemishes or inclusions can be seen on this diamond, even under magnification. FL Diamonds are rare and expensive because very few diamonds are 100% free of flaws. 


This is the C that most pay attention to! The number of carats in a diamond drastically impacts its value. Contrary to popular belief, carat refers to the weight of the diamond and is unrelated to the size. When shopping for engagement rings, there are a few key things to note when looking at the price and carat of a ring. 

  1. Round diamonds are more expensive. If looking to increase carats but not overwhelm a set budget, shaped rings tend to cost less than a round carat diamond. Many couples buy a smaller carat diamond and set the stone in a halo setting, making the diamond appear more prominent. 
  2. Ring size matters.  A big carat that looks small on a size 8 finger might look too big on someone with tiny fingers. That’s why heading to a jeweler to try different carats can help visualize what size is ideal! 

Money saving tip: Buy slightly below half and whole carats to save considerably on the ring. For example, a 1.9-carat diamond will look nearly the same as a 2-carat diamond, and no one will know the difference! 

Now that the education piece is complete, it’s time to start shopping! Blue Nile is running an exclusive sale for Rocky Mountain Bride readers. Get $100 off orders of $1000 or more with the code ‘ROCKY2022.’ 

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