The 5 C’s to Consider When Buying Wedding Rings

Picking out wedding rings may seem as easy as going to a jeweler and trying out a few choices to find what you like.  And indeed it can be.  However, there are a few things you should keep in mind before making your choice.  Jeweler’s throw around a lot of words like carat, cut, color and so many more.  It is best to know the lingo, and your options, before you even step foot into the shop.

Jeweler’s will commonly refer to the 5 C’s.  They are cut, color, clarity, certification and carat. Some jeweler’s may refer to the unofficial 6th C, conflict diamonds, this refers to “blood diamonds” which refers to diamonds illegally attained and sold to fund political and military agendas, mostly in Africa.


Cut refers to angles that a cutter extracts when taking a rough unpolished stone and transforming it to the one you see on your ring.  The better the cut the more light will be reflected.  A great diamond cutter can make any sized diamond sparkle.  Ask your jeweler about the rating scale and where your ring rates.


This scale measures how little color a stone has.  Generally the whiter a diamond the higher quality. Diamond rated D is pretty much colorless, J means the color is slightly detectable to the human eye.  Ratings can go all the way to Z where the diamond is colored, usually yellow.  A diamond’s worth is higher the less the color usually.  The exception is rare colored, called fancies.  True yellow, blue, pink and the rares, red, stones are rare and can be more expensive then a colorless stone.  Colored stones are a trend in Hollywood but aren’t in everyone’s budget or tastes.


When diamonds are formed they include natural feathering cracks and imperfections in the stones.  A flawless diamond with none of these is rare and therefore worth the most.  The lower the imperfection rating the more valued the stone.


These are generated by independent gem labs.  They analyze the dimensions flaws and such of every diamond.  They do not indicate value but rather the raw facts about the stones. Certification takes 2-4 weeks and can cost 75 dollars or more.  Check with your insurance company to see if they require it.


Carat refers to weight, not size like many people tend to think.  The more weight of a single stone the higher the value.  A ring with one carat in diamonds divided between three stones will be worth less than a one carat ring with only one stone.

Of course diamonds aren’t your only choice.  There are many rings with rubies, emeralds, sapphires and other stones that can offer a ring that is uniquely you.

Traditionally the settings of wedding rings are white or yellow gold.  Today many metals are offered as settings and you want to make sure you know what you are getting.  Palladium, platinum, sterling silver and titanium are all commonly offered, along with mixes of these.

There are many shapes of stone.  Go with what looks good on your hands and what makes you happy.  Round and princess cut are two of the most common but your jeweler can advise you on other shapes that are available.  Similarly there are many setting types.  There are a few ways for a single stone to be mounted and various arrangements for multiple stones.  Having an idea of what you are looking for before you shop helps your jeweler assist you better, but make sure you feel comfortable asking about the different options.

For budgeting tips when buying your wedding rings, check back for our Friday blog, How to Stay within a Budget when Ring Shopping.