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Diamonds: Jewelry, Diamond Engagement Rings, Quality

DiamondA diamond is a big investment–and if you're looking to buy one, you'll need to know as much as you can about diamonds to ensure you're getting the best deal. Here you'll find out everything you need to know about diamonds, including:

History of diamonds. Diamonds weren't always the world's most valuable jewels. Because they are the hardest materials found in nature, it wasn't easy to learn to bring out their natural beauty. Cutting technology didn't begin to evolve until the 13th century. Before that, diamonds were often used as protective talismans and medicines. To learn more about the history of diamonds, where they come from, and how they were valued and used throughout the centuries, read our History of Diamonds.

Quality of diamonds. Bigger isn't always better. A diamond's value is determined by the four C's: Color, Clarity, Carat, and Cut. Learn more about each of these categories, how they interact to affect a diamond's value, and how to balance them to find a great deal on a diamond that looks like a million dollars, by reading our article on Diamond Quality.

Color. A colorless diamond is very rare and valuable–most diamonds are tinted to some degree with yellow or brown. The more yellow there is in a diamond, the less valuable it is–unless the yellow color is intense and striking. Canary diamonds are very valuable–as are pink, red, blue, green, and other rare, fancy shades. To learn more about how diamond color is rated and what causes certain colors, read our Color article.

Clarity. Most natural diamonds have flaws. The fewer flaws, the more valuable the diamond–and a flawless one is extremely rare and costly. However, because synthetic diamonds can be made without flaws, some blemishes and inclusions are not necessarily bad–they prove your diamond is natural. Read on to learn more about types of flaws commonly found in diamonds and how diamonds are rated for Clarity.

Carat. A measure of the size of a diamond. One carat is one-fifth of a gram, and diamonds under a carat in weight are graded with a point system: a half-carat diamond, for example, is .50 of a carat–and thus a "50-point" diamond. To learn more about Carat read our article.

Cut. Many jewelers will say this is the most important of the four C's. The way a diamond is cut has a great affect on its brilliance, fire, and overall beauty. Even a perfectly clear, colorless diamond can look dull and lifeless with a bad cut. Read our article to learn more about Cut.

Diamond shapes. Round brilliants, modified brilliants, step cuts, rose cuts...the choices are endless. Learn about both rare and common types of diamond shapes such as rounds, princess cuts, emerald, rose and heart shapes, etc., with info on which are the most valuable, and the different qualities they highlight best in a diamond by reading our article on Diamond Shapes.

Diamond jewelry. Diamonds aren't just for engagement rings. Diamond earrings, pendants, necklaces, and bracelets are all excellent gifts for a spouse, girlfriend, mother, or any important woman in your life. Read our Diamond Jewelry article to learn more about the different types of diamond jewelry.

Tips for buying an engagement ring. If you want to surprise your girlfriend with a proposal, you'd better find the right ring first. Read our tips for buying Diamond Engagement Rings for some advice on how to choose the right ring–including which styles suit which lifestyles; which shapes are best for different tastes; and strategies for finding out her ideal engagement ring without letting her know what you're up to.

The more you know about diamonds, the better prepared you'll be to buy the right one. The tips here will help you find the diamond that suits your needs, your budget, and your taste.

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