Diamond wedding rings are no longer just for women. Many grooms today choose to purchase a man's diamond wedding ring to match the bride's. Still others enjoy the social status that comes with wearing a diamond wedding band. Purchasing a diamond wedding ring means that the groom must consider not only the material and design of the ring, but also the quality of the diamonds.
Although often not considered to be as important as the diamonds in the bride's engagement and wedding rings, the groom's diamonds should also be purchased with care. The man should take the same "4 Cs" into consideration: carat weight, clarity, color, and cut.
A carat is exactly 200 milligrams, but very few men's bands will sport a diamond of this size. Most bands will instead have several smaller diamonds that may of may not equal one full carat. A full carat is also equal to 100 points, so a jeweler may refer to a ring as having several 10 point diamonds (each of which would be equal to one tenth of a carat).
While the clarity of a diamond is often considered the least important of the 4 Cs, it is still a key consideration in your diamond purchase. The clarity of a diamond measures the number and extent of the flaws in the diamond. For the most part, a more valuable diamond will have fewer flaws. It is extremely rare that you will find a completely flawless diamond; only a couple hundred "FL" diamonds are produced a year. Although there are several grading systems used to determine a diamond's clarity, the Gemological Institute of America's (GIA) score is by far the most popular. It ranks diamonds as Flawless (FL), Internally Flawless (IF), Very Very Slightly Included (VVS), Very Slightly Included (VS), Slightly Included (SI), and Included (I). (Note: “inclusions” are slight specks, cracks, or other flaws in a diamond). These ranks are not subjective; the scale has extremely specific criteria that are used to differentiate between the grades.
The color of the stone, referring to how yellow the stone is, can also be graded on a GIA scale. An ideal diamond is completely colorless, being ranked as a D. The alphabetical scale ranks nearly colorless stones as I and J , increasingly yellow beginning with M/N, and a Z is a completely yellow stone. The average color for engagement diamonds in the United States is G to H.
The cut of a diamond is possibly the most confusing of the "4 Cs," since it can refer to the cutting style, the shape of the stone (round, square, heart-shaped, etc), its proportions, or the workmanship and the diamond-cutting process. The brilliant round cut is the most common cut for diamond engagement rings and wedding bands.