The most common rule used in evaluating a diamond is by adopting the “four C’s” rule. This means by carat, color, clarity and cut.
Carat: A carat is the weight of the diamond’s mass measured in milligrams. A diamond’s value increases as the carat amount increases. In the case of earrings, the weight of the diamonds are split in two, giving the total carat weight for both earrings in one carat amount. For example, if you see a pair of 1 carat stud earrings, that means each earring is 1/2 carat.
Color: The color is graded on a scale depending on how much diamond is regarded as colorless. A diamond with a color grade of D to F is deemed colorless. These are very rare and therefore more valuable. You would probably be safe with a G to H grade which still appear colorless when mounted and are less expensive.
Clarity: Clarity is graded on how many flaws, if any, there are to the naked eye. An SI2 (Slightly Imperfect 2) is about as imperfect as you would want to go. There are other grades below that (Imperfect) or I1, I2 and I3 which can still be a good deal, depending on how noticeable the imperfection is.
Cut: A well cut diamond is one that reflects light from inside to the outside again, hence the greater sparkle in high quality cuts . A poor cut will have opaque or dark facets.
A simple guideline when buying for someone else is, if the person is more casual than dramatic then the 3/4 carat earrings are normally seen as suitable for work and play. Of course, for grander occasions and more extravagant gifts, just increase the carat and look for higher grade clarity and cut.
Also, just in case you are concerned about someone losing their diamond earring, higher quality diamond earrings often come with the extra security of having screw-on backs instead of the more common pressure backs.
Find out more about buying diamond earrings at Georgie’s auction-styled Earring Nirvana [http://www.earringnirvana.com]. Georgie Ellington is a regular contributor to the Information Hill websites.