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How to Select a Diamond

Since 1899, Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers has been the place to go for diamond engagement rings!
As a small family Milwaukee-based business, with a fourth-generation owner, you can trust that our team is here for you every step of the way.

When shopping for a diamond engagement ring, you should:

  • Work with a reputable jeweler, like Schwanke-Kasten, who carry GIA certified diamonds
  • Know your budget. This typically depends on what your partner's expectations are, as well as what you are comfortable about spending.
  • Be familiar with the Four Cs when selecting your diamond. Established by the DeBeers Diamond Group, the 4 Cs are standardized parameters used to compare the characteristics of GIA certified diamonds. Specifically they are:

Cut - Clarity - Color - Carat Weight

The CUT of a diamond has two aspects. One is the actual shape of the stone – round, princess, oval, square, marquise, pear, emerald, cushion, etc. More importantly, the cut refers to the angle and dimension used to create brilliance, fire and scintillation of a diamond as explained below:

The CLARITY scale measures a diamond’s purity or how free it is from tiny blemishes and inclusions. Blemishes are found on the surface like scratches and nicks. Inclusions are naturally occurring features that are in the diamond itself. They may appear as tiny fissures or feathers, crystals or other minerals. While a flawless diamond may be hard to find, it's important to note that diamonds with small inclusions will not affect the beauty or the brilliance. Diamonds equal in weight, color and cut will vary greatly in price depending on their clarity features. At Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers, the diamonds we use are VS2 or better.

The COLOR of a diamond actually refers to it's whiteness and is graded on a scale from D to Z, exceptionally white to tinted color as shown in the scale below. At Schwanke-Kasten, the accent diamonds in most engagement ring mountings are F-H in color, however we can find whatever color diamond you want and design it accordingly.

The CARAT weight is just that; how much it weighs. A diamond with a different cut can have the same weight, but can also appear different in size. One carat (1 ct) equals 0.20 grams and is divided into 100 points. So a half carat - 0.50 ct - diamond can be described as a 50 point diamond. It's important to remember that a diamond is not valued by carat weight alone and two diamonds of equal carat weight can have very different values depending on cut, clarity and color.

When purchasing a loose diamond for a mounting, you should:

  • Carefully place the diamond on the top of your hand and compare it with a similar diamond mounted in jewelry.
  • Hold it up to the light and look at the way the light dances around – it should throw out a rainbow of colors and display the diamond’s natural brilliance.
  • Look at diamonds of different clarity, shapes and sizes to find the one that is perfect for you. Remember, in some diamonds, the internal features may be hidden by the mounting and will not detract from a diamond’s overall beauty.

At Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers every center stone diamond selected is:

  • Certified by GIA® (Gemology Institute of America), the world's most recognized diamond grading laboratory created by DeBeers;
  • Exquisitely cut and individually checked so it can be perfectly mounted into your chosen setting;
  • Ethically sourced and compliant with the industry's most rigorous standards of social responsibility.
  • Additionally, any accent diamonds used in our ring mountings will be F-H in color and VS2 in clarity, or better.
We invite you to peruse our online engagement selection for ring ideas, but also encourage you to stop by one of our Milwaukee stores to see our complete collection as this information does not replace the trained human eye. The magic ingredient of a truly stunning piece of jewelry is always seeing it in person. We hope you will consider Schwanke-Kasten for all your future jewelry purchases. For more information on diamonds, wedding bands, proposing, and all things engagement, follow our blog.