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If your fiancé did not surprise you with an engagement ring when he proposed, you can enjoy the fun of choosing one together. Although some couples choose from the vast array of precious stones available, the diamond remains the most desirable. A diamond's unmatched brilliance, hardness, and rarity are what make it so precious. Making a wise diamond selection requires a certain amount of knowledge both on your part and a reputable jeweler. Contrary to first impressions, diamond value is not determined by size alone. The most important things you should know about diamonds are the five Cs: Cut, Clarity, Color, Carat, and Certification.

Cut refers to shape and the skill and precision through which a diamond is transformed into a brilliant faceted gemstone. The most popular cuts are: brilliant, oval, marquise, pear-shape, emerald. Clarity refers to the absence of serious flaws or blemishes in the stone when viewed through ten times magnification. Color refers to body color, not the surface that reflects light. Diamonds come in a variety of shades. Your jeweler can advise you on this. Carat refers to total weight of the stone. A carat is divided into 100 points. Remember that cut, clarity, color and carat combined determine the overall quality. Certification refers to a process developed by the International Gemological Institute that provides unquestioned proof of your diamond's identity. For further information, consult your jeweler.