Love's been in the air for a while. But something's coming. You can feel it. And everything seems to be leading up to that moment you've been waiting for: the proposal! And as magical as that moment will be, it will be even better if the ring is right. And I don't mean if it's pretty or not. I'm talking about what the Geological Institute of America (GIA) instituted as the Three Cs: Color, Clarity, and Carat. It wasn't until 2005 that the GIA began to include Cut as the fourth C. Note too, that the GIA only includes Cut on round diamonds. Here are the basic Four Cs in selecting a diamond of superior quality: Cut. Not to be confused with the shape of a diamond, the cut pertains the the workmanship and strict adherence to scientific ratios of symmetry, proportion, and polish. What you should be looking for is a diamond that is neither too shallow, nor too deep. Color. Forgetting about the extremely rare pastel diamonds that rest on the fingers of royalty and celebrities, diamonds are rated from colorless, which is the most valuable to yellow, which is the least valued. Note, canary diamonds are not considered yellow. The 14-point alpha-scale rates D as high and M as low. Clarity. Since most (if not all) diamonds inherently possess imperfections, the GIA introduced its 11-point clarity scale. Ranging from flawless (FL) to inclusion (I3). You want to avoid diamonds that are below VS1 and VS2, which means that diamonds below these have visible inclusions and therefore, can be seen without 10x magnification. Carat. Diamonds are sold by weight. Carat weight (ct), to be precise. So don't assume that it has anything to do with the actual size of the diamond because it doesn't. However, because most rough diamonds mined are not large enough to produce 1 ct diamonds, the rarity of producing larger cut diamonds, which weigh more, will increase the price significantly. Also, carat is not the same as karat, which the latter refers to the purity of gold. Bottom line, you should look for: Cut that is Excellent to Very Good for round diamonds and Excellent to Good for fancy shaped stones such as a heart, marquise, and emerald. Color that is rated G-J for 1ct diamonds. Higher than 1ct should be color-coded G-H. Lower than 1ct should be color-coded I-J. Clarity that is rated VS1 or VS2. More diamonds are purchased in this range than any other. Carat that is (slightly) smaller than popular weights because the cost savings is generous since whole or half carat stones command huge sums. Diamond experts advise that diamond selection should defer to Cut and not Color since even the best color will look inferior on a poorly cut diamond versus an excellent cut diamond. While this is merely an introduction to the Four Cs, always partner with a professional on appropriate diamond selection. If the rings are marketed in terms that are not in sync with the GIA, then you can almost guarantee that the diamonds are inferior and should not be trusted.