How to Pick the Perfect Diamond

Buying a diamond this holiday season? Do you know what you're looking for?

If you don't, jewelry expert Carol Brodie, of HSN's Rarities Fine Jewelry, has got you covered. In "The Early Show" series, "Early Holiday Unwrapped," Brodie, known as the "Queen of Diamonds," gave advice on what to look for when you're shopping for shine.

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There are four C's when shopping for a diamond, Brodie said.

The Four C's of Buying a Diamond:

CUT - When we talk about cut, we mean shape which effects that amount of sparkle, a round or princess cut has more sparkle and brilliance than the subdued and elegant emerald cut.

COLOR - When it comes to white diamonds, means no color at all. I think it is better to have a colorless diamond (D, E, F, G or H) than a big diamond.

CLARITY - Means that you should not be able to see any of nature's fingerprints (which appear as fine black marks with your naked eye.)

CARAT WEIGHT - The measurement for size and a good quality one carat diamond sells for approximately $7,000.00.

But does size really matter when buying a diamond?

This is the only time in your life when smaller may actually be better, Brodie said.

"Sometimes you see women wearing three-carat rings that look almost yellow," she said. "People know that is not a great quality gem, unless it's a really fancy ring. Buy the best color and clarity that you can afford. Bigger is not necessarily better."

Brodie added another "C" to remember is Confidence.

"In order to be truly confident about your purchase, make sure that you buy from a reputable jeweler who must supply you with a GIA certificate (a birth certificate for your diamond) and a written return policy that allows you at least 15 days to return your diamond for a refund," she said. "Check with the Better Business Bureau, and do a quick on-line search to make sure your jeweler is reputable."

However, if you're on a budget this holiday season, you can get the elegance and luxury of a diamond for less with other precious gems.

"Many couples who can't afford the diamond ring of their dreams, should not wait," she said. "There are amazingly beautiful rings -- all with natural gemstones -- that you can buy for under $750.00 that will make gorgeous engagement rings."

Brodie recommended pieces from her collection, Rarities Fine Jewelry.

"Since the most expensive diamonds in the world are green, red, blue, pink and purple, I have created rings using aquamarine, amethyst, white quartz, peridot, and other gems," she said. "These rings start at $189.00, and are all precious. Buy real. Nothing fake can be as precious as a natural gem."

As for this year's jewelry trends, Brodie said stackable bangles and big cuffs are all the rage.

"You can use your existing bracelets and add a set of three stacking bracelets to create a modern layered look," she said. "Cuffs say Wonder Wwoman. Wear one on each wrist."

She added tattoo bracelets and flat rings are also staking a claim in the jewelry fashion world this year.