Whether you’re looking at popping the question, purchasing a pair of earrings for a momentous occasion, or even treating yourself to a tennis bracelet, the thought of buying diamonds can be an overwhelming, and dare we say intimidating prospect. But with our easy to follow guide, you’ll be able to discern a diamonds clarity, understand its cut, decide on its colour, and weigh up its carats.
There really are only four C’s when it comes to knowing your diamonds from your cubic zirconia: Cut, Colour, Clarity, and Carat.
All four C’s will impact not only the look, but the value of the diamond too. The best bit? Like snowflakes, not two diamonds are the same – guaranteeing every diamond purchase to be a unique gift.
The cut of a diamond refers to the geometric proportions and affects its sparkle and brilliance. The cut will impact the ability of the diamond to reflect light, and it’s often as much about science as it is about craftsmanship.
The ‘ideal diamond cut’ refers to the cut in which a diamond can exhibit maximum brilliance and shine. When a diamond’s depth is too high relative to the stone’s width it is said to be ‘deep cut’. Deep cut diamonds tend to look dull. In the same vain, a diamond can be ‘shallow’. This is where stones are often cut this way to make them look larger, however, in doing so, this too diminishes their lustre.
Ranging from D (colourless) to Z (light yellow), a diamond’s value is scored by how closely it approaches ‘colourless’ – the less colour, the higher the value. A colourless diamond will reflect and refract light. It’s worth bearing in mind that the tone of a ring’s setting can affect the appearance of diamond colour. Your budget will have a bearing on the diamond grading you choose.
If you’re buying a diamond under 1 carat, you might consider choosing an I, J, or K colour diamond. If you’re thinking of going over 1 carat, an H grade or higher is recommended.
There are 11 grades of clarity, ranging from IF (internally flawless) to I3 (included grade 3), and they assess the small imperfections on the surface of the stone. In most cases, a diamond’s beauty is not affected by these, as most can’t be seen by the naked eye.
Remember, all diamonds are unique – not perfect. And natural blemishes are inevitable. Again, depending on your budget it will impact the clarity. Most people look at diamonds that are Slightly Included (SI) and Very Slightly Included (VS) grades.
The physical weight of a diamond is measured in carats. 1 carat is equal to 0.2 grams. Diamonds of a greater carat weight are far more valuable that diamonds of a lower carat weight. The carat of a diamond has the biggest effect on price – with the 76.02 carat diamond The Archduke Joseph setting a new record for the most expensive colourless diamond per carat ever sold at auction.
When choosing your diamonds, it’s important you identify what you want to focus on, and compromise on the other C’s.