When buying a diamond it is important to do your research before making that commitment (in more ways than one)! To make your journey enjoyable and hassle free Showcase Jewellers would like to offer free, friendly consultations to assist you in the decision making process. At the same time we strongly encourage consumers to do their own research and gain an understanding on what it is they are after. We have prepared this guide to shed some light on an area which often leaves couples confused and unsure what they want in their engagement ring. We hope you find it useful in guiding you to your perfect gem!
To determine a diamond’s quality and worth you begin with the 4 Cs: Cut, Clarity, Colour and Carat weight. These are the traditional units of measure when looking at this precious stone, however, you must add one more imperative ‘C’ to the list and that is Confidence!
The 4 Cs
A diamonds cut is undeniably the most important of the 4 Cs. Even with close to perfect colour, size and clarity if a diamond’s cut is not in correct proportions all other characteristics will not be as highly valued. The way in which a diamond is cut will determine how the diamond reflects light and hence determine its brilliance or sparkle. A poorly cut diamond will appear lifeless and dull.
Diamonds reflect their light from one facet to the other. If the cut of the diamond is too deep then light will escape through the opposite side of the pavilion. On the other hand if the cut is too shallow then light will escape through the pavilion before it can be reflected.
The other consideration that requires some thought is the shape of the diamond’s cut. This will come down to personal taste, but be sure that the diamond has a good to excellent cut. A reputable diamond laboratory can examine the properties of a diamond, although once a diamond has been placed into a setting then this is no longer possible.
People often confuse ‘cut’ with a diamond’s shape and the two refer to different aspects of the stone. Cut relates to how the rough diamond has been cut to maximise diamond weight among other qualities whereas shape relates to the physical appearance of the diamond. Some of the more common shapes you will come across include:
This relates to the marks of non-crystallised carbon called ‘inclusions’ found within the diamond.
Inclusions vary from flawless (FL) to imperfect (I3) with a number of grades in between the two extremes. Flawless diamonds are exceedingly rare and are best suited to diamonds that have a colourless grade (typically D-F range). A clarity grade of I3 which means that the diamond has inclusions which may be visible to the naked eye are best suited to lower colour grades as the inclusions won’t be as evident.
The clarity grade is determined by several factors including:
- The size of inclusions.
- How many inclusions.
- The positioning of the inclusions - inclusions found under the table affects clarity grade more so than inclusions found under the side facets.
- The visibility of the inclusions – the more visible the inclusions to the naked eye the less favourable the grade will be.
The most desirable diamonds are those that have the least amount of colour. Quite often however diamonds will have a tint of yellow or brown. Generally, diamond colour can be divided into four categories.
Of the 4 Cs colour can be the most confusing to understand. It’s not until you get to the I-J range and onwards that you start noticing hints of colour and even so it depends on how you are viewing the diamond. When viewed face up the diamond will appear perfectly white however when viewed face down against a completely white background you will be able to detect the colour much more easily. Near colourless diamonds are more common and offer great value for money.
The price difference between the various colour grades can be significant so to help you make the right choice you should really find out which of the diamond characteristics (4 Cs) are most valued by your partner.
Of course diamonds come in a range of colours however coloured diamonds (such as pinks, blues and yellows) are typically referred to as ‘fancies’.
A diamonds weight is measured in carats and is the easiest of the 4 Cs to measure. A carat is equal to 100 points or approximately 0.2 grams.
A diamond will increase in weight much faster than it increases in actual face up diameter. An ideal 1.00ct will measure approximately 6.5mm in width, whereas a 2.00ct diamond will measure approximately 8.2mm width. The proportion of weight increase is not proportional to the appearance size increase.
When selecting carat weight consider factors such as:
- Personal preference;
- Finger size;
- Practicality; and
The characteristics of the other diamond elements which will complement the size of the diamond.
If you want to “try” on some diamond rings in the comfort of your own home, download the Showcase Jewellers app from iTunes or Google Play. With the app you can “try on” different ring styles without leaving the couch and also share your favourite designs with loved ones- hint, hint!
Ultimately the diamond you purchase should be chosen based on personal style and budget. If the diamond is being purchased as an engagement ring then try and gain an understanding of what your partner likes and even ask friends or family for advice. Or, if you’re like a growing number of couples, you may find yourselves making the decision jointly.
Your local Showcase Jeweller not only runs the store but also owns the store, so their very livelihood relies on having a reputation for total integrity and honesty.
They are your diamond experts who can explain the 4Cs to you and demonstrate why one diamond costs more than another.
If you find a diamond at a price that seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Your Showcase Jeweller will strive to find the best value diamond that suits your taste and budget.
How much should you spend on a diamond?
That is very much up to you. Some people consider one or two months’ salary a good guide for an engagement ring. The important thing to remember is that unlike a wedding dress, a diamond engagement ring is worn everyday of your life so you would be wise to choose something that will continue to give pleasure year after year, because a diamond really is forever.