The Basics of Diamonds

 

Shopping for a diamond can be confusing. So how do you differentiate between each one? Well first, every diamond is a miracle of time and place and chance. Like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike. When buying a diamond, the 4c’s directly correlate to the price. There is colour, clarity, cut, and carat. The first thing to determine is what carat or size of diamond you like. In a perfect world, we would then like perfect cut, clarity and colour, however affordablity becomes a key factor. We recommend to value cut highest, then colour, and then clarity. When possible, always aim for an excellent cut diamond in the colourless category (D, E, F). This will give you the most value for your money!

Cut

Diamonds are renowned for their ability to transmit light and sparkle so intensely. We often think of a diamond’s cut as shape (round, heart/oval/marquise, pear), but a diamond’s cut grade is really about how well a diamond’s facets interact with light. Precise artistry and workmanship are required to fashion a stone so its proportions, symmetry, and polish deliver the magnificent return of light only possible in a diamond. Cut grades range from Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor. An excellent cut grading will have the best light performance.

Our advice: It is very hard to see the difference between an Excellent and a Very Good cut diamond as the direction of light is the same in both cut gradings. We therefore recommend you try to stick with an Excellent or Very Good cut. If needed to fit the budget, a Good cut can offer an excellent-value alternative without any major compromises.

 

diamond-cutColour

The diamond color evaluation is based on the absence of color. A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue, like a drop of pure water, and consequently, a higher value. D-to-Z diamond color-grading system measures the degree of colorlessness by comparing a stone under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions.

Our advice: H graded diamonds are often on the border between premium colourless and tinted diamonds, and therefore offer great value without any visible yellow tint. I and J colours will generally face up white from the top, but you will be able to detect slight yellow tints when viewed from multiple angles.

diamond colour chart

 

Clarity

Natural diamonds are the result of carbon exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep in the earth. This process can result in a variety of internal characteristics called inclusions. Evaluating diamond clarity involves determining the number, size, relief, nature, and position of these characteristics, as well as how these affect the overall appearance of the stone. While no diamond is perfectly pure, the closer it comes, the higher its value.

Our advice: Although SI1 and SI2 are in general not eye clean, the impurities may be light in colour or scattered and so in up to 20% of cases, SI1 graded diamonds may appear to be eye clean. That number falls to just 5% for SI2s.

diamond clarity

Carat Weight

Instead of grams or kilos, diamonds are weighed in carats (not to be confused with gold’s Karat which signifies purity). This simply denotes a measuring scale where each 1 carat = 0.2 grams (0.50 carat = 0.1 gram and 5 carats = 1 gram). As the carat weight increases, so does the size of a diamond. However, this relationship is not a linear but rather a curve – so a 2.0ct diamond will not appear twice as big as a 1.0ct diamond.

Our advice: Certain diamond sizes are highly sought after (e.g. 0.50ct, 0.75ct, 1.0ct) and prices can vary dramatically depending on the carat weight. A 0.90ct diamond can be 10-20% better value than a 1.0ct diamond of the same quality but can appear almost identical in size but very different in price.

Diamonds are a significant purchase, we can help you find the right diamond in your price range. Visit us in store and our knowledgeable staff will be glad to help. And, remember Luxe Jewellery beats any market price.