How to Choose a Diamond
Diamonds are the traditional choice for engagement rings and for those looking for timeless, elegant and truly beautiful jewellery. When it comes to selecting diamond jewellery, there are five key parameters to consider when looking for the perfect stone. This includes shape of the diamond and the 4 C’s – cut, clarity, colour and carat weight.
Diamond cut styles can vary significantly, and the unique characteristics determine quality for each kind of shape. Prices also vary based on supply and demand. Some of the shapes diamonds come in include:
Round cut diamonds are the most popular due to their incredible brilliance, fire, and light performance. Princess cut diamonds are the second most popular, featuring an elegant geometric shape.
Of the 4 C’s, the cut is the most important as it has the greatest influence on the diamond’s sparkle. Without a high cut grade, even a diamond of high quality can appear dull and lifeless. The most popular type of cut is brilliant cut. With round brilliant diamonds, the cut is easy to assess because it is formally graded by independent diamond laboratories. For other diamond shapes, the cut is more subjective.
The second most important characteristic of a diamond is the colour. Diamonds occur in a variety of colours including white, blue, yellow, orange, red, green, pink, purple, brown, and black. Colouring is caused by interstitial impurities or structural defects. Pure diamonds are perfectly transparent and colourless. Therefore, the highest quality and most expensive diamonds are colourless.
Diamonds are naturally occurring stones, meaning they can often have imperfections. Surface flaws are called blemishes and internal ones are called inclusions. Most of the time, these imperfections are microscopic and thereby invisible to the naked eye. For this reason, it’s not as important as the other C’s.
Clarity comes with a rating system that starts from heavily included to included, slightly included, very slightly included, very very slightly included, internally flawless up to flawless. Inclusions are not visible on flawless diamonds under 10x magnification. Less than one per cent of diamonds are flawless.
Carat refers to the weight of a diamond, not the size as is widely thought. When looking at diamond carat sizes, it’s essential to consider the diamond’s cut in addition to the carat as the type of cut can influence how big the diamond looks. A poor cut grade may make the diamond look smaller as it is often cut deeper.