Buying a diamond is a special moment; a real investment that you know will be treasured forever. Whether the diamond is for an engagement ring or special occasion, choosing the diamond type is a momentous decision.
Factors to be considered when selecting a diamond include its shape, size, cut, colour, clarity and weight. And you should remember who it is for – diamonds are an intensely personal purchase so think about the qualities that will particularly appeal to the individual.
Shape and size
When it comes to diamonds, size isn’t everything – quality matters more. So it’s a good idea to choose a smaller, higher quality diamond that a bigger, poorer quality diamond as not only will it be more appealing to look at but it will hold its value better too.
There are many different diamond shapes to consider, including round brilliant, emerald, princess, marquise, cushion, oval and heart. Among the most popular shapes for engagement rings are round brilliant diamonds, which feature 58 surfaces and was originally designed by mathematicians who worked out how to maximize a diamond’s surface for optimum light reflection. Princess cut, a square shape, is also popular. Choosing the shape is personal and you may have a certain design in mind to begin with.
Cut, colour, clarity and carat
The 4Cs are aspects that determine how beautiful and sparkly the diamond is as well as how well it captures the light and bedazzles the viewer. The cut, colour, clarity and carat decide how the diamond looks, how it feels and what it’s worth.
Cut – this is about the brilliance of the diamond and how well the diamond is able to reflect the light. The wrong cut means the diamond won’t sparkle, whereas the more fine cuts it has the more reflective of light it is. Cuts are rated according to their quality, from Ideal which means the diamond delivers immense levels of light reflection, to Poor which means the diamond will fail to reflect light because its cut is too shallow or too deep.
Colour – what you’re probably looking for here is a lack of colour as colourless diamonds are more valuable. Colours range from a Z grade which is yellow to a D grade which is totally clear and colourless. The more colourless a diamond, the bigger its impact on onlookers – although yellow diamonds can be incorporated into jewellery designs to look stunning.
Clarity – this refers to the imperfections within the diamond, and the higher the clarity the fewer visible flaws it has and the more it will sparkle. Inclusions or imperfections make diamonds dull. Clarity is rated from IF, internally flawless, to I3 which means there are visible flaws.
Carat – this is the weight of the diamond and is the biggest influence on price. Popular diamond sizes are half carat (0.5ct), three-quarter carat (0.75ct), one carat (1ct) and two carat (2ct). You can often save money on the purchase by choosing a diamond that is just below one of these sizes, but it’s advisable to still go for a quality cut, colour and clarity to ensure the diamond looks beautiful and holds its value.