How to Choose the Right Diamond

One of the most daunting tasks for a client who’s looking at purchasing an engagement ring is how to choose the right diamond.

With so many different options out there it can be very overwhelming and you may not know where to start. My advice is to educate yourself on the characteristics of a diamond so you can be equipped to decide on what works best based on your needs and budget. Knowledge is power and once you build that foundation of knowledge, choosing the right diamond for you will become a much easier process.

I’m sure you’ve heard about the 4 C’s of diamonds, but do you really know what they’re all about?

Let’s start with the diamond Cut. It’s considered to be the most important characteristic of a diamond. Cut determines a diamond’s brilliance – it’s how your diamond plays with light. A diamond’s cut grade is an objective measure of its light performance, or brilliance. When cut with the proper proportions and symmetrical facets, diamonds will reflect more light and give off maximum brilliance.   A well-cut diamond will always appear beautiful. Diamonds with the highest cut grades require substantial time and skill to produce, and therefore cost more than a poorly cut stone. When a diamond is cut with the highest quality cut grade, more of the rough diamond (i.e. carat weight) is lost. Cut is so important to a diamond’s beauty that up to 75% of the diamond’s carat weight can be lost in order to achieve a high quality cut.

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Let’s now shift our focus to the diamond Colour. After cut, colour is considered the second most important diamond characteristic. The human eye detects a diamond’s brilliance first, and its colour second. When it comes to diamonds, less colour means higher quality. A colourless diamond is one that’s graded between D-F. A near colourless diamond is one that’s graded between G-J. More often than not, you can find excellent value in a near colourless diamond as the prices will be lower, but the diamond will still maintain the nice white colour. Diamonds graded K and lower in colour will look more yellow and even brown the lower you go in the colour scale.

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Clarity is the next most important characteristic of a diamond. Clarity, which is graded on a scale from flawless (FL) to heavily included (I3), refers to the tiny, natural inclusions that occur in all but the finest diamonds. Many of these inclusions are microscopic, and do not affect a diamond’s beauty in any visible way.

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Diamonds with the least and smallest inclusions receive the highest clarity grades. Diamonds that are graded SI1 or better have inclusions that are not visible to the naked eye, they can only be seen under magnification. It may be in your best interest to choose a diamond with a lower clarity grade in order to save money and let you prioritize one of the other 4Cs, like cut or colour.

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The final characteristic is the diamond Carat, or physical weight of a diamond. Size matters, but bigger is not always better. To understand the true size of your diamond, take the following characteristics into consideration; diamond measurements and diamond cut grade. A quality cut diamond will appear larger than a poorly cut diamond of equal carat weight, because it will reflect more light and appear more brilliant. Skimping on cut for a larger carat can result in a larger stone that lacks brilliance. When deciding on carat size, balance your ideal carat weight with the quality of cut.

Now that you have more knowledge about the 4 C’s of diamonds, how can you use this information to help you choose the right diamond? My recommendation to all my clients is to first figure out a budget. How much do you want to spend on the diamond or how much can you afford to spend? Next, what shape of diamond would you prefer (ie. round brilliant, princess cut, oval, cushion cut etc)? Finally, what is your ideal size (carat) or size range for the diamond? Once we have all of this information, we can sit down and figure out what’s most important to the client in terms of the diamond characteristics. I always advise my clients to spend their money on those characteristics that are visible to the naked eye. More specifically, cut and colour. As stated above, the cut determines the brilliance of the diamond and the eye can easily detect any colour in the diamond. What’s not as important is the clarity (ie. VVS1, VS2, SI1 etc).   Anything SI1 or better means that you won’t be able to see any inclusions with the naked eye. Who’s going to be looking at her engagement ring under magnification other than a jeweller? Don’t you want that ring to sparkle and stand out when she’s showing it off to all her friends? To get the biggest bang for the buck, focus on the cut and colour of the diamond when pricing out your options and give up a bit in clarity. Trust me, you’ll be very happy you did so when her ring stands out from the crowd!

Are you ready to look for that perfect diamond? If so, contact us and we’ll be more than happy to help you through the process. We have relationships with diamond suppliers all over the world and I can guarantee that our prices our unbeatable. Plus, you can be rest assured that you’re dealing with someone who’s honest and will only have your best interest at heart. Let me help make life easier for you in the search for your diamond and, ultimately, that engagement ring that will knock her socks off!