Diamonds are full of sparkle and ‘fire’ and can be found in many different shapes, sizes and colours. Owning a diamond is the ultimate souvenir and this is why a lot of people choose them to be part of one of the biggest moments of their lives……
Diamonds are the epitome of a perfect gift, whether it is for a birthday, Christmas or just to say ‘I love you’. If the right one is purchased it can show your nearest and dearest just how much you care.
Below is a quick handy guide to help when choosing that all important diamond, whether for a gift, or buying one for yourself as a treat, that will be a reminder of that ever so special reason.
When assessing any diamond we always use the 4 C’s. Below is a description of each and what you need to look out for;
The cut of a diamond does not refer to its shape. It actually determines how well a diamond ‘sparkles’ and the way it catches and reflects light.
A diamond is nothing if not cut properly – the better the cut of a diamond the better the sparkle (dispersion).
Days, weeks and months of painstaking work is put into cutting a single diamond to show off it’s best features – A bit like us on a night out!! So you’re looking for a diamond that has a good balance of white light reflecting back to you and fire or dispersion, coming out of the stone. The stone should look lively throughout, and have no dark areas.
The colour of white diamonds is not determined as to how much colour is in a diamond, it is actually the other way – Colour is determined by the amount of colour that is absent from a diamond. The whiter the stone the higher up the scale it climbs.
Colour is graded against the GIA (Gemmological Institute of America) colour grading chart which runs from D – Z.
While most diamonds fall into this chart, nature does occasionally throw a curve ball our way, as diamonds can be found in a variety of colours, from pink and red to blue & green.
The higher up the scale the more value a diamond has. D-F being the most valuable after and S-Z being the least. However, the colour you choose is down to personal preference, some people like the warmth of a diamond with a hint of yellow.
Clarity in a diamond is determined in a similar way as colour. Clarity is graded on how absent or free of inclusions or blemishes the diamond is.
Inclusions are the amount of imperfections and their locations inside of the diamond, the fewer there are the valuable the stone becomes.
Blemishes are the amount of imperfections on the outside of the stone, again the fewer the better.
Again, we use a clarity grading chart to describe these and again this was introduced by the GIA.
There are six different clarity grades, all with sub grades inside of them. Below are the grades and their explanations:
The absolute pinnacle of quality in anything – especially diamonds! This means no inclusions and no blemishes at all inside of outside the stone! Absolute perfection, these are the stones we would all love to own, but unfortunately…..like high clarity and high colour, these come with a very large value.
Internally Flawless (IF)
Completely free of anything inclusions (on the inside of the stone) but may have a slight or tiny imperfection (or Blemish) to the outside of the stone.
Again, also very rare stones!
Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1-VVS2)
This clarity grade, as you can see, is split into two sub grades – 1 and 2. VVS stones have either inclusions or blemishes and sometimes both, but, these imperfections are minute and are extremely or very difficult to find. These would even be hard for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification.
Still of a very high quality!
Very Slightly Included (VS1-VS2)
Again, very slightly included is split into two sub grades 1 and 2 – 1 denoting a higher value than 2. The imperfections in these stone are minor and for a skilled grader can be found under 10x magnification.
These stones still carry a lot of value and are still quite rare!
Slightly Included (SI1-SI2)
Slightly included stones show inclusions and/ or blemishes that can be found easily by a skilled grader when put under 10x magnification. Again split into two sub grades one denotes a higher value than two.
These are more common than the above, but still denote a value, especially when coupled with a desired colour!
Included (I1-I2) or (P1-P2)
Included stones have obviously visible inclusions that can be seen without 10x magnification, and maybe seen by the untrained eye as well as a skilled grader. They may also have inclusions that threaten the structure of a stone.
These stones still denote a value, but not as high as the clarity gradings explained above!
‘Carat’ is a unit of measurement that determines the weight of a diamond. You may see a diamond described as 0.50cts, this is its weight not it’s size. A carat of diamond when converted in to the metric measurement is the equivalent of 0.2grams.
The word Carat takes its name from the carob seed which was used in the ancient Mediterranean and Middle East gem dealers as there were no other ways of measurement, so merchants would use these to calibrate their scales! Hence….. 1 Carob = 1 Carat or ½ a Carob = 0.50 Carat or 0.50cts or 50points.
Again, as with all the other C’s the bigger the stone the higher the value!