Buying Diamonds: What to Look for When Choosing a Diamond

Diamonds

Are you trying to choose the best diamond?

Diamonds come in a variety of shapes, sizes, cuts, and finishes. There is a lot more to a diamond than the carat. But if you don't know what you're looking for, you might not know how to pick a diamond or get the best one you can for your cash.

Don't worry, we're here to help! Read on for our guide to what to look for in a diamond to get the perfect one for you.

Shape

The shape of a diamond is the starting point for your ring's final design. There is no "best" shape — it comes down to personal preferences (yours, or your partner's).

Round Brilliants are the most popular shape when used in engagement rings. This is because they give off the most shine and brilliance.

Other people may prefer a more unusual or unique shape to make a statement, like Oval or Cushion Cut. If the diamond is for someone else, find out their preference from them or their friends/family.

Cut

The "Cut" is one of the most important aspects of a diamond's quality. And it will impact it's beauty too. Cut refers to the quality of a diamond's:

  • angles
  • brilliance
  • fire
  • symmetrical facets
  • proportions
  • finishing details
  • scintillation

These factors impact the diamond's aesthetic appeal and its ability to sparkle. You can find out more info here.

The GIA grade a Cut using a scale of:

  • Ideal
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Fair
  • Poor

Ideal and Excellent grades will signify the angles cut are for the most fire and brilliance. But this depends on the shape of the diamond.

Cuts have a huge variety from diamonds to diamond cutters themselves. Sometimes, a cutter might go for the highest Carat weight. This can leave the diamond too shallow or too deep for the best light reflection.

Or a cutter could focus on minimizing the number of inclusions to improve its Clarity. This would forgo getting the best sparkle. Even a cut that ranks Ideal could have a yellow tint, which may detract from its aesthetics.

Cut should be a focal point in your selection process. A pristine 2 Carat diamond that's free of color tinting or blemishes could be dull. It all comes down to the cut and how well it's done. The Cut will be the biggest indicator of a diamond's beauty.

But you should note that a top grade ranking like Excellent might not mean an outstanding Cut. In fact, almost 55% of diamonds you can buy online will rank as Excellent. Some deserve it, but others are mediocre in appearance.

Because of this, and because it is so important to a diamond's beauty it's crucial you do a careful review of the Cut. Consider hiring an expert eye to help you here, as they can find you the best Cuts and help you avoid mediocre.

Color

The most desirable color is actually no color at all. The purest, most transparent diamond is of the greatest value.

GIA's color grading goes into minute detail. Most distinctions are invisible to the untrained eye but go a long way in determining quality.

A lot of customers think they need to go for the highest color grade to get the best diamond. But, if you're looking to get the best value, you don't need to do this. If you pick a diamond that's a few color grades lower, it'll still be crystal clear and pure looking.

Also, there are specific color grades that will match the metal of the band and your desired shape. If you tailor your choice here to match these guidelines it could save you a huge amount of money. But it won't lower the quality of the gem you choose.

Clarity

Clarity is a grade that will decide how clean the diamond is from blemishes and inclusions. It uses the GIA clarity scale which grades diamonds from Flawless, to Inclusions.

Inclusions and blemishes can interfere with how light passes through the diamond. How much will depend on the location, darkness, and size of these issues. It takes away from the brilliance and beauty, detracts from the cut, and dulls the diamond.

When looking at clarity, it's recommended that the diamond is clean to the eye. Any inclusions that are there should not interfere with the light and how it reflects.

With an expert, look over the stone to make sure it meets those requirements. Certification alone won't tell you how any blemishes can affect a stone's appearance. You need to see that for yourself.

Carat

Diamond Carat refers to how much the diamond weighs. A metric Carat comes in around 200 milligrams. Each Carat can then subdivide into 100 "points". This will allow a very precise measurement down to a hundredth decimal place.

Jewelers might detail the weight of any diamonds below 1 Carat by the "points" alone. So, for example, you may see a diamond that weighs 0.25 Carats described as a "twenty-five pointer".

For diamonds that weigh more than 1 Carat, it's displayed as Carats and decimals. So, a diamond weighing 1.05 Carats would be a "one point zero five Carat" stone.
With everything else being of equal quality, the price will increase the higher the Carat is. Larger diamonds are rarer, and they're more desirable.

But, as with all things, it's rare to get two things that are exactly the same. Diamonds with the same weight can carry different prices (this is most often the case). This is down to the other 3Cs.

Clarity, Color, and Cut all have important roles in setting the price tag. A smaller diamond that ranks higher in those areas may be more expensive than a larger, lowering ranking one. So, remember that a diamond's worth comes from using all the 4Cs.

Other Terminology to Be Aware of

There are also a few other characteristics you want to look out for, which we will define below:

  • Brightness: The light that reflects off the diamond
  • Fire: How light distributes through the diamond for a rainbow prism of light
  • Scintillation: this is the amount of surface flash and sparkle under light

Choosing the Right Diamond for You

So there you have it! Now you know what to look for, you can be sure to pick the best diamond for you.

The 4Cs are vital in determining the quality of a diamond — Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat. But don't neglect the shape too. Different shapes and metals will have specific recommendations for the best-finished product. What's most important is getting an expert to help find the best diamond to suit your needs.

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