Diamond Buying Guide

Our life is full of happy holidays and occasions, which need to be marked – and even commemorated, the days when it’s important to give or get presents, something to bring you nice memories of the wonderful events. There are not so many things in the world, which are able to remain charming and intact as the time goes. Of course, you could guess from the title, we are going to discuss choosing jewelry with diamonds.

Secret of buying a perfect diamond

How does one choose a diamond? When, in your opinion, women face with the question for the first time, and what about men? Statistics says, women get it when they need to buy earrings, while men – while choosing engagement rings. No matter what you are looking for – earrings, rings or something else with diamonds – the algorithm of choosing and assessing the diamond will be the same – incredibly interesting and exciting.

Every diamond in nature is unique (even the smallest ones) regardless of its size, shape and color. This fact was used in the middle of the XXth century to create and adopt the recognized international standard for diamond assessment known as 4c, which means:

  • Diamond cut
  • Diamond clarity
  • Diamond color
  • Carat

The four factors, actually, define prices and quality of diamonds.

If you spend some time on understanding the four key factors, you’ll be able to choose any jewelry with diamonds from small pendants to necklaces without problem. Moreover, this kind of knowledge will give you a chance to save much money, as well as to protect you from unfair sellers, interested in selling jewelry with «low quality» overpriced diamonds (it’s especially useful in case you purchase offline or just for the first time).

 

Diamond cut

Cut is the basic criterion a person starts choosing and assessing diamonds with. Both the beauty and the price of the gem depend on it. Let me explain, cut is not the same as shape (round, oval, heart-shaped, etc.), cut is about reflective characteristics of a diamond – «the glow», appearing when light gets inside the gem, reflects from its faces and reaches back, which creates a unique glare. The quality of the cut depends on the three indicators:

  • Proportions – Location of faces of a diamond
  • Symmetry
  • Polishing

High-quality cut provides a diamond with a unique glare, which seems to come from the very heart of the gem. Let’s look closer at how the glow appears using the example of a round diamond.

 

Glare – where are you from?!

4cs diamond components Diamond Buying Guide

A round cut diamond has 57 faces (the cut is the most popular one). The upper part of a diamond is called «crown», which also includes its biggest face «table». The lower part of a diamond is known as «pavillion». The face at the broadest point of a gem, between the crown and the pavillion, is called girdle.

The table is the main area, responsible for letting light in and reflecting it back. The faces of the pavillion are the inner mirrors, where the light from the table and other faces of the crown reflects from one face to another. Later on the light is sent back via the girdle to the eyes of the person looking at the gem. The reflected light is the glare, the bright luster and the shimmer making diamonds so captivating to everyone.

Diamond Buying Guide. 4cs shallow cut diamond
Shallow Cut
Diamond Buying Guide.4cs Ideal cut diamond
Ideal Cut
Diamond Buying Guide. 4cs Deep cut diamond
Deep Cut

 

 

 

 

 

 

In turn, if we talk about low-quality cut diamonds, the light from the table, which gets to the faces of the pavillion, is almost not reflected and can’t be sent back via the crown to the observer’s eyes, it simply «leaks» through the lower part of the gem. That’s why less light strikes the eyes and the diamond appears less shiny.

 

Key factor — Nice proportions

The amount of light reflected in the faces of the diamond directly depends on the proportions, defined by the cut of the gem. What does it mean? To make everything clear, let’s imagine a cutter needs to handle a diamond to make it round — this kind of cut is adored by everyone, as it presents the glare of the gem in the best possible way. Here are several options the cutter can choose, while working with the same diamond:

Option 1 Diamond Buying Guide.white diamond

The cutter keeps the ideal proportions of the cut, set by the international standards, without stretching the
gem or pulling its shape in order not to reduce the weight of the final product. This option provides the cutter with a diamond, having right proportions and weighting less than the initial gem, however the diamond will remain incredibly beautiful thanks to the preserved glare and even look bigger, brighter and more interesting, than in case of a compromise.

 

Option 2
Perfect Diamond for Engagement Ring. Diamond Buying Guide

The cutter prefers a compromise and tries to save the maximum weight of the diamond, which means the craftsman ignores the proportions and the symmetry of the future gem by, for example, making it longer/broader. This will affect the glare of the diamond later (it will be big, but not light and bright enough).

The difference in the proportions of the cut is an important parameter, taken into consideration even when preparing certificates of diamonds. The assessment of the cut is a complicated process for most customers. In this regard, the international community has developed a special algorithm for classifying cuts, which helps the clients to choose the appropriate one:

 

Diamond Cut quality 

 

  • Excellent(premium)
  • Very good
  • Good
  • Poor

Excellent cut, is about maximum glare. The cut reflects almost all the light getting to the diamond. This category includes only round diamonds. Diamonds with such a cut are for true connoisseurs, who realize these are almost the most wonderful things in the world a person can actually buy.

Very good cut, the cut is very close to the excellent one and its price is just a bit lower. Very good cut provides maximum glow as well. Only specialists are able to see the difference between the excellent and the very good cut.

Good cut, the proportions of the cut are far from the features presented by the excellent one, which means the price of such gems is much lower and more affordable. The cut makes sure you both stay within the budget and enjoy a very beautiful piece of jewelry.

Poor cut, it’s not a good idea to buy anything of the cut, no matter what you are looking for – an engagement ring or just presents.

 

Tips on choosing the cut:

  1. Try to choose high-quality cut diamonds.
  2. When choosing a diamond, pay more attention to its reflecting characteristics — the glare, not the size. As it’s better to but a bright small diamond than a big gem without glare.
  3. Try to avoid buying good and poor cut diamonds.
  4. Don’t rush to purchase anything, try to compare different combinations of cuts regarding the size of the diamond, as the slightest change in its size can significantly affect the price (in both directions).
  5. One more advice: don’t be in a hurry, visit as many shops as possible, compare the prices. This will help you to save money and make the right choice.

 

Diamond clarity

Here comes next point, which is also important in case you decide to choose a diamond, the one defining the price of the gem – diamond clarity.Cushion Diamond shape. Diamond Buying Guide

Diamonds are produced not only by people, we shouldn’t forget they are created by nature. Future diamonds are formed in the bowels of the earth, with the process taking much time, during which the conditions affecting the gem — temperature, pressure, the whole environment, changing constantly. This explains why some diamonds appear with specific natural features, the so called internal diamond defects. Moreover, it’s worth mentioning, diamonds can have surface defects, which occur during cut.

 

Classification of defects

  • Spot – the smallest defect, without volume
  • Inclusion – a defect inside the diamond, which appears as a dimensional object of a certain size, shape and color.
  • Line — a defect resembling a thin line
  • Cavity — a split in the structure of the diamond
  • Cloud — a shaded area

We can conclude diamond clarity is a term for defining transparency of a gem, as well as its having no internal or surface defects.

 

Assessing diamond clarity

Diamond clarity is assessed with the help of a microscope or a tenfold magnifying glass. In order to make choosing and assessing diamonds easier, the Gemological Institute of America has developed the clarity grade consisting of six categories and some subcategories:

 

Flawless (FL)

Diamond Buying Guide.Flawless (FL) diamond

No surface or internal defects. Such diamonds are very rare and expensive. Just a few shops can offer the gems to their clients.

Internally Flawless (IF)

Diamond Buying Guide.Internally Flawless (IF) diamondNo internal defects, however there are surface ones, which can be detected only by a specialist using a microscope. The diamonds of this kind are also pretty rare and cost much.

Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS and VVS2)

Diamond Buying Guide.Very Slightly Included (VVS and VVS2) diamond

 

The diamond comes with insignificant inclusions, hardly noticed even by an experienced specialist using a microscope.

Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2)

Diamond Buying Guide.Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) diamondThe gem has slight inclusions, which can be easily detected with a tenfold magnifying microscope. The diamonds of the category are a nice option for those who want to make a good impression and still stay within a certain budget.

Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2)

Diamond Buying Guide.Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) diamond

 

 There are defects, detected under a microscope. Moreover, the flaws can also be seen even without magnifying equipment.

Included (I1, I2 and I3)

Diamond Buying Guide.Included (I1, I2 and I3) diamond

 

Flaws, various defects are detected without a microscope, the eye catches all the visual imperfections. Many experts advise to avoid buying diamonds of I category as their defects make the gems look faded.

What clarity category to choose?!

The question causes no problem if we know the purpose of buying a diamond. In case of investment, it’s reasonable to prefer FL,IF,VVS clarity categories as the price of the diamonds with such characteristics grows every year.

If you are looking for a present like earrings, a necklace, a bracelet or an engagement ring with diamonds, the best option is to choose VS and SI. The diamonds of the clarity categories look almost the same as the flawless ones; moreover the difference can be detected only with the help of special equipment. In addition, these diamonds are wonderful and their price will definitely surprise you.

 

Diamond color


Tone – the color of the diamond is one more basic characteristic affecting its quality and price, which is of the same importance as clarity, cut or weight. There are several diamond colors.
Some colors differ from each other in such an insignificant way, only a specialist can detect it. If we talk about choosing diamonds of various colors, we mean white diamonds’ having or having no additional tone. Diamonds with ideal light features and without extra tone are more than just rare, that’s why they are really expensive.

What does the diamond color depend on?

The rich palette of diamond colors is explained by their nature and certain impurities in their structure. The concentration of the impurities in diamonds differ, which defines the saturation of the tone. Specific impurities create unique colors:

  • Yellow color is due to lithium
  • Pink, red diamonds include pieces of manganese
  • Blue gems come with inclusions of aluminum and boron

In total, there are nearly 250 shades of diamonds in the world. Taking into account the abovementioned fact we can conclude, the fewer impurities a diamond has, the more transparent it is and the more it costs. Such specimens are pretty rare.

How do we define the diamond color?

To define how white and transparent the diamond is we need to use the professional color grade by GIA, starting from the top D rating, for colorless diamonds, and goes down the alphabet to Z rating, which stands for diamonds with light yellow shade. In addition, the grade has five categories (colorless, near colorless, faint, very light and light).

Diamond Buying Guide.diamond color

What color to choose?

The diamonds of D – F color group are the elite, the highest status symbol. These are the recognized standards, having absolutely no color, which makes them attractive to any eye. Buying the gems of the color category is a perfect kind of investment. Purchasing such diamonds is always the best choice. If a man buys a ring with a diamond of the group for his lady, he will never be ignored.

The diamonds of G — H color group are near colorless, however can come with the slightest yellow shade, which isn’t even detected by an inexperienced eye. The color is perfect for various pieces of jewelry. Such gems are famous for their classic glare. These diamonds look wonderful in many types of gold jewelry. If you are in search of a necklace with diamonds and have limited budget, choose the color category in order to get an amazing necklace at a pleasant price.

The diamonds of I — J color group also match gold perfectly. For example, if you are looking for earrings of white gold with diamonds, the gems will soften the cold shine of the metal as their light yellow shade is much warmer. And, vice versa, in case you need to hide the slight yellow tone of the diamond, buy jewelry of yellow gold.

The diamonds of K — M, color group shine like the sun, which makes them different from the previously named groups. Jewelry with such diamonds looks more colorful. In my opinion, a bracelet with the diamonds of the color can draw the attention of many observers.

Tips on choosing the color

Most diamond colors are difficult to distinguish and detect. High color index doesn’t mean the diamond is of a better quality. However, the higher the color rating is, the more expensive the gem appears. When buying a piece of jewelry as a present, it’s better to choose the diamond color you like most. Don’t try to figure out the ideal color. If you want to invest in diamonds, pay attention to D — F colors. Moreover, it’s important to know, what kind of metal will be used with the diamond – white/yellow gold or platinum. The right precious metal can both emphasize and fade the color of the diamond.

 

Carat — Diamond weight

Diamond Buying Guide.Carat — Diamond weightThis is probably the most «well-known» characteristic of diamonds recognized by many and usually the key one, when talking about buying a diamond – «His Majesty Carat». The main point in assessing diamonds is about their weight. The weight of diamonds is measured in carats, which are indicated by the two letters ct. It’s important to mention one funny thing: diamonds with the same carats can look different, for example, one gem may appear bigger, than the other even if their carats are equal.

A few words about the history of the term. Carat derives from the name of Carob. You can find fruits in the form of pods with seeds on the tree. The seeds have the same, constant mass – one seed weights 0,2 g. This was the reason why the seeds were used as a standard of mass in the ancient times, which gave the name to the modern measure — carat. As you could guess, one carat is 0,2 g.

Carats and prices

Nowadays special carat scales are used for measuring the weight of diamonds. Carat is divided into 100 units. The weight of the diamond is measured with a precision of up to 0.01 carats. Moreover, the approximate weight of the diamond can be measured using its diameter (check the table). Note: 1 ct. diamond is just a bit – by 1.3 mm – bigger than a 0,5 ct. diamond. The eye can hardly catch the difference, but the prices differ significantly.

Diamond Buying Guide.Carats and prices

Diamond Buying Guide.Carats and prices

There are three weight groups of diamonds:

  • Small – diamonds weighting less than 0,29 ct.
  • Average – diamonds weighting from 0,3 to 0,99 ct.
  • Big – diamonds weighting more than 1 ct.

Diamonds of each group are assessed in different ways. For example, a specialist analyzing small and average diamonds pays more attention to their weight. In turn, when you buy big diamonds, such characteristics as clarity and color come first.

The price of the diamond depends on its weight. So, a 2 ct. diamond will cost three times more than a 1 ct. gem, while a 3 ct. diamond will cost 10 times more than 1 ct. one. The mathematics seems funny, doesn’t it? To figure out what diamond complies with your budget, use online calculators.

How much carats to choose?

There is no universal answer to the question. Here are some tips on choosing a diamond:

  1. Even the slightest difference in carats can lead to totally increased price of the diamond.
  2. If you need to buy a big-sized diamond ring and have a limited budget, pay attention to oval, pear-shaped, Princess and heart-shaped gems. Such diamonds will look much bigger than round diamonds of the same weight.
  3. Many carats don’t mean the diamond is big — for example, a 1 ct. diamond is just a bit – by 1.3 mm – bigger than a 0,5 ct. diamond. The eye can hardly catch the difference, but the prices differ significantly. Check it
  4. Big doesn’t mean beautiful. Sometimes it’s better to ignore carats and choose a diamond of better color and clarity, which we have already discussed above.
  5. Compare, analyze, ask the seller questions— this will help you to choose not only a nice piece of jewelry with diamonds, but also to get it at a reasonable price.