A Guide to Diamond Engagement Rings
Buying your diamond engagement ring is an exciting time, we have put together a short and concise guide to assist you.
How do I determine the quality of the diamond?
Like snowflakes no two diamonds are identical. In the twentieth century the globally accepted standard for describing diamonds was developed. They are also known as the 4Cs of Diamonds: Colour, Clarity, Cut, and Carat Weight. Today, the 4Cs of Diamond Quality is the universal method for assessing the quality of any diamond, anywhere in the world. The 4Cs are explained in further detail below.
The less amount of colour in a diamond the better the colour grade is. A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue, like a drop of pure water, and is of higher value.
The D-to-Z diamond colour-grading system measures the degree of colour the diamond holds. The stones are compared under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions to establish the colour value. The scale begins with the letter D, representing colourless, and continues, with increasing presence of colour, to the letter Z. Please refer to below diagram of the grading system.
Diamond clarity refers to the absence of inclusions and blemishes. While no diamond is perfectly pure, the closer it comes, the higher its value.
There are 6 specific grades of diamond:
- Flawless (FL)
No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification
- Internally Flawless (IF)
No inclusions visible under 10x magnification
- Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2)
Inclusions so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
- Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2)
Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterized as minor
- Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2)
Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification
- Included (I1, I2, and I3)
Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance
Diamonds are renowned for their ability to transmit light and sparkle. A diamond's cut grade is how well a diamond's facets interact with light. A diamond's cut is crucial to the stone's final beauty and value; and is the most complex and technically difficult to analyse.
For Example: To determine the cut grade of a standard round brilliant diamond are evaluated on how successfully a diamond interacts with light to create desirable visual effects such as:
- Brightness: Internal and external white light reflected from a diamond
- Fire: The scattering of white light into all the colours of the rainbow
- Scintillation: The amount of sparkle a diamond produces, and the pattern of light and dark areas caused by reflections within the diamond
Carat weight of a diamond is not the size but the measurement of how much a diamond weighs. A metric "carat" is defined as 200 milligrams. The cut of a diamond can make it appear much larger or smaller than its actual weight.
High carat diamonds often appear to be brighter or more brilliant than lower carat equivalents due to the prism effect of light travelling over larger distances. However the carat weight is only one of the factors to take into consideration when appraising the quality of a diamond.
One carat can also be divided into 100 "points." A 0.50 carat diamond is the same as a 50 points or a 1/2 carat diamond.
It is often assumed that a 1.00 carat diamond costs exactly twice the price of a 0.50 carat diamond. This is not the case. Since larger diamonds are found less frequently, a 1.00 carat diamond will cost much more than twice that of a 0.50 carat diamond, assuming colour, clarity and cut remain the same.
It is worth noting that a 0.90ct diamond is only 0.25mm smaller in diameter than a 1.00ct diamond, this is because the bulk of the weight in a diamond is in the bottom part of the diamond. So although a 0.90ct will only look a little smaller from the top it will be significantly less expensive than a 1.00ct diamond. There is however a certain prestige attached to owning a 1.00ct diamond.
Round brilliant cut diamond sizes:
- 0.01ct (1 point) = 1.3mmm
- 0.02ct (2 points) = 1.7mmm
- 0.03ct (3 points) = 2.0mmm
- 0.06ct (6 points) = 2.5mmm
- 0.10ct (10 points) = 3.0mmm
- 0.25ct (25 points) = 4.0mmm
- 0.50ct (50 points) = 5.0mm
- 0.75ct (75 points) = 6.0mm
- 1.00ct (100 points) = 6.5mm
- 1.25ct = 7.0mm
- 1.50ct = 7.5mm
- 1.75ct = 7.8mm
- 2.00ct = 8.0mm
- 3.00ct = 9.0mm
- 4.00ct = 10.4mm
- 5.00ct = 11.2mm
The cut of a diamond is often confused with the shape, cut is what determines how well-cut your diamond is, whereas diamond shape is the shape it was cut into.
The cut of a diamond refers to its proportions, and is the most directly influenced by man. The roundness, depth and width, the uniformity of the facets, and most importantly the cut of the diamond all determine the diamond’s brilliance. Even if a diamond has perfect colour and clarity, a diamond with a poor cut will have dulled brilliance.
Please refer to the below picture for as a reference to the variety of diamond shapes:
When assessing diamond clarity, what are inclusions and blemishes?
Natural diamonds are the result of carbon exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep in the layers of the Earth. This process can result in a variety of internal characteristics called 'inclusions' and external characteristics called 'blemishes.'