Diamonds are a classic stone that adorn many types of jewellery, from pendants to the all-important engagement ring. Buying a diamond can be intimidating, so it helps to arm yourself with some basic knowledge before you shop.
Cut is the only characteristic of a diamond not influenced by nature. As such, the cut can feature the mistakes caused by incorrect practices, so it’s important to understand this aspect more than anything.
The most valuable and rare colour is white, that is to say, colourless. Jewellers grade absolutely colourless diamonds with a "D". The scale moves down from “D” to "Z" and, between these two extremes, diamonds will display subtle coloured tones. Diamonds with a very strong and distinct colour, or “fancies”, are extremely rare, like pink and blue diamonds.
The further down the scale you go, the more common, and thus the more affordable, a diamond is. If you are after a good quality diamond keep to colourless or nearly colourless grades.
Tip 2: A stone between an E-H will look great.
Many people get unnecessarily hung up over the clarity of a diamond. Look into most diamonds with a magnifying eyeglass and you will see small "inclusions", also known as "nature's fingerprints". They look like small clouds or feathers, but are usually invisible to the naked eye.
Just like colour, clarity has a measuring scale. As long as the stone is graded SI1, Slightly Included 1, or better, your stone will look perfect to the naked eye. The scale starts at the high end with IF, or Internally Flawlessly; VVSI1 and VVSI1 for Very Very Slightly Included; VSI1 and VSI1 for Very Slightly Included; SI1 and SI2 or Slight Included; I1 and goes to I3, for Included.
Tip 3: Go for SI or VS to keep the budget healthy.
The weight, and thus the size, of a diamond is measured by carat. A carat is equal to 0.2 grams. A carat is divided into 100 smaller units called points. For example, three-quarters of a carat is 75 points. The average size of most engagement ring diamonds is somewhere between 0.3 and one carat. Do not confuse carats with karats, the unit of purity for gold (although these days is normal practice to use the term ct as well for metal).
Tip 4: Bigger is not always better!
The Certificate will tell you which laboratory has certified the 4C's of the diamond and in some cases it will also tell you the provenance of it. For example if your diamond comes from Canada, the certificate will probably feature a Canada Mark: a little maple leaf and an identification number inscribed on the stone to ensure your stone is fully traceable. The most recognised laboratory in the jewellery world is the Gemological institute of America (GIA) and HRC in Europe.
Tip 5: Keep to a recognised lab.
With these 5 Cs, you’ll be able to pick out a great diamond that is perfect for the occasion:
Cut: Triple Excellent, or EX EX EX or VG (very good)
Clarity: SI1, or better (VS1-VS2)
Colour: E, F and G
Certificate: GIA & Canada Mark
Most of our Engagement Rings come with a Canada Mark certified diamond, so if you want a fully traceable and ethical diamond to celebrate your love, click here to see our beautiful designs.