Diamonds 101: Your Guide to Selecting the Perfect Diamond
Selecting the perfect diamond can be anything but simple and straightforward, particularly if you are new to the world of diamonds. Though they might be a girl’s best friend, their companionship usually comes with a hefty price tag. As such, knowing exactly what to look for when purchasing a diamond can help to ensure that you get the most value for your money (and that you avoid a costly case of buyer’s remorse down the line). There are four rules that you should keep in mind when selecting a diamond: the four C’s. In this diamond guide we’ll go over how to choose a diamond that’s just right based upon the cut, clarity, color, and carat weight.
The cut of the diamond greatly determines its brilliance. When a diamond is well cut, light is able to reflect off of the diamond’s facets, which creates the sparkle that is synonymous with these gemstones. Of the four C’s, the cut is the one that has the greatest impact upon the beauty of the stone, as a poorly cut diamond simply won’t have the fire that a higher quality gemstone possesses.
When considering different cuts of diamonds, you will want to pay close attention to three key attributes:
- Brilliance – the amount of light return offered by the diamond.
- Fire – the flashes of color that are reflected off the diamond.
- Scintillation – the amount of sparkle.
If a diamond is cut properly it will display all three qualities, as the facets will but cut at an angle that allows light to reflect from the top of the stone, rather than seep through the bottoms or sides. You will also want to determine which shape you prefer, as this is not the same as the cut. For example, an “emerald” diamond is rectangular in shape, while a “princess” cut is square. Each shape will also have a different amount of facets, which has a direct impact upon the brilliance, scintillation, and fire of the stone.
The clarity of the diamond is determined by the number and size of inclusions it has. These inclusions are natural flaws that can take away from the overall look of the stone. Typically, these inclusions can be viewed under 10-power magnification, which is used to determine the stone’s place on the diamond grading scale. If a stone has very few inclusions, it is typically more expensive, given that the light is able to reflect off the gemstone without being hindered by flaws. If a diamond is free of inclusions, it is considered to be “flawless” and usually comes at a steep price given its rarity.
When choosing a diamond, you’ll actually want to look for a stone that lacks color, unless you prefer color diamonds, such as a yellow “canary diamond.” Stones that are marked as D, E, or F on the color grading scale or considered to be colorless, while those that are G, H, or I are near-colorless on the diamond color scale.
This determines how much the diamond actually weighs. A carat is approximately 200 milligrams, which is 100 points. Therefore, if a diamond weighs .5 carats, it would consist of 50 points. The carat size of a diamond is generally not as important as other aspects of the diamond grading scale, such as the cut, given that it does not have a direct bearing upon the brilliance or sparkle of the diamond itself.
Hopefully this diamond buying guide has offered you some tips and advice that will prove to be invaluable when selecting the perfect piece of jewelry, even if this is your first time buying diamonds. Keep in mind that each of the diamond grading chart attributes listed above should be carefully examined when purchasing a stone to ensure that you get the best diamond for your dollar.