So, you proposed, or are thinking of proposing….fantastic news!
You are very likely now asking yourself the next question, which is - what do I need to know about buying a diamond?
The truth is, it is different for everyone. There is no straightforward answer to this.
Some people like to come in for an appointment having already done a lot of research on diamonds using the internet or speaking to family and friends. Others like to start from scratch and learn about diamonds during the appointment. This is what we are here for. Our job is to give you the information and guide you through the process so that you can make the best decision for your preferences and budget.
So, how do you go about choosing the right diamond for your engagement ring?
For a large part, the kind of diamond to go for is largely down to the budget you will be working with. Everyone has a budget. However small or large, we can assure you that we can help you find a perfect diamond!
It helps if you come to us with a budget range in mind. The diamond universe is huge, and deciding on only one diamond can be a momentous task without it. By letting us know how much you are willing to spend (and the quality characteristics you are looking for) we can make sure that we only show you diamonds that actually fit what you're looking for. We are here to help you find the right diamond for you.
The next step is deciding on the quality characteristics of the diamond you would like - the four C's.
The four C’s stand for - Carat Weight, Colour, Clarity and Cut.
Let’s begin with the Carat Weight. The carat weight of a diamond literally means how much the diamond weighs. One carat is equal to 0.2 grams, about the weight of a paperclip. Tiniest differences in carat weight can make a huge difference in the price of the diamond.
Even diamonds with exactly the same carat weight (and other C's) can be priced differently. For example, you can have two diamonds that weigh exactly the same, but one may measure larger (in mm) than the other. This means that one diamond is shallower and visually larger than the other. A little confusing no doubt! This is what we are here for, to guide you through these intricate details.
Understanding these details is useful because the carat weight is the biggest driving force behind the price of the diamond.
These differences become even more relevant when you are looking for a larger diamond. Those of you who have looked into diamond prices will know that there is a huge jump in price when you hit the 1ct mark. This is because diamonds of 1ct+ are the most popular, and therefore, most highly valued. You can use this knowledge to your advantage. For example, if your budget does not quite stretch the 1ct mark or the 0.70ct mark etc, maybe you can go for a diamond that weighs just under - 0.90cts or 0.67cts. Visually the diamond will look just as big, but because the carat weight is less the cost will be less. Amazing!
With our knowledge of diamonds and prices, we can ensure that you don't overpay when buying the diamond right for you.
Second of the 4 C's is Colour.
People often want the whitest or colourless diamond. D colour diamond is the whitest diamond that you can get. But, E and F colour are also classed as white, or colourless diamonds. You will not be able to see a difference between these colours without comparing them next to each other.
You only begin to see a tiny difference in colour when you come down to a G or H colour diamond. And even then the colour difference is minute. Does this mean that everyone should be going for a G/H colour stone? Of course not, people usually still prefer the true colourless diamonds. The lower colour grades are just there as an option if you would like that larger diamond but the budget doesn't stretch to D-F colour.
You begin to see a visibly noticeable difference in colour (yellowing) when you come down to an I colour and beyond.
Now don’t just take our word for it, feel free to ask to be shown these differences during your appointment, it really helps.
Third of the 4 C's is Clarity.
After carat weight, this has the second highest impact on the price of the diamond. Clarity is usually the thing that people choose to compromise on the most to get a diamond that fits their budget.
Many people are ok with inclusions as long as you cannot see them with a naked eye. However, this is not the case for everyone. Clients often like to know that they have a very clear diamond.
So what does clarity really mean?
The clarity is to do with the inclusions or flaws within the diamond. A flawless diamond means that even under a microscope the diamond will appear completely clear within. Now even flawless diamonds can still have something called surface graining, which is from an end result of polishing and will appear as tiny specs on the surface of the stone. Try not to worry about this, it is almost unavoidable.
A VVS1 and VVS2 clarity diamond will be so clear under a microscope that only a highly trained eye can identify the inclusions. They would appear as minute specs within the stone.
A VS1 clarity diamond is where you will begin to see some small flaws within the stone, but again, only using a microscope and they would be tiny.
VS2 clarity means that you would probably be able to see the inclusions under the microscope but they would be very small and not at all visible with the naked eye.
Now, SI1 clarity. For the most part you will not see any inclusions with the naked eye, but you will almost immediately see them under a microscope. There are occasions where you have an incredibly "unlucky" SI1, in which case the inclusions are just about visible with the naked eye. We often get asked how to tell if an SI1 clarity diamond is good or not. We then suggest that if you cannot see anything with the naked eye then that would be good enough. But as always, this is for the customer to decide what their preference is.
Beyond SI1 clarity, it becomes very hit and miss. We have seen some fantastic SI2 clarity diamonds and some horrific SI2 clarity diamonds.
For this reason, as a rule, Daniel Christopher Jewellery tends to only sell diamonds down to SI1 clarity, although we are always happy to source specific diamonds upon request.
Now for the final part, the fourth ‘C’ with stands for Cut. Diamonds have a cut grade made up of three parts - cut, polish and symmetry. Cut specifically refers to the proportions of a round diamond. Anything that is not a round diamond is classed as a fancy shape diamond and not given a cut grade. They are only graded on polish and symmetry. This is down to the the GIA saying that you cannot determine the perfect proportions of something which is not round, as it is largely down to personal preference.
Polish refers to the finish on the diamond and the symmetry grade means how symmetrical all the facets are.
All these factors give the diamond life or fire, essentially the sparkle of the stone. If a diamond is given excellent cut, it means the proportions are perfect. If the cut grade is very good, it means the proportions are nearly perfect.
A lot of people like to have a diamond with excellent grades. However, this is also something that you can compromise on if budget is a restriction. You cannot usually tell the difference between something that has excellent or very good cut. Always ask us to show you the different cut grades during your appointment, if you are in doubt.
It is often helpful to see the diamond itself and compare different diamonds side by side. This way you can choose a diamond that you really like the look of rather than choosing a diamond just based on what the certificate says.
However, the GIA certificate is an accurate representation of what the diamond will look like, and is very important for transparency of what you are investing your money into. You can definitely choose diamond just by looking at the certificate online. You can then always talk to us to get our opinion on the diamond, before making the purchase online.
The last quality characteristic that you may wish to consider is Fluorescence. At Daniel Christopher Jewellery we only sell diamonds that have nil or faint fluorescence. Flourescence is to do with how much nitrogen is present in the stone. A diamond that has strong fluorescence will literally light up like a white t-shirt in a club, under a UV lamp. A diamond that has nil fluorescence will not light up at all under a UV lamp.
There is an argument that a diamond which has medium to very strong fluorescence will over time change the look of the diamond. This can happen but not always. The reason being that the diamond will become affected by UV rays from the sun and in turn this can make the diamond appear milky, dull or oily looking. We have had people who have bought rings from elsewhere come in to ask us why a diamond or some of the diamonds in the ring that they have bought have started to change colour or look dull and oily. This is nearly always down to the fact that these diamonds have strong fluorescence.
Some people will also enquire as to why a diamond will be far cheaper than another that appears to have the same specification. There can be many reasons for this, but often it is because one is fluorescent and the other is not. This is why we only sell diamonds with nil or faint fluorescence. Faint fluorescence will never affect the way the diamond looks over time, it just means there is the tiniest detection of nitrogen.
Please note, this does not apply in the same way with fancy coloured diamonds. If a fancy coloured diamond has strong fluorescence, it will often enhance the colour of the diamond and make it look more vivid in colour.
If want a more in depth look at the four C’s there is a section on the Daniel Christopher Jewellery website that goes more into depth of this topic.
Knowing your Budget and the Carat Weight, Colour, Clarity, Cut means that you are already well on the way of finding your perfect diamond. The next step would be looking at the different diamonds on our website. You can do that by going to Create Your Own Engagement Ring, selecting a setting, and then choosing 'Find a diamond'. After finding a diamond that matches your specifications, you can either purchase it with a setting online, or you can call or email us to find out more. If you would like to see the diamond in person before purchasing it, please call us to make an appointment.
Never be afraid to ask questions and recommendations either by calling us, or during your appointment. This is what we are here for - to help you choose the perfect diamond for your engagement ring with ease.