There is no such thing as the right diamond for everyone. If a diamond is right for you or not depends on what you are looking for, your budget etc. Is bigger better? Or is small but high quality the best? Some basic knowledge may help to make the right decision for you.
Firstly, you should ask yourself the questions, which shape you prefer
Basic knowledge you need to know about diamond shapes:
– Round Brilliant is the most popular shape
– Princess (square) is the second most popular shape
– Shapes like Emerald and Asscher are very elegant but don’t sparkle as much due to less facets and therefore a lower ability to reflect light
When a diamond is cut in perfect proportions, all light entering the diamond will be reflected back to the observer’s eye. The Cut is therefore the main factor determining sparkle, a diamond’s fire and you probably wouldn't want to save on this. Cut is not to confuse with shape. Cut refers to the diamond cutter’s talent in making the rough diamond a piece of art, whereas Shape refers to the shape itself such as round, heart, princess, trillion etc.
A diamond is supposed to be colourless, or what you may also call white. However, in nature you will rarely find a perfect colourless diamond. The colour grading scale starts with D being the best and then goes down the alphabet. The more you go down in colour quality the darker and more yellow the stones appear as shown in the table below:
Less than 2% of all diamonds are colourless, which also means that these ones are the most expensive ones. If you would like to have beautiful stone but save money at the same time, you can opt for G, H or I color without hesitation.
The colour of a diamond is difficult to spot once the ring is finished. In order to see the true colour of a diamond, an experienced diamond grader needs to examine the stone under highly controlled conditions and compare it next to a masterstone. There only is a tiny little difference between each grade.
D – F : Is the colourless range and therefore belongs to the most precious stones.
G – J : A diamond grader is able to spot some yellowness by looking into the stone from underneath. It is not visible to the naked eye of an untrained person.
K – M : These diamonds appear slightly yellow even to the naked eye. You may want to go for this diamonds if you want something big to a limited budget.
N – R : The yellow colour is visible to the naked eye. The stone may also appear slightly cognac-colour.
S – Z : The lower end of the colour scale has a sharp yellow colour to it.
Diamond clarity refers to any inclusions or blemishes on or in the stone. They can be of different nature and you generally need to differentiate between:
Natural inclusions: These are inclusions that have developed over millions of years during the diamond formation and are found in the diamond itself. They can be of white colour and may look like feathers or tiny little cracks. Inclusions can also be of dark colour and may appear like a little bit dirt in the diamond.
Unnatural inclusions: They are on the diamond surface and have occurred during the cutting process. These are forms of little scratches, blemishes on the diamond.
FL – No internal or external inclusions visible even under 10 power magnification.
IF – No internal inclusions visible even under 10 power magnification.
VVS1 – VVS2 – Miniscule inclusions difficult to see under 10 power magnification.
VS1 – VS2 – Very slight inclusions visible under 10 power magnification.
SI1 -SI2 – SI3 – Small inclusions, which can be visible to the naked eye.
I1 – I2 – I3 – Inclusions, which are very easy to spot to the naked eye.
A diamond certificate gives you a scientific analysis of your stone but most important of all it give you peace of mind to buy the right thing and not being ripped off. Certificates are done by gemmological institute, the most important ones being the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), European Gemological Laboratory (EGL) or International Gemological Institute (IGI).
Please bear in mind, that diamond grading is a subjective analysis and only the carat weight can be measured accurately. It is therefore not uncommon for one stone to be graded slightly different by different institute. Variations by one, two sometimes three grades are normal.