What Matters Most to You
Each diamond is unique and in order to find your perfect diamond, you will have to prioritise what matters most to you. When grading diamonds, there are 4 main factors that are considered: carat, clarity, colour and cut. Whilst carat weight increases price exponentially, going up and down clarity, colour or cut grades influences the diamond price generally by 15-20%.
Diamond Specialist strongly recommends choosing GIA (Gemological Institute of America) certified diamonds as it is the international diamond grading standard.
The largest determinant of price is the carat weight (1 carat = 0.2g). The price of a diamond increases exponentially as you increase carat weight due to rarity. Although diamonds are most commonly measured in carat weight, we strongly recommend focusing instead on the actual dimensions of a diamond. Due to the way the diamond is cut, a 0.95ct diamond may appear larger than a 1ct diamond. Another detail to look out for are magic numbers, e.g. 1ct and 2ct. Demand for these sizes are high and their prices reflect that. Despite being visibly the same size, a 1ct and a 0.99ct may differ greatly in price.
Diamonds that are 100% eye-clean (with no visible inclusions or blemishes when viewed by the naked eye) exist within the:
FL (Flawless at 10x magnification)
IF (Internally Flawless at 10x magnification)
VVS1 (Very Very Slightly Included to the first degree at 10x magnification)
VVS2 (Very Very Slightly Included to the second degree at 10x magnification)
VS1 (Very Slightly Included to the first degree at 10x magnification)
VS2 (Very Slightly Included to the second degree at 10x magnification)
It is also possible (but not always) for diamonds to be 100% eye-clean at:
SI1 (Slightly Included to the first degree at 10x magnification)
SI2 (Slightly Included to the second degree at 10x magnification)
Although the difference in clarity may be invisible, some clients prefer to invest in higher clarity diamonds. However, 100% eye-clean SI clarity diamonds are also very popular as they allow you to invest more in visible qualities of the diamond e.g. colour and size.
White diamonds are given a colour grading between D to Z (D being colourless and Z being lightly yellow.) Colourless diamonds are considered more desirable and are therefore more expensive than diamonds with a yellow tinge. Depending on your sensitivity to colour, most of our clients are not able to tell the difference from between the D to H range. If you do choose to go with a diamond lower in the colour scale, selecting yellow or rose gold for the band will help offset the yellowness in the diamond and make it appear whiter.
Cut grading is determined by a diamond’s proportions, symmetry and polish. The grading system consists of 5 cut grades: excellent, very good, good, fair and poor. As this is what makes a diamond sparkle at its best, we strongly recommend selecting diamonds within the excellent to very good cut grade.
Fluorescence is a natural occurrence in diamonds. It happens when there is nitrogen in the diamond, which reacts with UV light (black light) causing the diamond to emit blue, yellow, red or brown light. Generally, from none-faint, fluorescence is invisible unless examined under UV light. Depending on the diamond and the type of fluorescence (blue), it may positively affect the diamond, making it shine brighter and whiter than it would have otherwise. Diamond Specialist recommends looking at diamonds within the none-faint range as it does lower the cost of the diamond whilst remaining invisible in day-to-day life.
Important factors beyond the 4Cs
Although rarely mentioned, there are many factors that are crucial to the appearance of diamonds. As these factors are not included in their grading report, they are often overlooked (this is often the case for ‘too-good-to-be-true’ priced diamonds.)
BGM (Brown, Green, Milky)
Brown, green or milky diamonds are to be avoided. Brown and green tinged diamonds (unless you like the look of them) are considered undesirable in white diamonds as they are dark enough to be noticeable but too light to be considered a fancy coloured diamond. Milkiness turns white diamonds translucent or even opaque, thus eliminating the brilliance of the diamond.
Light, Medium, Dark Centres
Due to the way the diamond is cut in brilliant cut diamonds, some diamonds will appear to have more shadows in the centre of the diamond, even if the cut grade is the same. Unless you like the appearance of diamonds with dark centres, light or medium centres are recommended.
In elongated shapes such as the oval, pear, marquise and radiant cut diamonds, shadows in the centre of the diamond form a ‘bow-tie’ display. This occurs in varying degrees in these diamond shapes, from light to very noticeable.
GIA and other diamond certificates
Diamond Specialist strongly recommends purchasing GIA certified diamonds as they are the international standard for diamond grading. Diamonds graded by other institutions (although much more affordable) may differ greatly from your expectations as their standards are more relaxed than that of GIA.