When shopping for a diamond, some of the main factors to consider are color, cut, clarity, carat weight, and metal setting. A well-cut diamond will produce more fire or dispersion (internal beauty) than a poorly cut diamond. However, it is important to understand that not all diamonds with high-quality color and clarity possess the same sparkle. Some diamonds are simply better due to their shape or flawless polish so they might have lower clarity grades but still be more attractive than other diamonds. Always assume that the diamond is not perfect unless the seller states that it is so.
Color is one of the most important features in a diamond and is graded on a scale from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow). The scale ranges from white to light yellow and you can also identify the presence of tint by looking at certain letters after a color grade, for example, an ” F” or “G” after an “H” color represents a pale yellow tint.
The purity of the diamond color is important as colorless diamonds are less valuable than other colors. Most expensive diamond-colored diamonds are part of the Enhanced Color (E) range with d to z color and clarity grades. The lower the grade, the brighter the color will be and therefore, more valuable. Champagne Diamonds have a yellow tint as they mixed yellow diamonds with champagne-colored diamonds to create a beautiful pinkish-white color.
Most diamonds are graded also on a scale of imperfections called inclusions. The inclusions can be as small as gas bubbles or as big as crystal fragments. The grade is determined by the number, size, and location of the imperfections. In general, fewer inclusions equal to higher clarity grades and an SI1 clarity diamond will have fewer inclusions than a VS2 grade diamond.
The cut is the shape of the diamond. It is measured by angles, proportions, and symmetry. The cut determines the brilliance and sparkle of a diamond and it is measured in carat weight percentage (CWT). This percentage tells you how much that particular stone’s weight will be divided between facets. A round diamond with a high clarity will have a high percentage of face value which means it is valuable because the facets reflect most light back to the eye.
4. Metal Setting
The metal setting for your diamond is extremely important because it will determine how easily you can clean it and the wear and tear of the ring itself.
To choose a good metal, consider platinum or gold. Platinum is a strong, sturdy metal that will protect the diamond from being scratched by other pieces of jewelry. It also resists corrosion and rust which means your diamond will last forever! Gold is softer than platinum but far more commonly used as an engagement ring metal because of its color.
5. Carat Weight [TW]
Carat weight is the measurement of a stone’s weight in units called carats. A 1/5 ct diamond weighs 5/20, or 0.30 carats. Sometimes, diamonds have special names like “fire” or “diamond”, which are used to identify their size in common units. For example, “five-carat” is similar in meaning to a “half-quarter”, or 0.50 ct diamond. A stone weighing 1/2 ct will be half as big as a full carat stone, which weighs about 57 grams.
Anytime someone pays top dollar for a diamond, the stone must be certified by one of the leading international gemological laboratories. The Assay Office at GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is one of the most famous and highly respected laboratories in the world and is accredited by the American Gem Society. The Gemological Laboratory of America (GLA) is another well-known gemological laboratory. Other laboratories that offer certification are the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA), AGS, SI1, Superior International Laboratories (SIL), and the British Gemmological Association (BGA).