Buying a diamond ring
It’s a big step, but one that you’re finally ready to take.
Even gemologists, who train hard to be able to spot varying differences in diamonds and gemstones and know what a good quality stone looks like, have a difficult time determining value without exclusive tests and research. It’s no wonder that purchasing jewellery, especially for someone else, can be an especially daunting task. That’s why at Ted Allen’s Jewellery we’re here to help!
It’s a big step, but one that you’re finally ready to take, and one that we’re happy to help with. So, without further adieu, find below a list of some of the basic ABC’s of diamond shopping.
Shape is one of the most important factors when it comes to choosing your diamond, and there are many shapes to choose from. Shape does not affect quality, but it is an extremely important design factor.
- Round: The round cut diamond is the most popular diamond shape, and is generally considered the “classic” cut. This is because a round diamond maximizes light reflection and brightness.
- Princess: A princess cut "square shape" diamond is the perfect choice for an individual that likes a fancier diamond shape. Princess cut diamonds work well in almost any setting.
- Oval: Oval cut diamonds are similar to round cut diamonds for their light reflection and brightness, but have the added luxury of an elongated shape which creates the illusion of greater size.
- Marquise: A marquise a “diamond shaped” diamond, or more simply, a “football-shaped” diamond. Naturally, this shape is long and narrow which creates the illusion of a greater size and has a large surface area.
- Pear Shaped: A pear shaped diamond is wider on the bottom and narrower up top with a tapered point. A good pear shaped diamond should be symmetrical, and will add a great design feature to any ring set.
- Cushion: This cut of diamond combines a square cut with rounded corners. This is another classic cut and very popular shape for it’s brilliance and brightness.
- Emerald: Emerald cut diamonds have step cuts along their edges. This produces a “hall of mirror” effect with multiple light and dark planes to add depth and dimension. The “table” in an emerald cut is often quite large.
- Asscher: Similar to an emerald cut, the asscher cut is square in shape with a high crown, smaller table, and step cuts along the edges (again producing a brilliant sparkle with depth and dimension).
- Radiant: A radiant cut is the happy medium between a cushion and a princess cut.
- Heart Shaped: Heart shapes are a tempting choice for the romantics. They’re beautiful, brilliant, and symbolic. They are a great choice for most clients, but those looking for a diamond less than .50 carat may not be as satisfied since the heart shape is more difficult to perceive in smaller diamonds, especially after setting in prongs.
Now that we’ve got shape down, let’s get into the first of the 4 c’s when it comes to diamond hunting. Carat weight. So, what is carat weight exactly? It’s a unit of measurement for weight exclusive to diamonds. There are 5 carats in 1 gram, and 1 point is 1/100th of a carat (therefore, a 50 point diamond will be equal to a half carat).
The general rule is that a larger diamond is more valuable, and this is because a larger diamond is a rarer find. Remember, diamonds are not compressed together from fragments, and it’s not possible to glue many small pieces of diamond together to create one larger one (at least not a very pretty one). They must be sourced naturally. That said, the 3 other C’s will also heavily influence the price of a stone.This means that while the general rule is a larger stone is more valuable, it is possible for two stones of the same carat weight to have different values.
The second “C” of diamond buying is “cut”. Proper cut diamonds are those where natural shape makes it possible for cutter to maximize their weight without misaligning any facets. A well cut diamond is proportionate, aesthetically appealing, and will sparkle more brilliantly than a poorly cut diamond.
“Colour” is the third “C”. Diamonds are graded on a GIA colour scale from D which is colourless, to Z which is light yellow. It’s worth noting that diamonds on either ends of the scale are more valuable, and this is because of the rarity of these diamonds. While a completely colourless diamond does seem ideal, most people, when given the choice of a series of diamonds from D to Z will choose within the G, H, I, and J range.
The final “C” is “clarity”. Under magnification, most diamonds will contain natural “inclusions” which are microscopic crystals within the stone. The amount of inclusions, size and pattern of these inclusions, as well as their position will be the factors that affect clarity and therefore value. So, what does the clarity scale look like? Clarity ranges from FI which is considered flawless to I3 is considered to have many visible inclusions. It is worth noting that every diamond will have some inclusions under magnification, and without magnification not even a jeweler can detect the clarity difference between a flawless and less expensive diamond.
And last, though certainly not least, do your best to find a local and independent owner versus a chain store. Often you’ll find that smaller stores will carry a higher quality diamond with a lower price point, and will have a vested interest in finding you something you like.