Diamond is considered the top-selling gemstone when it comes to surprise your loved ones because of its enviable properties especially its brilliance. With so many forms and varieties available in the market, finding the perfect diamond that suits your budget needs a clear understanding of diamonds and their attributes. Everyone’s search is unique depending on personal preferences and budget but following some guidelines can help you find the ideal diamond.
Choose your Diamond Shape
The shape of the diamond depends on your ring design and personal preference. In the case of fancy diamonds length to width ratio also has a great impact on the diamond. There are different shapes of diamonds available in the market like
- Radiant Marquise
If you have no preference it is recommended to go for “Round Brilliance” diamonds as they are preferred because of their amazing brilliance and scintillation. The round diamond is famous and always trending as it can accommodate any ring setting. Other than that princess cut, Cushion Cut or Oval shape is also considered a better choice.
Other than the shape, the key to determine the diamond quality and its value is to understand the four attributes that all diamonds share, also known as 4Cs.
The less color the higher the grade of the diamond. Most diamonds are available in the following color grading scale
- Colorless ( D,E,F)
- Near colorless (G,H,I, J)
- Faint Yellow ( K,L,M)
- Very light yellow (N,O,P,Q,R)
- Light yellow/brown (S,T,U,V,W,X,Y,Z)
Most preferable is the colorless diamond or the one that appears white. It is important to remember that the shape of the diamond also has an impact on the color of the diamond as different shapes reflect the color at different strengths. Color is much difficult to detect once it is placed in the ring or an environment that contains colors due to its transparency. In the case of high-grade diamonds even on side-by-side comparison, it is not easy to distinguish color.
It is more feasible to distinguish color in larger diamonds so if you are buying one carat or above it is recommended to buy the larger diamond. Diamonds vendors advise to invest in high cut grade compared to high color as the cut has more impact on its brilliance. But if you are concerned about the color as well, prefer round or modified brilliant cuts over step cuts as more facets reflect more light and they tend to hide color better than other shapes.
Fluorescent diamonds (D, E, and F) are available at an affordable price as compared to non-fluorescent diamonds as mostly it is considered a defect by gemologists. The fluorescent glow is nearly blue that makes I to M range appear one grade whiter as blue is complementary to yellow. Thus if I-M range diamonds possess medium to strong fluorescence they are recommended to buy. Fluorescence has a slight impact on the appearance so it should not affect your purchase as such. Just avoid diamond purchase in the D-H color range with strong fluorescence as the absence of complementary yellow color will give the diamond blue appearance.
Clarity means either you find any inclusions in the diamond or not. Following is the most followed clarity scale ranging from flawless to grade of I3
- Flawless or Internally Flawless
- Very Very Slight Inclusion ( VVS1 and VVS2)
- Very Slight Inclusions (VS1 and VS2).
- Slight Inclusions ( SI1 and SI2)
- Imperfect (I1, I2, and I3)
Flawless or eye-clean diamond means that there are no inclusions visible at 10 times magnification. It is recommended to prefer the cheapest eye-clean diamond. About 10% of the diamonds sold in the market fall under the category of VVS2. The most popular range is VS1 and VS2 as they appear flawless to the naked eye and affordable compared to the truly flawless diamond. There are magnifying glasses or microscopes available so that you can see if there are any inclusions present or not.
The second popular range is SI1 as inclusions are only visible on close inspection and not significant enough to be observed by casual observers or the common man. That’s why people mostly opt for this range in exchange for a higher cut or color grade but it is preferable in the case of diamonds less than 1 carat. For diamonds above 1-carat weight it is not recommended as clarity is important and S1 inclusions are easily detectable in that. About one-third of the diamond sold falls in the S1-S2 as they are more affordable and do not impact appearance greatly in less than 1-carat weight.
The larger the diamond more is the chances of visibility of imperfection so in that case clarity becomes the main concern. It is recommended to purchase VS2 for 2 or more than 2-carat weight diamonds. In the case of shape brilliant-cut diamonds are far better in hiding inclusion compared to step-cut diamonds. In case of imperfect clarity grade, I3 is diamonds with inclusions that are obvious to the naked eye so it is not recommended in any case.
Many people think that cut means the shape of the diamond but actually, it’s much more than that as it greatly impacts its brilliance. How a diamond is cut and polished directly affects the extent of sparkle that comes off the stone so this attribute is considered of utmost importance. Its grades are not standardized or uniformly applied so different retailers compare cut grades differently. Other than GIA cut grading, many popular websites and retailers display their own. Mostly it is evaluated considering of 5 scales
- Very good
Excellent or ideal cut diamond is preferred and recommended worldwide as a poorly cut diamond will dull the appearance even if it has excellent clarity and color. Similarly, an excellent or ideal cut diamond can give amazing brilliance even with lower color and clarity that shows the importance of cut grade. But if you are out of budget then a fair or good cut is considered a better choice especially in terms of fancy rings. Although it has lower brilliance and scintillation, it allows increased size in the same price range.
The cut grade includes a variety of factors like polish, symmetry, culet size, etc thus it allows detailed evaluation of the diamond. Simple cut grade is enough i.e., you don’t have to go into the details of these factors unless you want to compare two diamonds of the same cut grade.
- Carat weight
1 carat = 200mg
The carat weight of the diamond directly influences its price. It depends on either you want the stone noticeable over the top or not as it impacts how large the diamond looks. Mostly preferred weight is 0.95 to 1.08 Carat diamond. But it is recommended to have a minimum 1-carat weight based on personal preference. Critics also suggest buying carat weight that falls just under the standard carat weight as they are available at comparatively affordable price and difficult to distinguish. For example, 0.90 carat will be available at much-discounted price compared to 1 carat diamond. When viewed from the above both diamonds 0.90 carats and 1 carat seems to have an equal diameter.
In the case of rings the most preferred carat weight is 1 or 2 carat but if you have a low budget or you want to buy less or up to 0.75 carat weights it is recommended to get a marquise cut diamond. Its elongated cut makes it appear larger as compared to the other cut of the same carat weight.
Compare similar diamonds
First, narrow down the attributes you want to have in your diamond. Once you are clear about that then compare the similar diamonds in terms of price and their features.
Verify the Certificate
All labs are not equal and their judgment is not held to any objective standard. It is recommended to consider only certified diamonds especially if you are looking for loose diamonds. Always prefer those certifications that have good reviews and have consistent grading system so that you get the reliable results
Get an expert opinion
Before getting a diamond it is better to have an expert opinion to review your choice. It will ensure that you are getting the best product according to your budget. You will have more confidence in what you are buying.
Make the purchase
Once you are sure about the type of diamond you want, it is advised to purchase the diamond online. Most online vendors offer a hassle-free 30 days return policy.
Thus, a diamond is a very valuable and expensive stone so while using your savings to buy that precious gemstone for your loved ones make sure it’s worth it. Always read the guidelines before going diamond shopping and ask for the certifications. Prefer diamonds from a certified lab like GIA as it has some standards set for its clarity, color, carat weight, and cut that helps to choose the perfect one. It is advised to choose one that balances these four attributes without straining your budget.