Written by: Sharon Wild
That’s a common question when it comes to choosing a diamond. We can provide guidance in this regard, though at the end of the day, choosing a diamond is a matter of personal preference.
The value of a diamond is determined based on several factors, which are commonly referred to as the 4 Cs – which stands for colour, clarity, cut and carat. The combination of all four factors affects the value of the diamond.
If any one of the four factors is changed, the value will change.
When it comes to choosing a diamond, this is how I would personally approach the selection process.
Personally I feel that the colour and carat are the two most important factors to consider – however, that is provided a good standard is met for the other two factors – the cut and clarity. If the cut and clarity are not good, the whole diamond’s appearance and value will suffer.
I’ll start with the clarity and cut, and then outline the colour and carat.
I would start with choosing a diamond with a clarity of a minimum of Si. So that means a diamond with a clarity between Vvs to Si . The reason for this clarity range is that Vvs, Vs and Si clarity diamonds have small inclusions in them, though none of those inclusions can be seen by the naked eye (Vvs stands for ‘very very slight inclusions’, Vs stands for ‘very slight inclusions’, Si stands for ’slight inclusions’). So VVS, Vs and Si clarities are of good quality.
In practical terms, outside of the diamond selection process, most couples do not spend much time looking at their diamond through a magnifying glass or microscope, so in my opinion, flawless to the naked eye is good enough for me. Provided that the clarity is either Vvs, Vs or Si, I would focus more attention on the other diamond factors.
Naturally, this is a personal preference, for some couples having a diamond as close to perfection as they can is important, so those couples will place a higher importance on the clarity and prefer the Vvs or Vs clarities, or even the exceptionally rare flawless diamond.
When it comes to the cut of the diamond, the diamond has to be well cut so that it has the maximum amount of brilliance and life and fire.
It’s hard to explain that in words without seeing real life examples, though it does make a difference in terms of the overall appearance of the diamond.
A well cut diamond will sparkle and dazzle. A diamond that is cut to good proportions will allow light to pass into the diamond and reflect back out the top of the diamond.
A poorly cut diamond will look dull and lifeless.
A diamond that has been cut too shallow or too deep will have the light pass straight through the diamond and not reflect back -the light will instead go out the sides of the diamond.Those poorly cut diamonds will look dull and not as shiny. The reason why a diamond would be cut too deep or too shallow is because the diamond cutter tried to cut the diamond as large as possible from the natural diamond crystal.
We place a high importance on the diamond cut when sourcing our diamonds, and we only supply well cut diamonds in our engagement rings and loose diamonds.
Okay, so provided that you have a Vvs, Vs or Si clarity and a well cut diamond you can move on to the colour and carat.
This is where the trade off happens and this is where the personal preference comes into play. So I’ll give you some personal opinions, based on many years of experience with helping couples choose their diamond. Though remembering that at the end of the day, the decision does come down to your personal preferences.
The diamond colours are grouped into ranges. The top range is referred to as the ‘collection colour’ range – which is the D, E and F colour diamonds. Then there’s the colour range that is called ‘fine white’ in the older terminology, which is the G colour. For all of these colours – D to G – the diamond has a white appearance and the diamonds have the look of high quality.
In terms of ‘whiteness’ the H colour personally is borderline for me – it’s just were the colour starts to have a very faint hint of yellow to it.
The difference between the colour grades is unfortunately not proportional, in that the difference between some colours is very small, whereas the difference between other colours is a much larger jump.
There is not a significant difference of colour between D to E to F colour diamonds. The difference can be detected in a diamond laboratory or by a highly skilled diamond expert, though for the common person, it’s not really possible to visibly see the difference in colour between D, E or F.
So the reason why you would choose a D or E colour over an F colour is because having the best is important to you – and you have a great sense of pride in having the absolute best. That’s important to the a large proportion of our customers, so we do sell a large number of D, E and F colour diamonds.
Having a ‘collection colour’ diamond also has a special sophistication to it.
The high quality D, E and F colour diamonds are also not available at most other jewellery stores in Australia or internationally, so a D, E or F colour sets the engagement ring apart from most other engagement rings (and gives a lot of bragging points amongst friends – which is an important point for most couples that come to us – even if they don’t admit that ).
Having a G colour diamond is the colour that we recommend for our customers (naturally customers who wish to have a D, E or F collection colour diamond are welcome to do so). The G colour looks great, has white colour and is well priced.
Choosing an H colour diamond is normally something that we recommend if a couple’s preference is towards the size of the diamond rather than the colour. By choosing an H colour diamond, a customer may be able to have a slightly larger size diamond for the comparable price of a smaller diamond with a higher diamond colour.
Most jewellery stores only offer H colour , I colour and J colour diamonds to their customers.
An H colour diamond is still of good quality, and that’s the reason why we offer it to our customers.
We offer only a small number of I or J colour diamonds for diamonds of larger sizes – these diamonds are offered for couples with more modest budgets who are more interested in the look of a larger diamond and the colour of the diamond is not as important to them.
Without knowing any of your personal preferences or budget, my general guideline would be towards a G colour, Vs clarity well cut diamond – with the size determined by your price range.
Customer question example – What should I place greater importance on – the colour or carat? – for example, .30ct E colour, compared to a .50ct H colour diamond
Your decision comes down to what is most important to you – having an exceptional quality colour for your diamond, or a diamond of a bit more size.
The E colour is very high quality, so if taking pride in having a very high quality diamond is important to you – the E colour .30ct is the the diamond that I would suggest for you.
If however, you are happy with a good quality colour and the appearance of a larger diamond is more important for you, I would suggest the .50ct H colour diamond. (These suggestions are naturally on the basis that the diamonds have Si clarity or above and are of a good cut – for Gillett’s diamonds that will be the case).
Comparing apples with apples – Diamond Laboratory Certificates
It’s also important to ensure that you are comparing apples with apples when it comes to diamonds. That’s where independent diamond laboratory certificates become important. We offer independent DCLA diamond certificates with many of our diamonds and diamond engagement rings. Those diamonds have been independently graded using the highest standards of diamond testing. We offer those diamond certificates for our customers piece of mind in knowing that they are receiving exactly the quality that we have stated and that they are receiving exactly what they paid for.
We have noticed that unfortunately not all jewellery stores offer the same high standard of accuracy when it comes to the grading of their diamonds. For that reason, we highly recommend that customers compare diamond prices from jewellery stores that offer independent diamond laboratory certificates from recognised and accredited laboratories (The DCLA diamond laboratory in Sydney is such a laboratory).
Hopefully this information will give you a better understanding of the diamond selection process.
Now that you know what to look for, search for a diamond engagement ring.