A Guide to Buying A Diamond
When the decision is made to invest in a diamond or piece of diamond jewellery, the experience of looking at a selection of diamonds should be an exciting one. Unfortunately, it could also be a daunting one too. With a little education into the make up of diamonds, which should help you to understand the diamonds value and price, the process will hopefully be straightforward.
Diamonds come in all shapes and sizes AND a huge range of prices. You can take 5 diamonds all of the same shape and size and have 5 different prices – ranging from hundreds of pounds to tens of thousands of pounds. Why is this?
It comes down to the quality of the stone. A diamond with a very good cut, colour and clarity will cost a lot more than a diamond with poor cut, colour and clarity. Unless a diamond is graded Flawless or Internally Flawless, there will be some type of inclusion within the stone. These inclusions are natural and make a diamond unique, as no other diamond will be exactly the same. Inclusions do not necessarily affect how bright and scintillating a diamond looks as an experienced cutter will cut the diamond so that the inclusion does not affect the stone’s beauty
The assessment of each diamond is usually carried out in line with the GIA’s (Gemmological Institute of America) grading system.
Back in the 1940’s the GIA devised a grading system to bring some regularity to diamond grading. The GIA system is recognised and used worldwide today and is known as the Four C’s, which many High Street Jewellers use when describing their diamonds. The Four C’s stand for Colour, Clarity, Cut and Carat.
Below is quite a comprehensive explanation of the Four C’s using the GIA definitions which we hope will provide you with the information you need to understand how the diamonds value and price is achieved.
With most diamonds, the term Colour refers to the absence of colour. The less colour in the diamond the more desirable and valuable it is. Many of the colour distinctions are so subtle that they are invisible to the untrained eye, but these variations will make a big difference to the quality and price.
The GIA Colour Grades start from D and goes through to Z. ABC are left unused in case a more colourless diamond is ever discovered. D is the absolute best being colourless whilst Z would be a strong yellow to brown colour. If the colour is even stronger than Z, it will be classed as a ‘fancy colour’.
Diamonds also occur in a spectrumof colours,for example; steel grey, white, blue, green, orange, red, pink, purple and black. Two common causes of coloured diamonds are its chemical composition and defects in the crystal structure.
The presence of Nitrogen will cause a yellow/brown colour, Boron will make a diamond blue, carbon will leave the diamond black and radiation will cause the diamond to show green.
A natural diamond is the result of carbon being exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep under the ground millions of years ago, the process can result in a variety of internal characteristics called ‘Inclusions’. Two examples of an inclusion can be small crystals and also black carbon trapped in the diamond when it is forming.
The GIA System measures the amount, size, nature and placement of these internal inclusions as well as the overall affect they have on the stone.There are 15 different types of inclusions recognised by the GIA.
Grades run from ‘Flawless’with no inclusions through to ‘Included’ which contain significant inclusions. Many inclusions are too small to be seen with anything other than a jeweller’s loupe with a magnification of x10.
It goes without saying that the more pure and clean the diamond is,the higher its value.
The GIA Diamond Clarity Scale has 6 categories for grading and all will be under x10 magnification:
Flawless (FL) – No inclusions or blemishes
Internally Flawless (IF) – No inclusions visable
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) – Inclusions so slight they are difficult to see by a skilled grader
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) – Inclusions are seen with effort but are minor
Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) – Inclusions are noticeable
Included (I1, I2 and I3) – Inclusions are obvious which can affect transparency and brilliance.
This does not refer to a diamond’s shape but to the proportion and arrangements of its facets and quality of workmanship. A Round brilliant cut diamond will have 57 facets and the better the cut, the better the diamond will sparkle with fire and brilliance.Cut grades range from ‘Excellent’ to ‘Poor’. A diamond with excellent Cut, Symmetry and Polish is known as a triple X Grade. The best there is and this will add to the value significantly.
This refers to a diamond’s weight. A metric ‘carat’ is equivalent to 200 milligrams. Each carat is divided into 100 points which allows for the diamond to be given its exact weight i.e. 0.75ct, 1.03cts. The carat is the same gram weight wherever you are in the World.
The modern carat weight started with the carob seed. Early gem traders used the small uniform seeds as counterweights in their balance scale.
Carat weights of 0.50, 0.75 and 1.00 are considered ‘magic sizes’. The difference between a 0.99 and 1.00ct is visually impossible to tell, but the price difference can be quite significant.
It is accepted that the higher the carat weight the more expensive the stone is likely to be, however this will depend on the quality of theCut, Clarity and Colour being taken into consideration.
One way to be absolutely sure the diamond you are buying is as described is to buy one with Certification. This will show that the diamond has been laboratory tested and graded and will explain all of your diamonds inclusions, colour, cut and confirm its carat weight. It will prove a little more expensive to buy a Certified diamond, but it will add to its value.
It is so very important to work out what is important to you, beside budget of course, when looking to buy. Size of the diamond or the quality? It is very satisfying to be able to give a sizeable ‘rock’ as a token of love, but if the diamond doesn’t come alive with rainbow colours, it could be a huge disappointment to all. We hope that all the information given above will give you the confidence to make an educated choice in your purchase.
DesignsOnDiamonds is an Online Jewellery Store that aims to bring to you high quality certified diamond jewellery at affordable prices. We want you to shop with us, confident that the piece you are buying is genuine and of exceptional quality. We believe it is important, wherever possible, to sell diamonds with certification or some form of certificate of authenticity. This will give you, the customer, piece of mind and a guarantee that you are buying exactly what is described to you.
We buy and source our diamonds and gemstones purely for their quality. Some of our jewellery pieces are pre-owned, but have been inspected to make sure they are presented to the highest standard.
We offer a bespoke service where we will source that special diamond, gemstone or piece of jewellery for you, whatever your budget, just let us know. We have contact with Diamond Traders in Hatton Garden, so we are confident that we will be able to offer the best possible price.
Reference GIA Library February 2017