The quality of a diamond makes a huge difference to the overall look of a piece of jewellery, which is why at ARMANS we use gems that are the highest standard. There are four main areas that define the quality of a diamond, referred to as the Four Cs; cut, colour, clarity, and carat. Here is an easy guide to help you understand the choices that are available.
The cut of a diamond does not refer to its shape, as is sometimes assumed, but rather indicates how many facets the diamond has and how they catch the light. The right cut gives the diamond its essential sparkle.
There are several diamond cuts, including:
• Ideal or excellent – Cut to perfect proportions, with an even pattern and a high number of facets. • Very good – Offers plenty of brightness and fire, as well as an excellent finish. • Good – Has a slightly darker appearance, sometimes with certain areas looking gloomier. • Fair – Often darker because of its wider, shallow shape; this cut offers a fair amount of fire. • Poor – Generally not found in quality jewellers, this cut looks gloomy at most angles.
When jewellers talk about the colour of a diamond, they are in fact referring to the lack of colour. The best diamonds on the market are graded as colourless grade D. The less colour in a diamond, the clearer it will be, and the more you will be able to appreciate its sparkle.
The colours of diamonds are graded from D (colourless) right down to Z (noticeable yellow colour), although most jewellers don’t use diamonds lower down the scale. The diamonds higher on the scale offer a superior look in the finished piece of jewellery.
Because diamonds are created naturally in the ground, each one is different and they will feature either internal inclusions, or external blemishes. However, in the highest-quality diamonds, you will not be able to see these marks with the naked eye. Diamonds are graded as below:
• FL – Even at 10x magnification, you will not be able to see blemishes or inclusions. • IF – Under 10x magnification, slight flaws are visible on the surface. • VVSI1 and VVSI2 – Slight flaws can be seen under 10x magnification, but are difficult to spot. • VSI1 and VSI2 – Minor inclusions that generally are only visible when magnified. • SI1 and SI2 – Inclusions that are easily spotted under 10x magnification, and possibly by the naked eye. • I1, I2, and I3 – Diamonds with inclusions that are usually visible without magnification.
When you are choosing a diamond for an engagement ring, then the carat is often one of the first things people choose. A carat is a measure of the weight, rather than the size, of a diamond, as the width of the gem will depend on the shape it has been cut into. When choosing a diamond for a ring, you will generally want to consider the width of the gem across the top, as this will be the angle it is usually viewed at. A higher cut grade will also make the diamond appear larger, no matter what the carat weight.
There are many details to look out for when choosing a diamond for a piece of jewellery, but you do not have to be an expert to choose the best quality gem. It is a case of simply choosing the diamond that suits your budget and that offers the best of the Four Cs, ensuring that the final piece is admired and treasured forever.