Diamond Buyer's Guide
Alluring, beguiling, bewitching and captivating.
As the saying goes, "Diamonds are forever"!
Known as the hardest natural mineral on Earth, the word "diamond" is derived from the Greek word "adamas", meaning "unconquerable or indestructible", and are irrefutably the ultimate symbol of romance and love.
There's no denying that size is important when it comes to diamonds. However, it's the combination of the four C's that will determine a diamond's true value: Carat, clarity, cut, and colour. Finding the perfect diamond jewellery requires the precise balance between these four qualities without putting too much pressure on your budget.
Our diamond buyer's guide will equip you to select the perfect diamond jewellery that is just right for you; a timeless treasure that will last a lifetime.
The weight of a diamond is measured in "carats" abbreviated to "ct"; originally derived from the word "carob", in ancient times this seed was used to measure the weight of gemstones.
One carob seed was the equivalent of one carat. Today, a carat is defined as one fifth of a gram (200 milligrams) or, using the point units, 100 points.
For example a 0.50 carat diamond is the same as a 50 point diamond or a half-carat diamond.
As a rule, the larger the carat, the more valuable the diamond. But two diamonds of the same weight can have very different values, owing to the clarity, colour and cut of each diamond. Larger diamonds are rare and more in demand than smaller diamonds of the same quality. A one carat diamond solitaire ring is nearly always more valuable than a diamond ring made up of multiple diamonds that are similar, but smaller, even though they total one carat or more.
The abbreviation TDW describes the total diamond weight, or the total weight of the diamonds in a piece of jewellery where more than one diamond is used.
For example, a ring made up of four .25ct diamonds has a TDW of 1ct.
Referring to the purity of a diamond, "clarity" measures the presence of blemishes known as "inclusions" in a diamond.
Called nature's "birthmarks" or "fingerprints", inclusions like tiny crystals, clouds, or feathers are the natural identifying characteristics of a diamond; the fewer the inclusions, the greater the clarity, and the more valuable the diamond. As the number, size and location of an inclusion affects the flow of light through a diamond, causing some of the sparkle to be lost, clarity is an important measure of a diamond's worth.
Many imperfections are not visible to the naked eye and can only be seen by using a 10-power magnification glass. Diamonds are graded on a scale ranging from flawless to imperfect based on the inclusions present in the diamond. Diamonds with inclusions which are visible to the naked eye are graded I1 to I3.
Diamonds with an SI1 or SI2 rating have small inclusions that are still invisible to the naked eye, but easy to spot with a magnifier.
Diamonds graded VS1 or VS2 are flawless to the naked eye with very minor inclusions.
Diamonds that are graded VVS1 to VVS2 are high-quality diamonds with very, very small inclusions that are invisible to the untrained eye, even with a 10-power magnifier.
Very rare and most expensive, diamonds with no inclusions are called flawless (FL) or internally flawless (IF).
The highest-quality diamonds are colourless and reflect light best.
Although many diamonds appear colourless, most have slight tints of yellow or brown which are often impossible to see with the naked eye.
In general, the more colourless a diamond, the more valuable it is. However, diamonds of intense colour, such as pink, blue and red, are considered very valuable due to their extreme rarity. These unusual or intensely coloured diamonds are sometimes referred to as "coloured fancy diamonds".
Fluorescence appears when a diamond is exposed to ultraviolet light, but usually has no effect on a diamond in regular light conditions. On rare occasions, strong fluorescence can alter the appearance of a diamond's colour, causing it to look milky or oily. A diamond with strong fluorescence is usually lower in value than a diamond with little or no fluorescence.
Diamonds are graded on a colour scale ranging from D, colourless and rare, through to Z. A D-grade diamond (blue white) is an absolutely colourless diamond and demands the highest price.
Diamonds graded at E (ice white) or F (fine white) will appear colourless to the naked eye.
Diamonds graded G (white), H (top commercial white), or I (commercial white) are near-colourless and will display a faint yellow tint when viewed against a perfectly white background. The tint is nearly impossible to see once mounted against a metal setting, however, especially if the setting is gold.
Still relatively colourless against a yellow metal, diamonds graded J (top silver), K (top silver), L (silver cape), or M (light cape) are more obviously tinted when matched with a white metal like platinum.
Choice of colour comes down to personal taste. White colours (D-J) look elegant set in white gold or platinum; warmer colours (K-Z) are striking set in yellow gold.
Many consider the cut to be the most important factor when choosing diamond jewellery, as the cut determines the vast majority of a diamond's brilliance.
The cut is the only quality of the four C's not determined by nature, and relies on a skilled craftsman to create the perfect angles, proportions and symmetry of the facets of a diamond, ensuring light is dispersed and reflected creating its sparkle and brilliance.
A well-proportioned cut allows the greatest amount of fire and sparkle to be reflected. If a diamond is cut too deep or too shallow, light escapes through the side or the bottom and the display will be less brilliant. A well-cut diamond is more valuable than a poorly cut stone of the same weight, clarity and colour.
The traditional diamond shape is round brilliant; since a round diamond is symmetrical, it is capable of reflecting nearly all of the light that enters it, ensuring it has the greatest brilliance of all shapes. Non-round-shaped diamonds, known as fancy shapes, include the emerald, oval, princess, marquise, pear and heart shaped cut. Ultimately, the shape of a diamond comes down to personal taste.
Gold Buyer's Guide
"All that glitters is gold!" Gold jewellery is an investment that can last a lifetime, bringing years of pleasure and satisfaction.
Timeless beauty, tantalising and enticing, gold has long been regarded a symbol of wealth and power. First discovered in ancient times, gold is considered one of Earth's most precious metals.
Pure gold jewellery never goes out of style; it retains its value, is long-lasting, can be manipulated into any shape, and has been used for over 6,000 years to make precious jewellery pieces.
Derived from the Indo-European word for "yellow", gold is most notable for its colour. Aside from its extraordinary lustre, gold has amazing physical characteristics, making it ideal for use in jewellery. One ounce of gold (28 grams) can be hammered into just over 17 square meters of extremely thin sheets called gold leaf. Gold does not tarnish or corrode, and can be re-melted and used over again to create fresh designs.
Because pure gold is too soft to handle on its own, other metals are added to the gold, resulting in an alloy; this is a blended mixture ensuring durability necessary for use in jewellery. Most gold jewellery is alloyed with silver, copper, and small amounts of zinc to produce various shades of yellow gold, or with nickel, copper and zinc to produce white gold.
Pink or rose gold is created when zinc alloy is added to gold, while palladium and nickel alloy create white gold, with further enhancement using rhodium plating, producing a highly reflective white surface. Over time and use, the rhodium plating on white gold jewellery may wear off and the white gold will lose its brightness. In this case, it's necessary to have the jewellery re-rhodium plated by your jeweller.
What does 9ct, 18ct or 24ct mean?
Just as gold comes in various colours, it also comes in different purities. The fineness (purity) of the gold is measured in caratage (carat/ct or karat/k, as used in the USA), the term used to describe how pure the gold metal is, not to be confused with carats, the unit of measurement for diamonds and gemstones.
Pure gold is 24 carats, very soft and generally unsuitable for use in jewellery, unless combined with an alloy. The carat indicates how many parts out of 24 in the gold alloy are gold. So, 24ct gold is 24/24 parts gold (in other words, pure gold), and 18ct gold is 18/24 parts pure gold and 6/24 parts other metal. The more alternative metals added to pure gold, the lower the carat.
To break it down even further:
|24ct gold||pure gold|
|18ct gold||75%||18 parts gold, 6 parts of one or more additional metals|
|14ct gold||58.3%||14 parts gold, 10 parts of one or more additional metals|
|12ct gold||50%||12 parts gold, 12 parts of one or more additional metals|
|9ct gold||37.5%||9 parts gold, 15 parts of one or more additional metals|
The majority of our gold jewellery is available in 9ct gold, but we do stock 18ct gold jewellery too. For pieces that will last a lifetime and beyond, buy the highest quality gold jewellery your budget will allow.
Watch Care Guide
Your watch will require care and regular maintenance to ensure its accuracy and to protect its appearance. It is important to note, however, that each brand and model of watch has its own specific care guidelines and you should always refer to the manufacturer's instruction manual or warranty, provided with your watch.
- Avoid water damage to your watch. Check your watch's water resistance and adhere strictly to instructions in your manufacturer's instructions. For information for caring for a water resistant watches, see our section on water resistance. Should water or condensation appear in your watch face, have it checked by a watch specialist.
- Avoid leaving your watch in extreme temperatures as this can cause complications. Generally, extreme heat can shorten the battery life of a quartz watch and extreme cold can cause your watch to gain or lose time.
- Avoid contact with chemicals, solvents and gases, which may cause discolouration, deterioration and damage to your watch.
- Although most watches are, to a degree, shock resistant, do avoid extreme shock or impact to your watch.
- Avoid exposing your watch to strong electric fields or static electricity as the magnetic effect may cause your watch to lose or gain time. For example, wearing a watch to bed where there is an electric blanket may cause problems with the watch. Generally however, most household electrical appliances will not affect your watch.
- If your watch has been worn in salt water and is not designed to avoid corrosion, have it checked by a watch specialist.
- Watches, including their straps, are best cleaned by a watch specialist.
- Have your watch checked and serviced regularly by a watch specialist. The manufacturer's instruction manual will tell you how often you should have your watch serviced. All stores are able to send watches away for specialist care.
Watch Water Resistance
The term water resistance refers to the watch's ability to withstand splashes of water to varying degrees. Water resistancy is tested in "still", or static, conditions. So, if you dive into a pool wearing a watch which is 50 metres water resistant, the pressure impacted upon the watch on hitting the water will be far greater than that experienced at a 50 metre static test. Therefore, the number of metres shown on a watch face does not indicate the depth that the watch can be taken to, but rather the static pressure it can sustain.
Only watches marked "Divers" on the dial should be used for diving, as they fully comply with the international standards for divers watches.
Watch manufacturers use other terms to measure water resistancy:
- A.T.M. (atmosphere), where 1 A.T.M. is the equivalent to pressure at 10 metres below the surface
- Bar, where 1 bar is equivalent to pressure at 10 metres below the surface.
Caring for a Water Resistance Watch
- The buttons on a water resistant watch must not be pressed whilst the watch is under water or still wet.
- Do not pull out the winder whilst the watch is under water or still wet.
- If the case, glass or seal is damaged, the watch should no longer be regarded as water resistant.
- If a watch is exposed to seawater, it should be washed well in fresh water and wiped dry.
Batteries should be changed by the manufacturer or approved service agent so that the seal can be checked and renewed if necessary. If this is not done, the watch will no longer be guaranteed water resistant.
|Water Resistant||50m 5 bar||100m 10 bar||150m 15 bar||200m 20 bar||1000m 100 bar|
|Still Water Swimming||✗||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Diving (such as into a pool) Swimming, Snorkeling, Water Sports||✗||✗||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Recreational Scuba Diving*||✗||✗||✗||✗||✗||✓|
|Professional Deep Sea Diving*||✗||✗||✗||✗||✗||✓|
* Only where the watch has a screw down crown.
Once you have an idea about the style of watch you want, you may want to think about its movement. This determines its accuracy.
The movement operates only when the mainspring is tensioned by the winding of the crown. This power is then slowly released from the mainspring as it unwinds which in turn drives the hands of the watch.
An automatic watch has a movement similar to a mechanical watch, but it 'self winds' using the movement of the wearer. A small pendulum or weight in the back of the watch moving as the wearer moves their arm. As the pendulum moves around an axel, tiny gears transmit this movement to the mainspring. The winder or crown is retained as a feature so that the time and date can be altered manually. (It is worth noting that automatic watches may not be suitable for everyone, as they require enough body movement to generate the power required to wind the mainspring sufficiently and thus maintain the correct time). Mechanical and Automatic movements are generally far less accurate than quartz, losing or gaining anything up to 30 seconds/day.
A module powered by a synthetic crystal, made to oscillate by an electric current supplied by a tiny battery. A very precise and accurate time measurement, usually within + or - 20 seconds/month.
An innovative movement of micro-electronics that responds to the wearer's wrist action to store energy, maintaining quartz accuracy. The watch "sleeps" to conserve energy if not worn for 72 hours but wakes up when shaken and immediately returns to the correct time. Developed by Seiko.
A quartz movement but with a solar panel covering the entire watch face, converts light from any source, whether it is sunlight or artificial light, to electrical energy. With regular exposure to light, the "battery" is constantly recharged, thereby allowing the watch to run continuously. The frequency to which the watch must be exposed to light to maintain accuracy is dependent on the model and capacity of the rechargeable battery.