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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.

Carat

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.

Clarity

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).

Colour

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.

Cut

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.