Education

Know Your Diamonds

Carat

carat example
  • While most people think this refers to the size, Carat is actually a measurement of diamond weight. Diamond prices increase with Carat weight, as heavier diamonds are rarer. But between two diamonds of the same Carat, the other Cs determine the value.
  • Purchasing Tip: Look for diamonds that fall just under popular Carat weights such as 0.50 ct. 0.70 ct., 0.90 ct., 1 ct., etc. These will give you the best value for a slight difference in appearance from those with higher Carats.

Clarity

clarity example
  • Determined through the number, size, relief, nature, and position of internal and eternal characteristics found in a diamond. The less ‘imperfections’ a diamond has, the higher its value.
  • Purchasing tip: If you really prefer a diamond with very little imperfections, choose a VVS1-VVS2 Clarity based on the GIA scale. Otherwise, VS1-VS2 diamonds are preferred by many, as they appear flawless to the untrained eye. Remember that the larger the diamond, the more obvious Clarity is. The cut should also be a consideration: brilliant cuts (round, princess, cushion, oval, pear, and marquise) hide imperfections better than step cuts (emerald and asscher).

Colour

colour scale
  • Based on how white or colourless a diamond is, graded from a scale of D to Z, with D being the most colourless and Z containing noticeable brown or yellow tint. Only applies to white diamonds, not fancy coloured diamonds (yellow, pink, blue or other coloured diamonds).
  • Colour is usually reviewed in relation to the setting. The mounting also makes a difference in its effect. It is generally difficult for people to distinguish the Colour unless compared with other loose diamonds.
  • Purchasing tip: Choose the colour based on the size. For diamonds over 1 carat, choose D-H diamonds, while diamonds less than 1 carat can have I-J. This is because Colour is more apparent when dealing with bigger pieces. All in all, prioritise cut over colour: even a lower Colour diamond can have beautiful sparkle with high grade Cut, whereas the opposite is not as attractive.

CUT

cut example
  • The highest, most important consideration as it determines the diamond’s brilliance (reflection of light), fire (white light scattered into rainbow colours), polish (smoothness of facets), and symmetry (alignment of facets).
  • A diamond cut with the right proportions bounces off light from the top, rather than leaking through the bottom or the side.
  • The GIA grades a diamond’s cut through a scale:
    • Excellent: Maximum fire and brilliance, reflects most light that enters the diamond, resulting to incredible sparkle.
    • Very Good: Reflects light closer to the excellent cut, can look almost the same to the untrained eye, excellent value compared to other cuts.
    • Fair/Good: Reflects most light that enters, but still with reduced fire and brilliance. For diamonds of less than 0.75 carats, this grade is acceptable as the variation in sparkle is subtle.
    • Poor Cut: Most light that enters escapes from sides or bottom. Tends to appear dull or glassy, noticeable even to untrained eyes.
  • Purchasing tip: Consider the cut above all else. Round diamonds would do well with a grade of Very Good or Excellent. For those on a budget, Fair/Good cut could be a good choice – the slight decrease in brilliance gives room for a significant increase in size for the same price.