Cut, clarity, colour and carat: these are the qualities that most influence the price of your stone. Understanding them will give you a sliding scale to compare different stones, work out your budget and get the best value for your money.
The most important of the 4Cs, cut gives your stone its ‘wow’ factor: its sparkle. Cut determines your diamond’s ability to handle light.
A properly cut diamond has ‘fire’ – it brilliantly absorbs and reflects light via the top of the stone
Combine beauty and value by choosing a lower carat stone in a superior cut
Get the most value for your budget by focusing on cut over colour and clarity
GS Diamonds cut grade snapshot: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair.
The second most important is colour, or a lack thereof. The less colour in your stone, or the ‘whiter’ it appears, the rarer considered to be.
After sparkle, colour is usually the second thing you’ll notice about a diamond
Grade D is considered the most colourless, but you can consider an H or I – if you are price conscious
GS Diamonds colour grade snapshot: D, E-F, G-H, I-J, K-M.
The third most important quality is carat. Not to be confused with size, carat refers to the diamond’s total weight.
Diamond prices jump significantly at full- and half-carat weight points (e.g. 1.0ct, 1.5ct, 2.0ct).
Small variations in carat weight aren’t obvious to the eye but can greatly affect the cost
GS Diamonds carat range can be anywhere from 0.2 up to 10.0
Finally, consider the clarity, or flawlessness, of your stone. Bear in mind that most imperfections aren’t visible to the untrained eye.
Clarity is considered the least important of the 4Cs as it doesn’t affect the diamond’s visual impact. Like most things in nature, diamonds are rarely perfect.
Remember: the cut of a diamond can go a long way in disguising any natural flaws
Combine beauty and value: if you look at a diamond and can’t see any flaws without magnification, you can probably choose a lower clarity grade. While an SI clarity grade isn’t necessarily 100% eye clean, some flaws are hardly noticeable
GS Diamonds will only sell diamonds that are above SI2 grade. This ensures you get a diamonds that is an clean to the eye.
While the 4Cs are important – you need know what you’re buying – your fiancee isn’t going to be analysing the VVS2 status of her diamond or picking apart non-visible flaws. What she is going to be doing is proudly flashing a sparkly, beautifully crafted ring that was designed just for her.
This is where shape comes in. Picking a diamond shape should be fun – after all, it’s your opportunity to find a design that really suits her personality and style. Here are how the different shapes compare in terms of cost:
Round: usually more expensive than fancy shapes due to market demand, their unbeatable sparkle and cost of production
Emerald: accentuates the stone’s clarity, so can fall on the more expensive end of the spectrum.
Asscher: a signature cut known for its superior sparkle.
Princess: can be a great alternative to a Round shape
Cushion, Oval: usually less expensive than Princess
Trillion, Pear, Marquise, Heart: less expensive due to lower market demand.
Not only can they appear larger than a round shape, fancy shapes are often significantly more affordable than round shapes, and are becoming an increasingly popular choice, particularly in vintage-style rings.
Do your research and don’t buy from just anyone. Your retailer should be able to provide you with any and all required information and/or education.
Conflict-free diamonds: buy from retailers who deal only in ethically-sourced stones from legitimate sources that are in compliance with United Nations resolutions
Happy customers: find a retailer who has positive customer reviews and feedback, and who stands out for exceptional customer satisfaction
Good refund policy: look for a fair refund and exchange policy, or guarantee
Diamond grading reports: only buy diamonds that are accompanied by a grading report from the GIA
User-friendly website: an easy-to-use website means the retailer cares enough to ensure their customers’ shopping experience is a good one.