Diamond Buying Guide

A diamond's beauty, rarity and price are determined by an interplay of the 4C's Cut, Clarity, Colour and Carat weight. The 4C's are used through out the world to classify diamonds, and helps you to compare individual diamonds. It is an easy way to learn about the qualities you need to look at when buying a diamond, which is a life long investment.

One of the first things you will need to do is establish a budget, which should be based on your income as well as your knowledge of diamonds (the 4C's), so you have a good idea of what you can afford and what you want to spend.

Make sure that you have a guarantee, that you get what you have paid for, in the means of a valuation (by a registered valuer) or a diamond certificate (by a recognized and trusted source eg. GIA- Gemmological Institute of America, Gem studies Laboratory, or the DCLA- Diamond Certification Laboratory of Australia) bearing the stones recognizable, individual characteristics.

The 4C's

A diamond's brilliance, fire and ultimate beauty depends heavily on its cut. A well cut diamond of perfect proportions and angles will reflect light internally from one facet to the other, which is dispersed and reflected through the top of the stone. Diamond's that are cut too deep or too shallow, loose light through the bottom or side of the stone, resulting in less brilliance, and ultimately less value.

Cut also refers to shape, apart from the traditional round shape- termed round brilliant cut (57 facets cut at angles which allow total internal reflection) there are fancy shapes, square usually termed princess, pear, heart, oval, marquise, trilliant and emerald cut- (rectangle with corners cut off), which have their own guide lines, to be considered well cut.

Clarity is the presence of inclusions, which are inner flaws which occur during the formation of a diamond. The visibility, numbers and size of these inclusions, viewed through 10x magnification, determine the clarity, which is ranked on a scale ranging from (F) which is flawless to (P3) Pique which is heavily included and visible with the naked eye. Inclusions affect the brilliance and price of diamond. A diamond that is flawless is usually an investment stone, and a heavily included diamond is usually not very attractive. Try to choose a stone that is only slightly included, so beauty and brilliance is not compromised and the stone holds its value over the years to come.

Colourless diamonds are the most desirable as they are traditional, accessible and allow the most refraction of light (sparkle). Although diamonds do come in a variety of colours, intense shades of blue, green, yellow, orange, pink and rarest of all red, they are extremely rare and highly priced.

Colourless diamonds are graded on a scale, which ranges from D (colourless) to Z (yellow). The differences are very subtle, it is very difficult to see the difference between a D and an E, but you will be able to see the difference between a D and a J. For accuracy diamonds are graded under controlled lighting and compared to a master set of stones displaying the full range of colour differences. The grade you choose will come down to personal taste, but on an average H and above would be the most popular choice, due to the diamond still having a white appearance, with very little tint of colour.

Carat is a measurement of weight of a diamond, and is not to be confused with size. One carat equals 200 milligrams. One carat is divided into 100 points.eg. A 0.50 carat is the same as fifty points or half a carat.

Diamonds with a high carat weight are not a common occurrence, and are therefore more are rare, due to that factor; a 2 carat diamond can be priced well over triple the amount of a 1 carat diamond of the same quality.