A natural (mined) diamond is formed by Mother Nature, the result of the high temperatures and pressures beneath the Earth's crust.
Buying a diamond engagement ring needn’t be intimidating. Of course, it often requires saving a substantial sum of money, especially if you follow the old one-month’s salary mantra. On a symbolic level, it’s a permanent marker of your ever-lasting relationship. So, when you put it that way, you really don’t want to get it wrong.
Luckily, there are some universally agreed rules to follow to ensure you’re making the right investment. From cut and carat, to colour and clarity, the four Cs of diamond quality will help you make the perfect choice.
A diamond’s colour is determined by the presence of other minerals in the carbon when it was first formed, millions of years ago. It is graded on a scale from D (colourless) through to Z (noticeable tint). All things being equal, the more colourless a diamond is, the rarer it is. Colourless diamonds (D to F) will reflect more natural light and therefore appear more brilliant.
Of all of the four C's, cut is considered the most important factor of a diamond’s beauty and brilliance. It affects how it reflects, refracts, and disperses light to make a stone sparkle. The best shape ultimately comes down to the buyer's (or wearer's) preference. The most common is round, but other popular styles include emerald, pear, marquise, princess, oval, and heart. As the only characteristic of the diamond not influenced by nature, the cut is the most open to human error. An accurately proportioned stone will maximise the light it reflects, but bad practise can lead to the opposite. Look out for ‘fire’ – that is, the rainbow flashes of light reflected from within the stone that denotes its brilliance.
Round BrilliantThis cut is favoured by women wanting a traditional look that is timeless.
PrincessThis cut has a square shape. The clean lines and design of a princess cut diamond give the ring a modern look.
OvalThe ideal choice for those who love the sparkle of a round brilliant but would like something more unique.
MarquiseAn oval shape which is tapered to meet in pointed ends and makes for an elegant engagement ring.
HeartA stylish variation of the round brilliant cut, the universal symbol of love in a diamond.
EmeraldThis cut creates a unique look because of the rectangular style facets step-cut into the diamond.
PearA combination of round and marquise cut, the pear cut is elegantly crafted into a tear drop shape.
AsscherA square diamond with large step facets and a high crown that produces a brilliance unlike any other diamond shape.
CushionA square shape with round corners that is more vintage looking whilst still being contemporary.
TrillionA triangular shape comprised of three equal sides with in solitaires or accent stones.
BaguetteBaguette diamonds are long and rectangular or tapered step-cut diamonds and feature 14 facets.
RadiantBeautifully symmetrical and non-traditional, combining the brilliance of the round and purity of the emerald cut.
Diamonds can contain external or internal imperfections known as blemishes, inclusions or ‘nature’s fingerprint’. Clarity is based on to what extent these imperfections are visible. They’re often difficult to see with the naked eye, yet significant imperfections may affect a diamond’s brilliance. The less blemishes and inclusions, the higher the clarity grade, which runs from FL (flawless) to I (inclusions). Of course, every gem is unique, and inclusions shouldn’t automatically be seen as faults, especially when they can barely be seen.
This is the universal way of measuring diamonds, referring to its total weight and not its size. A carat is equal to one-fifth of a gram – which is then divided into 100 smaller units called points. The average size of most engagement rings is between half a carat and one carat. Remember that the carat weight doesn’t always reflect how big the diamond appears. A well-cut diamond with a smaller carat can appear larger than a higher carat diamond that is poorly cut.
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