For most people, buying a diamond is the largest purchase they’ll make after a home and a car. And like those two other purchases, buying a diamond can be daunting. First you need to know what kind of diamond you want and then you need to understand what kind of diamond you can afford.
Buying a diamond is not simply about choosing the biggest and clearest one in your budget. By understanding how diamonds are cut, what colour and clarity really mean and what size carat you need, you’ll know where to skimp and where to go big.
Clarity refers to the tiny imperfections, called inclusions, in diamonds which make them a one of a kind. A diamond with inclusions can work in your favour when managing your budget because your jewellery designer can help you find a diamond with inclusions that will be completely undetectable once set in your jewellery design. For example, a diamond with a slight inclusion on one side will appear flawless when hidden by a ring’s setting, saving you the cost of buying a higher clarity diamond.
Colour actually refers to the lack of colour in a diamond and it’s rated on a scale of D to Z from colourless to coloured. While your instinct may be to choose a near-colourless stone, a knowledgeable jewellery designer can guide you towards a stone that complements your chosen metal. For example, if your diamond will be set in platinum, a near-colourless stone is important, otherwise the diamond’s yellowness will be amplified. However, if the diamond is being set in yellow gold, the stone will reflect the colour of the metal, allowing you to choose a yellower stone without compromising the look of the final product.
Carat is the one C that most people know best as it refers to the weight of the diamond. But a larger carat does not mean a better stone. One way to optimize your budget is by putting more value in the other three Cs and choosing a diamond weight that is slightly less than you may have initially been considering.
Cut is the most overlooked factor in diamond selection. It determines how light is distributed within the stone to create the stones fire. Cut is where you want to go big when it comes to your budget. An excellent cut, ¾ carat stone (faint colour) with slight inclusions can reflect more light than a larger, colourless, very slightly included, poor cut stone. One will distribute light, the other will appear lifeless.
Remember, each of the four Cs play a part in the overall beauty of your diamond and they are what make your diamond unique. It’s the combination of all four that determine your diamond’s value and rarity.