It is really important to educate yourself prior to making your diamond purchase. Learn about the 4 C’s (cut, colour, clarity and carat) of diamonds and how they affect the lustre, sparkle, quality and price of the stone.
People usually get confused between Carat and Size. Carat refers to the weight of a diamond. Size refers to the measurement of the diamond in millimetres. If you have a 1ct diamond that is cut very deep, the size of the diamond may look like an 0.80ct stone, however it can still weigh 1ct due to it being a deep stone. If you have a 1ct diamond that is cut very shallow, the size of the diamond may look like a 1.25ct stone, however it can still weigh 1ct due to its shallowness. If you have a well cut diamond, it will look like a 1ct and also weigh 1ct.
When diamonds are cut too shallow or too deep, the diamond will not be very brilliant and in some cases appear dark or empty in the centre.
The clarity of a diamond is based on how many or how few imperfections (known as inclusions) there are in the stone as well as where in the diamond these inclusions occur.
According to GIA, diamond clarity is labelled by the following chart:
Flawless (FL) and Internally Flawless (IF) diamonds have no visible inclusions inside the stone when looking at the stone through a 10x magnification. (IF) diamonds may have some surface marks (blemishes) under 10x magnification
VVS1 and VVS2 clarity diamonds have very tiny inclusions that are extremely to very difficult to see under 10x magnification, even by gemmologists and diamond experts. Some inclusions that may be in a VVS diamond could be a pinpoints, needles or internal graining.
VS1 and VS2 clarity diamonds have slightly larger inclusions than the VVS range. These are difficult (VS1) to somewhat easy (VS2) to see under 10x magnification. Some inclusions that might be in VS diamonds are crystals, cavities or clouds.
SI1 and SI2 clarity diamonds have larger inclusions than the VS range. To the trained eye, these inclusions are easily visible under 10x magnification. Some inclusions that might be on an SI diamond are chips, knots, and feathers.
I1-I3 clarity diamonds have much more pronounced inclusions. These inclusions are easily seen with the naked eye. These large inclusions may also affect the brilliance of the diamond.
NOVA’s recommendation: VS2, SI1 and SI2
Diamond Colour refers to how colourless the stone is. The more colourless (white) the stone is, the more valuable. As we move down the scale, the diamonds start to have more colour in them such as slight tints of yellow or brown which decreases the value of the diamond. The GIA diamond chart grades diamonds from D (colourless) to Z (light yellow or brown). GIA groups diamonds into a number of categories.
D-F grade diamonds are grouped together as colourless. When these diamonds are in a setting, they will all look the same to an untrained eye. To tell the difference, these stones must be loose and compared to each other on a white background.
G,H, I, J (near colourless)
G-J grade diamonds are grouped together as near colourless. When in a setting, they will appear more or less white, however when loose and compared to colourless diamonds, a tint in the stones will be noticeable.
To the untrained eye, diamonds on 1 or 2 colours difference may look very similar.
Nova’s opinion: As D-F colour diamonds look almost identical to the untrained eye, there usually isn’t a great need to get a D colour diamond over an E or F colour diamond if those are what’re available in your preferred shape, cut, clarity, etc.
I-J colour diamonds have a slight tint of yellow in them and are a good “budget stone”. With these colours you are able to get a much larger stone for the same price you would pay on a higher colour stone in a smaller size.
Nova’s Recommendation: E-H colour
The Cut of a diamond is the most important of the four C’s. Cut has the biggest effect on a diamond’s appearance and the amount of sparkle, fire and brilliance will depend on the cut grade of the diamond. If a diamond is not well proportioned, it may be too deep or too shallow and light that enters the stone will leak out the bottom of the diamond instead of bouncing back up. Diamonds that are well cut have light entering, reflecting off all the facets of the diamond and come straight back up, giving the diamond a scintillating appearance. Even a diamond of extremely high quality can still look dull if it lacks a high quality cut grade.Nova’s Recommendation: Very Good to Excellent Cut