Diamond Buying Guide: The 4Cs | Browns
Why you need to know about diamonds
When it comes to buying that all-important piece of diamond jewellery – whether it’s an engagement ring to get down on one knee with or a special gift for a birthday or anniversary – it’s important you understand what affects how a diamond looks and what you need to check for. It ensures you walk away with a stunning diamond that not only suits your budget but that offers the best value for money.Browns’ diamond buying guide should offer everything you need to know, including important things such as a roundup of the different diamond cuts and what to look for when it comes to diamond colour and clarity – as well as the many diamond shapes available and what is the best choice.
Before we begin: Some words to remember
- Inclusions – These are natural occurring flaws within a diamond.
- Brilliance – This word means the colourless light that creates sparkle in a diamond and how much you enjoy is determined by the cut of the diamond and how much light is reflected back in the stone.
- Fire – This is the coloured light that reflects back and what most people associate with the sparkle of a diamond.
The Four CsIf you haven’t heard of the four Cs, they’re essentially a four-step guide to diamond buying that you can refer back to, to check that the stone you are looking to purchase is definitely a good one. They consist of:
Cut +This means the way a diamond is cut from its raw, rough stone to reflect light.
Clarity +Clarity is used to describe whether there are flaws or inclusions in the diamond. These could be black or grey marks in the stone that are completely natural but can dull the stone. They are ideal for coloured diamonds though, as they can intensify the colour.
Colour +Colour actually refers to the colourless of the diamond, with clear stones preferred over ones that look more yellow or even brown.
Carat +Considered perhaps one of the most important things, the carat of the diamond refers to the actual weight of the diamond and is the first thing people look for.
Diamond Colour GuideColour grading actually means how colourless the diamond is – the less colour the better. Diamonds come in a range of shades, from yellows and browns to crystal clear. You’ll be looking for a stone that is as close to colourless as possible. K-Z Usually yellow or even brown, you can clearly see the colour of the diamond. J These diamonds have a slight tint of colour. I These diamonds offer incredible value for money, the colour is not easy to notice and the diamond is still stunning to look at. H – G You will find it hard to detect any colour in this diamond, making it a popular choice for many engagement rings for those with a smaller budget. F One of the best diamonds you can purchase, there will only be minute traces of colour that only an expert could detect. E These diamonds are very rare and the colour is very hard to trace. The diamond appears to be colourless. D This grade is extremely rare and is the highest colour grade you can find in diamonds. At Brown Family Jewellers, we only offer diamonds between the grades of D – P, so you can make your selection knowing that you’ll only be receiving the very best quality for your budget. The best diamonds to buy are graded between D-F but for good value and a good looking diamond you can opt for G-J grades.
Things to consider:
- The bigger the diamond, the easier it will be to see the colour.
- Different shapes can have an affect on how they show colour. Round and princess are better for concealing a coloured diamond, while a shape like an asscher will show up a diamond with a low colour grade. Bear this in mind if you are working with a smaller budget and are considering diamonds that have a little more colour.
- Different gold colours can have an effect on how the diamond appears. Yellow gold is the best choice, for example, if you are choosing a more coloured diamond as it will make the stone’s colour harder to detect.
- If the diamond is colourless, a white gold or platinum setting may be the better choice – as yellow gold could show through and distort the colour.
Why does diamond grading stop at the letter D?The diamond colour grades were created in the 1950s, to regulate diamond grading. D was chosen to be the last letter just in case another diamond was found in the future that was even better! You never know…
Which grade should I buy?If you are looking for a good quality diamond at a reasonable price, then a diamond between H-I is the best choice.
Diamond Clarity GuideClarity is the term used to determine if a diamond has inclusions (imperfections) inside or on its surface. These are completely natural and make every diamond unique but many people prefer a stone that is as free of these as possible, to ensure the largest amount of sparkle. This is why the amount of inclusions can determine a diamond’s worth – the more imperfections there are, the less likely it will be valued highly. Black diamonds are essentially normal diamonds with lots of flaws, enough to change the diamond’s colour to a black shade. Flaws show up as white, grey or even black marks in the diamond and to determine the clarity grade of the stone, experts take the following things into consideration:
- The size of the inclusions
- The amount inside the diamond
- The colour of the inclusions
- Their position within the diamond
FL-IFA flawless diamond, stones with these grades have no visible inclusions when magnified x10.
VVS1-VVS2This diamond will feature a very small inclusion, which can only be found when it is magnified.
VS1-VS2These are one of the most popular choices for diamonds, as they only feature very small inclusions and appear clean to the eye. This does depend on the shape of the diamond though, again asscher cuts can highlight inclusions in a VS2 diamond, like they can with its colour.
SI1-SI2An SI2 diamond is a great choice if you have a smaller budget, as it’s likely you may be able to see the inclusions without magnification but they won’t be too noticeable. SI2 diamonds however will have inclusions that you will always be able to see.
I1The inclusions in these diamonds are easy to see but you can get a much larger diamond for a lower price because of this. It all depends on personal preference.
Which grade should I buy?If you want a near perfect diamond, without inclusions that are visible to the naked eye, then a VS1 or VS2 grade is the best option.
Diamond Cut GuideWhen it comes to diamond cut, most people get this mixed up with shape of the diamond. They are two very different things. The cut of a diamond is one of the most important of the 4 Cs we talked about earlier on. Diamonds are graded differently depending on how they are cut. The aim is to get a diamond to reflect as much light as possible, to ensure it sparkles. These are the different diamond cuts and gradings you will see here on the Brown Family Jewellers website and what they mean: Insert diagrams of light going through shallow, ideal and deep diamond cut
- Shallow – The diamond is not deep enough to reflect light back, and so the light will travel straight through the stone and out of the bottom.
- Ideal – The light will enter the diamond and then reflect back, ensuring brilliant sparkle.
- Deep – This cut will see the light enter but not quite make its way back to reflect up.