It’s no secret that diamonds are becoming increasingly popular for engagement rings and other fine jewelry. Besides, this precious gemstone is also an excellent investment. Because of this, the demand for diamonds has never been higher.
Purchasing a diamond must be well-thought-out, whether for your big day, a special gift, or an investment. That means buying carefully and cautiously before heading to a jewelry store. After all, a diamond is a significant purchase, and you’ll want to be sure you’re getting the best value for your money. To help you choose the perfect diamond, here are eight factors to consider before making a purchase:
1. Carat Weight
This factor is probably the first thing in your mind when considering a diamond purchase. Carat weight is the measurement of how much a diamond weigh. One carat equals 200 milligrams (about 0.007 of an ounce). The weight can have a significant impact on the value and appearance of the stone.
However, it’s essential to note that bigger diamonds don’t always mean larger carat weight. That means two diamonds of the same carat weight can have different sizes. This is because a diamond’s diameter depends on its depth, and two stones with different depths can have the same carat weight but different diameters.
2. Cut Quality
The cut is what gives a diamond its shape and determines how well it interacts with light. A well-cut diamond will reflect light internally and appear sparkly, while a poorly cut diamond may appear dull and lifeless.
There are plenty of different cuts to choose from, each with its unique appearance. The most popular cut for engagement rings is the round brilliant cut, which has 57 facets (the small flat faces on a diamond’s surface). This particular cut is designed to maximize the diamond’s fire and brilliance.
You may also consider loose diamonds, where you can mix and match different cuts to create a unique accessory piece. Other cuts include ovals, emeralds, pears, marquises, Asscher, and more.
Clarity measures how many blemishes or inclusions (internal flaws) are present in a diamond. The fewer blemishes or inclusions, the higher the clarity grade and the more valuable the stone will be.
Most diamonds have some blemishes or inclusions, but they should be invisible to the naked eye. Anything that can be seen is considered a flaw and will result in a lower clarity grade.
To help you get an idea of what to expect, here are some diamond clarity grades:
- Flawless (FL): No blemishes or inclusions can be seen under 10× magnification. It’s considered the highest clarity grade and is very rare.
- Internally Flawless (IF): It’s the second-highest clarity grade and means no inclusions can be seen under 10x magnification, but some surface blemishes may be present.
- Very Very Slightly Included 1-2 (VVS1-VVS2): These diamonds have minute inclusions that are difficult for a trained gemologist to see under 10× magnification.
- Very Slightly Included 1-2 (VS1-VS2): Inclusions are visible under 10× magnification but these are not usually visible.
- Included 1-3 (I1-I2-I3): Inclusions are noticeable to the naked eye and can affect the diamond’s transparency and brightness.
4. Color Grade
Some people may think of diamonds as colorless, but they come in various colors. The most valuable diamonds are considered ‘colorless’ or close to it and are graded on a scale from D (no hue) to Z (a yellowish tint).
Colorless diamonds are rare, so you may need to settle for a diamond with a slight hue if you’re on a budget. The good news is that even diamonds with a yellow or brown tint can be beautiful. Note that the more color a diamond has, the less valuable it will be.
Polish refers to the smoothness of a diamond’s surface and how well the facets (the small faces on the stone’s surface) interact with light. A diamond with a high polish grade will appear shiny and lustrous, while a diamond with a low polish grade may not have the same sparkle.
It’s judged on a 6-point scale from Excellent to Poor. This is another aspect you may not be able to see with the naked eye, but it can affect a diamond’s overall appearance. You may ask your jeweler for more information about the diamond’s polish grade so you can make an informed decision.
Diamond symmetry refers to how well the facets are aligned and how well the diamond is proportioned. That means the angle and size of each facet are identical on both sides of the diamond.
A diamond with good symmetry will have evenly spaced facets and appear balanced. Meanwhile, a diamond with poor symmetry may have misshapen facets and look lopsided, and the light may exit through the side or bottom of the stone instead of the top.
You can attest to its symmetry by looking at it from different angles. If the diamond sparkles equally from all sides, it has excellent symmetry. The light bounces off the facets in a regular pattern, which creates that desired gleam. A lack of symmetry may jeopardize a diamond’s beauty and value.
Fluorescence is a property of diamonds that causes them to emit a soft glow when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. This effect is caused by trace amounts of nitrogen in the diamond’s structure.
Approximately 25% to 35% of diamonds have some level of fluorescence. It’s usually not visible to the naked eye but can be seen under UV light, such as in a blacklight. In some cases, fluorescence can make a diamond appear milky or hazy. This is often the case with diamonds with strong fluorescence.
Some people prefer diamonds with fluorescence because they make the stone appear brighter and more vibrant. However, others believe that fluorescence can affect a diamond’s overall quality.
It’s a no-brainer that you should only buy a diamond with a certificate from a reputable gemological laboratory. This document guarantees that the diamond is genuine and has been graded according to industry standards.
The Gemological Institute of America and the American Gem Society are the most well-known labs. These institutions are known for their unbiased diamond evaluations. Hence, you can be confident that the grades on their certificates are accurate.
Refer to this comprehensive guide to choosing the perfect diamond when you finally purchase one. Keep in mind these factors when shopping for a diamond. Additionally, you’re sure to find the stone of your dreams with research on the side.