Diamonds have long been considered a symbol of everlasting love and devotion. The natural brilliance and sparkle of a diamond offers qualities that we all find appealing but the appeal of a diamond goes well beyond these mesmerising physical qualities and into the realm of emotion and sentimentality.
When choosing your perfect diamond engagement ring there are four main aspects to consider alongside your emotional response. These four main points relate to the physical quality of the diamond and are commonly referred to as the four C’s; cut, colour, carat weight and clarity. It is the combination of these four factors that determine the value, rarity and beauty of each individual diamond.
The cut of the diamond relates to the shape of the stone and is the only aspect that is not naturally created. A skilled craftsman will cut the stone to the most suitable shape; whether that is the traditional round brilliant cut or the more elaborate heart shape, the craftsman must assess the stone to determine which would be the best cut for that particular diamond.
Certificated diamonds are assessed on the basis of the ideal cut which ensures rays of light enter the stone and are directed to the centre where they are reflected back up and out of the top of the stone; this ensures maximum fire and brilliance of the diamond.
When picturing diamonds I think we all see the same images containing bright white sparkling stones but in reality diamonds can range in colour from the bright white of our imagination through to a dark yellow.
The range of colours is split into bands to ensure it is easy to grade each individual diamond. The colour bands range from D to Z. D, E and F are considered the most desirable stones and they are the stones of our imaginations, the bright white colourless stones that dominate advertising and celebrity engagements. The further down the scale you go, the more yellow is introduced to the diamond and the more noticeable it becomes.
Clarity is concerned with the small marks that can be seen in diamonds; these are referred to as inclusions and can appear as tiny white feathers or dark crystals. Inclusions are unique to each stone, nearly every diamond will have an inclusion or two and rather than being deemed as a negative point, they only serve to ensure that each diamond is totally unique.
Clarty is divided into grades from I which means included to FL which means flawless. The FL stones are the rarest and most desirable due to the natural brilliance and fire, and this affects the value of the stone.
Carat weight of a diamond refers to the diamonds weight and not the physical size. Due to their rarity, large diamonds are always more expensive than smaller diamonds of the same quality.
Hopefully this guide will provide you with information that will enable you to make an informed, confident and emotional decision about your perfect engagement ring.