How to Choose Your Diamond – An Insider’s Guide on Selecting a Diamond for Your Engagement Ring
HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR DIAMOND
In an ideal world with unlimited budgets and an infinite supply of diamonds, everyone would have beautifully cut “D Flawless” diamonds. In the real world every diamond is unique. There are plenty of gorgeous diamonds to go around – you just need to know how to find one.
Choosing a diamond is about balancing several factors to make the most of your budget. Each factor contributes to the beauty and prestige of your diamond. I will explain these factors so you will be prepared to make an informed decision about your diamond purchase.
FACTOR 1: CARAT WEIGHT
People often use the word Carat when discussing how big a diamond is, however “Carat” actually refers to the weight of a diamond.
There is no rule as to what carat weight you should buy, but you’ll doubtless have heard that “bigger is better.” If you ask me, I think bigger is great but you shouldn’t forget about the other aspects of a diamond’s quality.
A useful tip: if you’re looking at Certified Diamonds, you may find it valuable to compare the diameters of different diamonds. Since every diamond is individually cut, some may appear larger than others of the same weight.
FACTOR 2: SHAPE
Approximately 75% of diamonds sold worldwide are Round Brilliants. Rounds diamonds are the most popular, most brilliant, and most expensive. If you are purchasing a diamond as a surprise, Round Brilliant is generally your safest bet.
There is no real hierarchy of shapes being better or worse – it is truly a matter of personal preference. Princess Cuts are the second most popular, and a classic alternative to round diamonds. Cushion Cuts are trendy and have a beautiful vintage look. If you want something different but not too crazy, try an Oval Cut, Asscher Cut, or Radiant Cut diamond.
While no shape is better, there are some significant differences between shapes. Take for example, the radiant cut vs the emerald cut. Though they are a similar shape, the extra facets of the radiant cut give it additional fire and sparkle. If you prefer the emerald cut’s understated elegance, consider that it’s easier to spot any imperfections and select a higher clarity grade.
Another tip: Diamonds (even round diamonds) may not be perfectly symmetrical. It’s nothing to worry about if your diamond’s width does not precisely match its height, but if your diamond is much longer than it is wide it may not be what you’re expecting. This is especially the case in shapes like Cushion and Oval, where a more asymmetrical diamond might look “skinny”, with much of the fire and brilliance concentrated at the ends.
FACTOR 3: CUT
“Cut” refers to a diamond’s finish and proportions, and is critical in determining its beauty. Getting the angles right ensures a beautiful diamond that’s full of life. In many diamond price cases it can be more difficult to spot flaws in a fiery, brilliant diamond.
Cut is generally graded in five categories: Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, and Excellent. Excellent is the highest graded awarded by GIA (whereas other labs may use terms like “ideal” or numbers like “0”). If you want to play safe, stick to “Very Good” and “Excellent” cuts when you choose your diamond.
FACTOR 4: CLARITY
Almost all diamonds have naturally occurring features called “inclusions.” Inclusions form as the diamond crystallizes deep underground, and they are unique to each diamond. They take many different forms, and can help you identify a diamond as your own. However, large and prominent inclusions can detract from the beauty of a diamond.