An introductory guide for understanding diamonds.
The diamond industry can be a minefield for those who want to buy a diamond ring, questions like ”Where shall I buy from?” ”What type of diamond do I want?” ”What size of stone can I get?” and more importantly ”Who can I actually trust?”
We hope that at DeBretts we can help you solve those problems by giving you information in easy to understand terms so that you can at least feel confident that what your buying is what you want.
You will often see that diamonds are divided into 4 categories known simply as the 4c’s cut, clarity, colour and carat.
At DeBrett’s we think that two more c’s are just as important and they are certification and confidence, these two go hand in hand as we will explain in a while.
A basic introduction into the Four C’s
Simply the way the facets of the diamond are cut in order for them to give the maximum reflection to light. Sometimes you will see Old Cut, European Cut or Brilliant Cut which are terms used to describe the cut of a diamond, there are of course many other types of cut available. The most popular is the Modern Round Brilliant Cut but whatever the cut of the stone the object is for it to reflect light.
As the title suggests it is what you can see inside the diamond if you look with the naked eye and also under magnification (10×1) and anything that can be seen are called inclusions. Inclusions will affect the sparkle of the stone and more importantly the ultimate price of the diamond. The number of the inclusions and their position in the diamond and size can affect this thing we call clarity. A lot of jewellers do not give out these details but tend to give you terminology that you want to hear, like it sparkles well or shines well, broad terms but which are not helpful if you want to know if you are getting value for money.
One of the most important of the 4 c’s is the question of colour or we should say lack of colour in a diamond.
The diamond scale of colour runs from the letter D to Z (the letters A,B and C are not used) and ranges from colourless diamonds which are the most expensive and rarest stones to the heavily tinted stone given the letter Z, from then the diamond changes from tinted to a coloured stone.
Stones in the slightly tinted range are the normal and these tints can be slight yellow or brown and may not be seen other than with the trained eye, please, never rule out a tinted stone because even a stone tinted yellow can be a most attractive stone and may also be without inclusions which will make it a very attractive stone.
Natural yellow stones are expensive as are all of the natural coloured diamonds with red being the most expensive because of it’s rarity. Colour can be put into a diamond by heat treatment and these stones are still sought after as the colourless ones will not command such a high price as a natural coloured stone.
Carat is the weight of a diamond for example a 1 carat stone weighs 0.20 grams, therefore a 2 carat stone will weigh 0.40 grams.
Most of the diamond rings are under a carat or are in multi-stoned rings and so very often the carat weight is given as an approximate weight by measuring the stones in their settings.
We started by off saying that there were two other important c’s and they were certification and confidence and it is fair to say that these go hand in hand.
When you are looking to buy a diamond ring you need to know what it is you are buying, firstly is it a natural diamond or synthetic, what cut is it, what clarity is it and what is the colour, all of these can be guaranteed by having the diamond certified by the Assay Office.
The Assay Office will give a Certification with the diamond which will tell you exactly what you are buying and this will give you confidence knowing that you have paid out your hard earned money and that you are getting exactly what has been described to you, after all that is what we should expect value for money.
Most jewellers (for your smaller diamonds) will give you approximate weight of stone, the approximate colour and the approximate clarity of the stone but when it comes to that expensive purchase, peace of mind will come knowing that you have a certificate from the Assay Office showing you that your diamond has been tested and given the spot on grading that only comes under laboratory conditions.
A quick lesson on the origins and history of diamonds.