The Ultimate Diamond Buyer’s Guide

Know your diamonds and buy what's worth.

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Carat

While most people think this refers to the size, Carat is actually a measurement of diamond weight. Diamond prices increase with Carat weight, as heavier diamonds are rarer. But between two diamonds of the same Carat, the other Cs determine the value.

Purchasing Tip: Look for diamonds that fall just under popular Carat weights such as 0.50 ct. 0.70 ct., 0.90 ct., 1 ct., etc. These will give you the best value for a slight difference in appearance from those with higher Carats.

Clarity

Determined through the number, size, relief, nature, and position of internal and eternal characteristics found in a diamond. The less ‘imperfections’ a diamond has, the higher its value.

Purchasing tip: If you really prefer a diamond with very little imperfections, choose a VVS1-VVS2 Clarity based on the GIA scale. Otherwise, VS1-VS2 diamonds are preferred by many, as they appear flawless to the untrained eye. Remember that the larger the diamond, the more obvious Clarity is. The cut should also be a consideration: brilliant cuts (round, princess, cushion, oval, pear, and marquise) hide imperfections better than step cuts (emerald and asscher).

Colour

Based on how white or colourless a diamond is, graded from a scale of D to Z, with D being the most colourless and Z containing noticeable brown or yellow tint. Only applies to white diamonds, not fancy coloured diamonds (yellow, pink, blue or other coloured diamonds).

Colour is usually reviewed in relation to the setting. The mounting also makes a difference in its effect. It is generally difficult for people to distinguish the Colour unless compared with other loose diamonds. Purchasing tip: Choose the colour based on the size. For diamonds over 1 carat, choose D-H diamonds, while diamonds less than 1 carat can have I-J. This is because Colour is more apparent when dealing with bigger pieces. All in all, prioritise cut over colour: even a lower Colour diamond can have beautiful sparkle with high grade Cut, whereas the opposite is not as attractive.

Cut

The highest, most important consideration as it determines the diamond’s brilliance (reflection of light), fire (white light scattered into rainbow colours), polish (smoothness of facets), and symmetry (alignment of facets). A diamond cut with the right proportions bounces off light from the top, rather than leaking through the bottom or the side.

The GIA grades a diamond’s cut through a scale:

Excellent: Maximum fire and brilliance, reflects most light that enters the diamond, resulting to incredible sparkle.

Very Good: Reflects light closer to the excellent cut, can look almost the same to the untrained eye, excellent value compared to other cuts.

Fair/Good: Reflects most light that enters, but still with reduced fire and brilliance. For diamonds of less than 0.75 carats, this grade is acceptable as the variation in sparkle is subtle.

Poor Cut: Most light that enters escapes from sides or bottom. Tends to appear dull or glassy, noticeable even to untrained eyes.

Purchasing tip: Consider the cut above all else. Round diamonds would do well with a grade of Very Good or Excellent. For those on a budget, Fair/Good cut could be a good choice – the slight decrease in brilliance gives room for a significant increase in size for the same price.

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