How to choose your diamond in the rough

Ernest Jones engagement rings

While gifting diamonds is regarded as the perfect way to show another how much you cherish them, getting it right isn’t always as transparent or as simple as it may seem. When it comes to diamonds, there is a whole world to explore. Making sure that a diamond or a piece of diamond jewellery will perfectly suit the recipient’s personality and the occasion won’t be easy as there is a lot to take on board. From which carat or cut to lean towards, to what shape, colour and style to choose. There’s a lot to think about, but it’s worth the effort, because, nothing says it quite like the right diamond.

The crucial elements to consider when making such an investment are known as The 4 C’s of diamonds, they are the cut, carat, colour and clarity of this superior stone. Formulated to guide your decision, while starting with the reason for your investment is sure to help shape your decision, as is knowing that you don’t always have to play by the rules! Whether you’re getting engaged, gifting a loved one on Valentine’s day, or treating your mother – your diamond choice will always be unique – and to help you find the perfect diamond ring, Ernest Jones has built this nifty quiz, basing results on you or your other half’s personality, style and taste. The quiz will determine whether you’re looking for a showstopper, a quirky number or a timeless classic. Meanwhile, let us take you through the key things to consider when choosing your diamond in the rough.

Finding a cut above the rest

Considered as the most important factor in choosing your diamond, the cut of a diamond, is, in fact, relative to its proportions, rather than to its shape, and a good cut will get that superior brilliance that you’re looking for. A correctly cut diamond will allow the light to enter and be dispersed back through the top facets of the stone. Diamonds that are cut too shallow or too deep will inhibit the maximum beauty of the stone to be perceived. The cut can even add value to a diamond if it were to hide or disguise imperfections or to increase the carat weight. Determining the quality of the diamond cut will depend on the symmetrical and proportional outcomes, while even the polish will also add great significance to the finished product.

brilliant cut diamonds

Now you can go fancy

There is an abundance of shapes to choose from, each which have a story to tell, hence how choosing the right one, depends greatly on the individual. The Brilliant Round shaped diamond is the most popular, and the most pricey. Perfectly balanced, cut in a cone shape with a rounded off top, this is the cream of the crop in diamonds. A great choice for the traditional bride to be or for a more classic and timeless look, while there are many other shapes available too. ‘Fancy shapes’, to be precise,  can equally be applauded for their brilliance and character.

fancy diamond rings

Princess shaped diamonds rank highly in popularity for non-round diamonds. They are square in shape and with pointed corners. As length-to-width ratio can vary greatly, you can find more rectangular or square pieces, to suit your personal preference. One thing to bear in mind also when choosing a Princess cut, is that the colour of the diamond may be visible through the pointed ends, so you may want to consider investing more in the colour you’d prefer, over the carat weight for example.

An Oval will appear larger than a Princess cut as it is longer and has a larger surface area, so this can be a good option if you’re looking for a bit of a rock. Other shapes include the Marquise, Emerald or Pear cut which appear visually larger to the eye in comparison to rounder shapes and they are perfect for a more contemporary look too. Ah illusion is a wonderful thing, and beauty is in the eye of the bride or the beholder after all.

Find your true colours

While diamonds can fall within a colour scale, the slight variations in colour will rarely be visible to the untrained eye. The GIA scale (Gemological Institute of America) is the one to go by, rating the body colour in diamonds from D (colourless) to Z (light yellow).

A colourless diamond is one to be treasured, and you should be sure to opt for a specific grade rather than a range as this is sure to be certified by GIA. But should you always favour a colourless diamond? You can find a happy medium for your budget by opting for a higher carat, above a higher grade of colour. Selecting a G-H grade in diamonds that are more than 1 carat is optimum, while I-J will suit a diamond that is less than a carat and J is a good option for fancy shapes.

coloured diamonds

Colour is easier to detect in larger cuts, so opting for a superior cut over colour could increase the brilliance of your diamond. Let’s not ignore the fact however that colour in diamonds can be beautiful, with chocolate tones and even reds available, a coloured diamond can exude character and uniqueness. The setting you choose will also show the true colours of your diamonds, so take all the c’s into account when choosing.

Less carat, more character

While carat holds a significant importance in determining a diamond’s core value, the choice of carat can often be complemented or ameliorated by the cut, colour and clarity. The carat of a diamond, refers to its weight, and the greater weight, increases the rarity of the price and determines its price. An easy measurement to gage, as one carat divides into 100 points. What’s important to bear in mind, is that two diamonds of equal carat weight may in fact greatly differ in value, depending on their cut, colour and clarity. So your 1 carat Marquise may appear bigger than a 1 carat Round are a girls best friend

Therefore, a greater carat diamond may not, in fact, be bigger. Different settings can be used to enhance the splendour of smaller carats as diamond grades are determined against a white background, so the environment and setting in which the diamond will sit, will have a great effect on its overall appearance.

Should you be on a budget but predominantly concerned with the carat weight, you could opt for a yellow gold setting and a brilliant cut diamond that falls within the K-L colour range as the gold of the setting will complement the slight colour of the diamond. Don’t be afraid to give up on more carat, and compensate in another trait of your piece.

Find your clarity

A diamond that is free from surface blemishes and imperfections is a rarity, and therefore incredibly valuable as typically, the fewer inclusions, the greater the beauty of the diamond. Clarity is rated by the GIA too, ranging from flawless (FL), to imperfect (I1). What’s worth bearing in mind is that some inclusions will be near invisible to the eye and while some imperfections could be shunned by a cutter, these could, in fact, be the life and soul of that diamond, giving it personality and pizzazz.

diamond clarity

Character is one that doesn’t fall under the 4 c’s of diamonds, but while a diamond can be categorised with GIA ratings, the uniqueness of every stone is one that can’t be measured other than by the eye of its beholder.

timeless diamonds

Diamonds are forever and when you find the right one, it’ll certainly bring joy to its beholder. An investment for life, so it’s only right that you’ve done a little research on the various paths to go down, now you can stay true to The 4 C’s of diamonds while catering perfectly to the character of the lucky recipient too. Having the weightiest of carats or completely colourless stone isn’t the be all and end all of diamonds, and with your near expert knowledge, plus the help of the Ernest Jones Diamond Finder quiz, it won’t be long before you find that brilliant diamond that’ll last an eternity.

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