Diamonds are incredible gemstones and we have to single them out to help you understand why they are regarded as such a timeless natural wonder and how they are priced. In the jewellery industry we commonly speak of the 4 C’s in diamonds that determine their value and price. So we are going to unpack each of the four C’s individually: Carat (size), Cut, Clarity & Colour.
Diamond carat actually refers to the weight of a diamond... and consequently the size of the diamond.
*The term carat can refer to 2 different things: carat in relation to metals, refers to the purity of the metals, but in gemstones terms, carat refers to the weight (and consequently the size) of the gemstone.
Here is a quick indication of what the different diamond sizes will look like in real life when worn on a finger. Diamond prices escalate dramatically as the ct weight increases.
The quality of the diamond’s cut consists of various aspects such as the symmetry and individual facets of the diamond to reflect all light that enters the diamond back to the viewer.
You get various different cuts or shapes as some refer to them. See Image Below:
Any stone that is not a Round Brilliant Cut is referred to as a ‘fancy’ cut diamond.
When a stone is cut too deep, the stone will appear darker in the centre. Cutters might do this to retain some weight and be able to charge more for a diamond.
When a stone is cut too shallow, it might become a ‘window’ stone where you can see right through the diamond and it doesn’t reflect all the light (Blue gemstone on the right).
Clarity is simply the inclusions or ‘imperfections’ that are present in a diamond and happen during the formation of the diamond in nature. Each diamond is unique, like a fingerprint. Hardly any 2 diamonds will have similar inclusions in exactly the same spot and exactly the same inclusion. So this makes each diamond very unique and even more proof of its wonder. It’s important to note that natural and lab grown diamond inclusions can differ, so the inclusions of a diamond can also in most cases prove its authenticity.
A very sophisticated way has been developed to identify a diamond's clarity based on various factors such as how many inclusions a diamond has and where they are located on the diamond. Very few natural diamonds are flawless, as there are always imperfections in nature. Thus, if you buy a flawless diamond, it usually comes at a premium price. After a Flawless diamond, the next diamond clarity grade is called a VVS diamond which stands for Very, very slightly included. VVS1 is clearer than a VVS2. Next up is a VS1 and VS2 diamond (Very Slightly included), then SI1, SI2 and SI3 diamonds (Very Slightly Included) and lastly I1, I2 and I3 diamonds (Included).
When buying a diamond, it’s good to know what you want and what is important to you.
Salt & Pepper Diamonds
Lately, there has been a spike in the market for Salt & Pepper Diamonds. In actual fact these are highly included diamonds being sold for very reasonable prices compared to clear diamonds. As you can see from the photos below, all the inclusions are visible with the naked eye and would for the most part be an I3 clarity or even lower.
One should take care when setting highly included diamonds as they might crack or break when too much pressure is placed on the included area. eg. if a metal claw is placed on a large inclusion of the diamond. You wouldn’t like your diamond to break when setting it. However it is also important to note that if you set a diamond on a weak point which is undetectable to the naked eye, it can also break or cleave (a ‘slice’ will come off. Nevertheless, these are popular with good reason. They are unique and beautiful in their own unique way and still have a 10/10 hardness which is great for everyday wear.
Photo credit: Rose and stone Diamond store
The traditional guide for diamond colours vary (like the alphabet) from a D colour (whitest) to a Z colour (yellow) and the price correlates with this scale. The whiter a diamond is (closer to a D colour) the more valuable it is. The difference between a D coloured diamond and an E colour for example can literally double the price, but to the naked eye there might be a very small difference, even difficult to see. The more yellow the diamond is, the less valuable it is. Once the diamond becomes very yellow (Z+), it is classified as a fancy coloured diamond and that comes at a very high premium.
Fancy Coloured Diamonds
Diamonds can naturally occur in many different colours: black, grey, blue, green, purple, pink, red, brown, orange, yellow and green. And diamonds that are not colourless are referred to as ‘Fancy’ coloured diamonds.
Different colour diamonds
Many Jewellers stock GIA (Gemmological Institute of America) or EGL (Gemmological Laboratory) certified diamonds. They are the two most acclaimed and trusted certifications internationally, but the GIA is known as the “Rolls Royce” of diamond certifications. It is the most user friendly certification when dealing with international clients as they are often familiar with the institution. There are also other certifications such as the HRD, DIA, IDL etc. There are other local diamond certifications, however we prefer to stick with GIA and EGL due to their trusted reputation and quality.
Diamond Pricing Guide
When you are selecting a diamond to buy, there are a few things you can consider to get the best value for your money. Here are some tips for each aspect:
- Clarity: usually you want to make sure that a diamond is eye-clean, meaning that there are no inclusions visible with the naked eye that would ‘bother’ the wearer. Eye clean diamonds usually fit within the VS-SI Each diamond still has to be inspected as they will always differ. However, in the end it’s a personal decision, some people prefer not to have many inclusions in their diamonds and they shouldn’t be visible either and then some people don’t mind the little bit of imperfection. As mentioned, before the imperfections or inclusions are mother nature’s stamp on these wonderful stones.
- Colour: If you are placing your diamond in a white gold ring, we advise buying a whiter diamond (eg. G-I colour), but when you are placing a diamond in a yellow or rose gold setting, a I-K colour diamond would still appear white in the setting. Below you can see that a J-coloured diamond with a yellowish tinge is more visible in a white gold setting than in a yellow gold setting.