How to Buy Diamond Jewelry
UNDERSTANDING THE 4 C's
When carefully selecting a diamond, there are many important characteristics to consider – namely, cut, carat, colour and clarity. Understanding these key features is extremely important in making the best decision for your jewelry item.
While many people believe this is the shape of the diamond, diamond “cut” refers to how a diamond’s facets allow light to enter, and encompasses the angles, proportions, polish and symmetry.
A carat is a measurement of weight, and while many believe that the higher the weight, the more valuable the diamond, there are many other factors which need to be considered when determining a diamonds’ worth.
For this reason, Istana Jewellers always chooses diamonds that are cut in order to maximise the stone’s beauty and not to maximise carat weight.
Diamond clarity is a measure of purity and rarity of stones, and imperfections and inclusions occur naturally in all stones. The amount and visibility of these characteristics is ranked on a scale of clarity from Flawless to Included by GIA (Gemological Institute of America). It’s useful to note that not all imperfections are visible with the naked eye, and differences between each grade can be extremely subtle.
Graded on a colour scale, colours range from D (colourless) through to Z, where the scale goes from Colourless to Near Colourless, Faint Yellow, Very Light Yellow and Light Yellow. Colourless diamonds are extremely rare and therefore the most valuable, however, high quality diamonds are available through each category of colour.
The round brilliant is one of the most popular diamonds on the market. It has a perfectly symmetrical shape and offers unrivaled brilliance, and are the only shape which GIA provides with a ‘Cut Grade’. Purchasing an “Excellent” cut is extremely important when buying round diamonds, as this characteristic greatly impacts how sparkly the diamond seems. When purchasing ‘Excellent’ cut diamonds, this helps to diminish colour and clarity, allowing buyers to be more flexible on these characteristics.
Fun fact: Round diamonds are generally the most expensive shaped diamond per carat as the diamond cutter loses the most rough diamond during the process.
An Emerald cut diamond is extremely unique thanks to the step cuts of its pavilion and large, open table. Contrary to the Round brilliant with it’s sparkle, Emerald cuts provide a hall-of-mirrors effect. Both Emerald and Asscher cuts can help to mask colour variants, however inclusions are more prominent in Emerald cut diamonds. It is recommended to purchase clarities that are VS2 or higher. When compared to Asscher cuts, Emerald cut diamonds elongated shape make the diamond appear larger on a like-to-like scale.
Pear-cut diamonds are named as a result of their single point and rounded edge. The unique shape, much like Oval cut diamonds, have a lengthening and slimming effect on the wearer’s fingers, especially when the diamond has an elongated length-to-width ratio. Like Oval cut diamonds, Pear cuts can also have a bow tie effect, when the light doesn’t bounce into the middle of the diamond. Pear cut diamonds appear larger than their carat weight, mask inclusions very well however can show warmth in the tip in lower colour variants.
With straight edges and cut corners, just like the Emerald cut, Radiant cut diamonds have brilliant faceting. Hiding colour and clarity very well, Radiant cut diamonds provide excellent value. Elongated Radiants appear larger than square Radiants, making them a better value when considering price per carat when choosing between the two.
When purchasing a Heart shaped diamond, it is important to look for symmetry. The cleft (the indentation between the two lobes) should be distinct, and the sides which curve down to a point should have a slightly rounded shape. Available in a variety of silhouettes, from narrow to fat, the choice of which silhouette to select should come down to personal preference.
Oval cut diamonds and their elongated shape helps to create the illusion of a greater size, while the shape of the diamond helps to elongate and slim your fingers. Similar to round brilliant diamonds, Oval cut diamonds can hide clarity well, but can show a warmer colour in the ends in lower colour grades.
It is important to note that most Oval cut diamonds possess a ‘bow tie’ effect in the middle of the diamond, and this can vary from invisible to severe. The visibility of the bow tie effect cannot be determined from a diamond certificate or by analysing the diamonds’ dimensions, and can only be detected from visual inspection.
Also known as a square cut Emerald, an Asscher is a step cut diamond which hides colour very well, but will highlight inclusions in SI clarities. Their large step facets, high crown and small table allow them to produce more brilliance than Emerald cuts.
There are two types of Cushion cut diamonds – Cushion Modified Brilliant and Cushion Brilliant. A Cushion Modified Brilliant has an extra row of facets, providing a crushed ice appearance, whilst a Cushion Brilliant has larger, fewer facets and sparkles similarly to Round Brilliant. Cushions can hide inclusions very well, and have a soft, pillow shape.
As a result of their large, crown surface, Marquise diamonds appear larger than other shapes of the same carat weight, therefore, they are a good choice when maximizing the perceived size of a diamond.
Due to their elongated shape, Marquise cut diamonds are extremely flattering on the finger, however, in order to not appear too narrow, it is ideal to find a Marquise cut with a wider ‘belly’.
With sharp corners, a Princess cut diamond appears like an inverted Pyramid from the profile view. Extreme brilliance allows the Princess cut diamond to mask inclusions. During setting, it is important to protect each corner with a prong as this area is the most likely to get chipped.
Ethically Sourced Diamonds
In line with the global diamond industry, Istana Jewellers has a zero-tolerance policy with conflict diamonds. Measures such as The Kimberley Process, which requires certifications through each step of the diamond mining supply chain, tracing the diamond from mine to market are followed when sourcing diamonds for jewelry produced by Istana Jewellers. The industry in partnership with the United Nations, governments and non-government organizations, regulates diamond exports in order to prevent the trade of illegal diamonds.
When purchasing diamonds, Istana establishes relationships with respected suppliers who have the same vision of enforcing standards set out by the Kimberley Process. We endeavour to support any processes that uphold the legitimacy of the diamond trade. As diamonds can be mined worldwide, providing a defining source of income in many African nations through employment.
For more information, please visit DiamondFacts.
What is the Kimberly Process?
The Kimberley Process is an International process to track and certify diamonds throughout each stage, from mining to end user sale, ensuring conflict diamonds don’t enter the global diamond trade. As the UAE is a participating nation in the agreement and Kimberley Process is actively enforced at customs, all stones used in our jewelry has been marked as conflict free.