a guide to diamonds
How to buy a diamond
Every diamond is unique and when embarking on buying a diamond, you should consider comparing a number of them before making your final decision.
Do some research beforehand and take your time when making the purchase.
Every jeweller should explain everything you need to know to ensure you make the right choice.
We encourage having a private consultation so that you fully understand the process and are given all the information to make an informed decision.
A certificate's grading is only a rough guide and in many cases what looks on paper to be a good diamond, can certainly be far from what we would advise purchasing.
When hand selecting diamonds, we must adhere to the strict criteria.
This is the only characteristic of a diamond that is not influenced by nature. The cut requires a true craftsman to ensure the optimum sparkle is created. The 57 or 58 facets (the tiny planes cut on the diamond surface) are angled and sized to dictate how light reflects and exits the diamond, known as “fire”. If the cut is too deep or shallow, the diamond will be less brilliant.
There are many shapes which diamonds can be cut into, the most popular are Round Cut, but others include Emerald, the Pear, the Marquise, the Princess, the Oval, and the Heart-Shaped.
The most valuable and rare colour is a White diamond, also known as colourless.
We grade absolutely colourless diamonds at “D” and the scale moves up to “Z”, in between these two extremes, diamonds display subtle coloured tones.
Diamonds with a very strong and distinct colour are extremely rare and called fancies. Natural fancy coloured diamonds are highly sought after due to their rarity and uniqueness; only one fancy coloured diamond found per 10 thousand colourless diamonds mined.
When looking at diamonds, ask to use the jeweller’s loupe (magnifying eyeglass) to see the small “inclusions” which look like small clouds or feathers (usually invisible to the naked eye).
These are not necessarily faults but can affect the diamond’s fire. Make sure the stone is graded SI1 (Slightly Included 1) or better, and most expensive, IF (Internally Flawless).
The worst is I3 (Imperfect 3).
The weight and size of a diamond is measured by carat. A carat is equal to 0.2gm, or 200mgm. A carat is divided into 100 smaller units called points.
For example, a quarter of a carat is 25 points. The average size of an engagement-ring diamond is between one carat and half a carat. Don't get confused: the unit of purity for gold is called karat, but these two should not be confused.
How to recognise a quality diamond
To ensure you are being sold a real and untreated diamond make sure that the diamond is a certfied stone: a diamond that has been assessed, graded and coded with a laser by an independent gemmological laboratory.
We will always show you this before any transaction.
Ensure the certificate is universally recognised, the most internationally recognised is GIA (the Gemmological Institute of America).
All the diamonds we use have a GIA certificate which you will receive with the finished item of jewellery.
Also known as Brilliant, this cut is the most popular diamond shape, found in over three-quarters of diamond engagement rings. The brilliance and intense fire of the cut maximises the light refraction and reflection.
Not only are they the most sparking and dazzling shape, they are also timeless, versatile and flattering.
The princess cut is fast becoming one of the most popular cuts as it still holds the sparkle of a round brilliant cut making it the perfect engagement ring centrepiece.
The cut is only about 30 years old and is typically cut square rather than rectangle.
Rounded at one end and tapered at the other, Pear cuts are often referred to as ‘Tear-Drops’. The shape is elegant and feminine with its blend of round brilliant and marquise.
With 56-58 facets it gives off a wonderful sparkle. Ideal to make shorter fingers appear longer.
This 50 facet (surface) shape stone is usually rectangular with bevelled corners. The angles and proportions of the facets cause it to sparkle the least, however this is not to be looked at negatively as it will appeal to people who want a lower key, sophisticated look in an engagement ring.
This cut is often used in Art Deco forms which is increasingly popular for its individuality and creativity.
The 4th most popular cut, the Marquise Cut, has had a come back in recent years.
A slender, beautiful and interesting shape for an engagement ring, it can be set across or along, and in the latter case creates the effect of elongating the apparent length of the finger.
A traditional looking cut that gives as much sparkle as the Brilliant cut.
It can be set both across the finger or lengthwise depending on the preference – both have a striking effect.
Cushion cut diamonds are quite brilliant, but are less brilliant than the Brilliant cut. However, due to their larger facets, they tend to have more fire.
Many people love the high fire of a cushion cut diamond, while others prefer the high overall brilliance of round diamonds.
Developed by Joseph Asscher, who was commissioned by the royal family (King Edward VII) to cut the world’s largest diamond in history. He invented the now-famous Asscher cut, which was most popular in the 1920s, and linked to the Art Deco movement. The cut is a modified version of the emerald cut and more brilliant, you can expect to pay a 10-20% premium for Asscher cut for the exquisite beauty of this cut of diamond.
Our ethical policy on diamonds
We only use Conflict Free Diamonds and comply with the United Nations-backed Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. We insist that our supplier provides us with written guarantees, ensuring certification and quality. We believe a diamond should bring pure pleasure to the owner or recipient and not be part of any cause of harm to innocent lives.
We do not own any of the diamonds that we recommend to our clients, we procure them individually for each client.