How to buy diamond jewellery like a professional
We all like to treat ourselves to a bit of luxury now and again. It might be a meal out at a fancy restaurant, a nice holiday somewhere hot and sunny or the latest away kit. We know what we like and when we can, we want to enjoy the very best. But sometimes you want something but don’t know where to start when looking to buy it.
Jewellery can be one of these tough things to shop for, particularly if you aren’t very familiar with the huge amount of terminology that surrounds all the different types of jewellery available. What’s a j-hoop earring? Or a tennis bracelet? Or eternity rings? But the biggest thing that can flummox people is diamond grading. At first glance it’s like a secret code that is put there to confuse us into parting with lots of money.
That’s certainly not the case; diamond grading gives everyone the chance to understand exactly what they’re buying and for customers to be able to compare the prices easily on an equal level. But a little knowledge can go a long way, so when preparing to buy diamond jewellery, it’s worth doing some background reading and familiarise yourself with how diamonds are graded.
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Whether you are buying engagement rings, diamond earrings or a diamond bracelet, the principles of diamond quality are exactly the same. Any diamond you buy, whether it be in a high-street shop, online or direct from a specialist will have a score for each of the four Cs. The four Cs are an internationally recognised set of criteria for diamond grading.
They are; Cut, Clarity, Colour and Carat. Often, especially on the high-street, you are only likely to see carat and maybe clarity listed in the description, but any jeweller should also be able to tell you the cut and colour of their stones. If they can’t, then consider taking your business elsewhere.
The biggest area of confusion within the four Cs is cut. Most people, including a lot of people who actually work in the jewellery business, will tell you that cut refers to the shape of the diamond and this isn’t the case. Yes, the shape of the diamond is important, a radiant-cut diamond looks very different to an emerald-cut one, but cut means more than that.
For each shape of diamond, facets are cut into the rough, natural diamond to create the desired shape. For each shape, there is an optimal ratio between the height of the stone and the angles of the facets that maximises the amount of light being allowed to enter and then bounce back out of the stone. This makes the diamond sparkle. The closer to this ideal, the better the quality of the cut.
The colour or whiteness of a diamond is pretty self-explanatory, the cleaner and clearer the diamond, the better. Clarity can sometimes be confused with colour, but in fact refers to the number of what are called inclusions in the stone. These are small imperfections that vary in concentration from one diamond to another. The purer the diamond, the less inclusions there will be.
Carat is what most of us think of when we think of diamond description and refers to the weight of the stone. Obviously the bigger the stone, the higher the diamond prices are likely to be. It’s always worth bearing in mind that exact carat weights are more expensive than others. So for example, an exactly two carat diamond will be disproportionately more expensive than a stone that’s 1.87 carats, but to the naked eye, it’s unlikely to look much different and will offer much better value for money.