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Selecting The Ideal Diamond

The timeless cliche that "diamonds are a girl's best friend" is true - women love to wear diamonds and all diamond rings look bright and sparkling when worn on a lady's hand. Afterall, their most important attribute is the way that they make a woman feel!

However, prior to do your shopping for the ultimate symbol of love, it is important that you do your due diligence correctly. The 4Cs of Diamonds (Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat Weight) are the basic attributes used to compare diamonds. An understanding of these "4Cs" will give you a way to compare two diamonds and help you set basic price parameters.

Should you find yourself on a tighter budget than anticipated, don't be too concerned as all diamonds are unique in their own respective rights. Each has their own identity and there is a diamond to suit any budget, so any diamond you choose will make your special lady feel cherished!



Diamond Shapes

The shape of the diamond is often confused with the cut. Whereas the latter refers to the quality of the craftsmanship in oder to optimize the light reflection, the "shape" refers to the physical configuration or contour of the gemstone. In order to select your ideal gem, it is recommended to begin by choosing your preferred shape prior to analysing the "4Cs". Select the shape that you like based on your style and you cannot go wrong.


How to Compare Diamond Color:

The finest diamonds are colorless, rare and expensive. On the GIA grading scale below, "D" to "F" are considered colorless, "G" to "I" near colorless and any grade "J" or below shows an increasingly yellowish tinge. Beyond the preference for a whiter stone, however, the color of a diamond does not affect its brightness or sparkle.

Fast Fact: Most experts agree that, when mounted, diamonds in the "G-H" range appear colorless and represent a much better value than "D-F" stones which command significantly higher prices.



How to Compare Diamond Clarity:

Diamonds with fewer flaws are rare and therefore more highly prized. In many cases, these flaws (or inclusions) don’t detract from the beauty of the diamond because they are invisible to the naked eye. The GIA grading scale below shows clarity ranges from "Internally Flawless" (IF) to "Very Very Slight" Inclusions (VVS), to "Very Slight" Inclusions (VS), to "Slightly Included" (SI), to "Included" (I).

IF (Internally Flawless)

Internally flawless diamonds have no inclusions and only insignificant blemishes on the surface under 10xs magnification

VVS1-VVS2 (Very, Very Slightly Included)

Very difficult to see inclusions under 10x magnification. These are outstanding quality diamonds.

VS1-VS2 (Very Slightly Included)

Difficult to see inclusions under 10x magnification. These are excellent quality diamonds.

SI1-SI2 (Slightly Included)

Diamonds with inclusions easily identified under 10x magnification. Finding flaws in this category with the unaided eye is difficult. The gems in this category maintain their integrity, depending on the location of the inclusions.

I1-I3 (Included)

Diamonds with inclusions which may or may not be easily seen by the unaided eye. The flaws on the stones in this category may have some effect on the brilliance of your diamond.

Fast Fact: Any grade "SI2" or above has inclusions that are "eye clean", not visible to the naked eye. An "I1" grade can be an excellent value, particularly if the inclusion is on the outer edge. "I2" grades can still exhibit a fair degree of fire and light. "I3" grade diamonds are noticeably more opaque or dark to the naked eye.



How to Compare Diamond Cut, Symmetry and Polish:

More than any other attribute, it is the Cut that makes a diamond brilliant and beautiful since this is the only attribute which is determined by man. A diamond that is well cut reflects light internally and displays a dazzling shower of light back through the top of the stone. In contrast a poorly cut diamond will leak light out of the bottom and sides, as illustrated below. Symmetry is another important factor in the brilliance and beauty of a diamond. A diamond is like a small house of mirrors and if the facets are lined up properly, the diamond returns more light to the viewer’s eye. Finally, a diamond that is well Polished will also reflect more light and sparkle from the surface to the viewer’s eye. Cut, Symmetry and Polish are rated on your diamond certificate from Poor to Excellent.

Light enters and leaks out of the bottom                Light enters and returns to the viewer’s eye

Fast Fact: The measurements listed on your diamond grading report also give an indication of how brilliant your diamond will be. The formula for cutting a diamond of ideal proportions was written in 1919 by Marcel Tolkowsky.



How to Compare Diamond Carat Weight:


Diamond Certification

All our lab-grown diamonds are accompanied by an International Gemological Institute (IGI) certificate. IGI Diamond Reports are issued for diamonds of any size and give an accurate assessment of a diamond's cut, color, clarity and carat weight according to strict international standards. A graphic representation of a diamond’s proportions and a plotted diagram of its characteristics appear on many of our documents. IGI Certificates have a variety of formats and presentations, customized to serve a wide range of consumer demand in our different worldwide markets. Regardless of format, every IGI Diamond Report is issued according to the strict international standards and security features for which IGI is renowned.



How to Choose the Best Diamond Value:

While choosing a diamond is a matter of opinion, we are all individuals with various preferences. For the price, larger is better as long as the diamond does not fall below your expectations for brilliance and beauty, which are determined by the Cut, Symmetry, Polish, Clarity and Color ratings.

The images below show a range of diamond qualities viewed under a microscope.

This is an "F" Color "VS1" Clarity diamond with an "Excellent"  Cut and Symmetry. It has no flaws visible to the naked eye. It will display a shower of fire, scintillation and brightness when moved under a source of light. Nearly all of the light entering the diamond is reflected back to the viewer's eye through the table and crown of this diamond.

This is a "G" Color "I1" Clarity diamond with a "Very Good"  Cut and "Excellent" Symmetry. It has a flaw (near the top) that would be visible to the naked eye. However, a diamond like this can be a very good value for the price and the "G"  Color is virtually indistinguishable from the highest Color "D" after the diamond is mounted.

This is a "G" Color "I2" Clarity diamond with a "Good" Cut. It has several flaws and it looks a little dark overall, but there is plenty of light reflecting through the table, and it will show flashes of fire and scintillation when it is moved under a light source.

This is a "J" Color "I3" Clarity diamond with a "Fair" Cut. It looks opaque because there is very little light reflecting through the table. This is a result of both a shallow Cut and several cloudy flaws inside the stone. Stones like this can look fairly dull.



Guidelines for Making your Diamond Selection:

For those on a budget, we would recommend a diamond with a "Good" Cut and Symmetry rating, a Clarity rating of "I1", and a Color rating of "I" to "J". The Cut and Symmetry rating have the greatest effect on the brilliance of a diamond. While a Clarity rating of "I1" means that the diamond has a flaw visible to the naked eye, it may not detract from the overall beauty, especially if the flaw is near the outer edge of the stone and could perhaps be hidden under a prong. The Color rating does not affect the brilliance of a diamond, so we’ve chosen to compromise a little more on this attribute in order to lower the cost.

For those seeking an exceptional diamond, we would recommend an "Excellent" Cut and Symmetry rating, a Clarity rating of "VS1" or better, and a Color rating of "G" or higher. The "Excellent" Cut and Symmetry will return an extraordinary shower of fire, scintillation and brilliance to the viewer’s eye. A Clarity rating of "SI" or better is "eye clean", meaning that no flaws are visible with the naked eye. A Color rating of "G" or higher is nearly impossible to distinguish from the more costly "D" Color after the diamond is mounted in a setting.