The process of bringing a diamond to life takes a lot of experienced man hours and requires a natural process that takes billions of years of being gestational deep within the earth. Appreciated the world over, this brilliant stone is surrounded by a myriad of complex activities, starting from mining, to cutting, polishing and fashioning a diamond before you get to wear it as a piece of jewellery. Each diamond goes through a thorough inspection and is often coerced into bringing out its maximum brilliance which is inherent in any raw diamond. We realize that diamonds are an investment, financially and emotionally, so make sure you pick the right one.
There's a simple rule of thumb that you could follow that would help your diamond shopping, commonly known as the 4C's - Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat. Once you've acquainted yourself with the 4C's, you're ready to buy a diamond.
This is not so much the shape but the overall end product. The proportionality of the stone plays an important role in determining its quality. E.g. an 'oval' cut diamond should look like the perfect oval. This could be hard to judge for a novice but you're mainly looking for the 'brilliance' of that glittering diamond. Since a diamond is made up of angled facets that reflect light, the more light that is reflected, the better the diamond. There are also different cuts that have evolved over a period of time for diamonds although traditionally they were enjoyed in their natural state with only a good polishing job. The most popular of these is the Brilliant Cut which maximizes the 'fire' of a diamond and is the best you can buy. There is also the Step Cut which enhances its clarity and luster, and the Mixed Cut which combines facets of both the Brilliant and the Step Cut.
An Excellent or Ideal Cut leads the line of Grading Cut classifications as far as diamonds are concerned. These have the perfect symmetry and polish and reflect most of the light that enters it making it incredibly valuable and rare. However, Cuts in the Very Good and Good range are also recommended and affordable since these Cuts are aimed at maximizing the natural brilliance of a diamond with few degrees of separation. The Fair or Poor Cut tends to bring up the bottom of the classification ladder and focuses more on weight than any other aspect of the diamond.
Compared to the other characteristics of a diamond, the Cut is probably the most difficult to judge since there are a plethora of technicalities to consider like the angle, polish, symmetry, depth, the arrangement of facets, etc which may be difficult to discern unless you're an experienced buyer. However, it's always better to do sufficient homework before buying a diamond or take someone who knows a thing or two to help you along the way.
Simply put, the clearer the better. Although, like any other raw stone found on earth, a diamond will have some impurities or 'inclusions' and flaws or 'blemishes' in it. Here again, there are varying degrees of clarity, Flawless being the best since it means the diamond has the least amount of inclusions in it. Apart from this, Clarity grades are divided into V (Very), S (Small) and I (Inclusion) based on the level of inclusions in them. The grades are then permutations and combinations of these three classifications. For eg. VVSI1 means Very Very Small Inclusions One, and similarly VVSI2, SI1, etc. Whenever shopping for a diamond, always ask about the clarity grade to get a better understanding of the quality of that particular diamond. GIA's diamond grading scale is the industry standard for grading diamond clarity.
All diamonds have hints of color, most maybe not noticeable to the naked eye. But if you look closely, there will be slight shades of yellow or brown. But the closer to colorless, the better the diamond. 'Colourless' or 'Near Colourless' is your best bet while buying a diamond. Grading category D, E, and F are the highest and are nearly colorless, G, H and I come next, and are described as white, and grades K to Z tend to have hints of some color in them. When shopping for colorless diamonds remember that as you move lower down the alphabet, the presence of color is higher and therefore making the diamond less valuable.
Carat is the standard weight of the diamond, normally about 1/5th of a gram. Each carat is then divided into points, which is 1/100th of carat. Carats of a diamond are the easiest to gauge and is directly proportionate to its cost. However, do not get confused between a heavy diamond and a badly cut diamond. Once you've established the other aspects of the diamond (Cut, Color, and Clarity), we suggest you then look at the weight since the quality will be unquestionable. A single carat of diamond is incredibly rare to find and a lot more expensive, hence smaller clusters of diamonds are often used, and are more affordable.