Many people looking to buy diamond jewellery or an engagement ring for their loved one will have a burning question at the forefront of their mind. “How big a diamond should I get?” This may also be followed with, “How big a diamond can I afford?”
While size is an important consideration, not least because of personal preference, a bigger diamond isn’t necessarily better than a smaller one. It’s more important to look closely at the quality of a diamond, as opposed to a diamond’s size. This article explains why that is and also covers which of a diamond’s characteristics you should prioritise over others.
You may have heard of the four Cs already. These are what diamond industry experts use to determine a diamond’s quality and value (as well as other factors, like brilliance and overall appearance). Briefly, the four Cs are outlined below.
Carat is all about the weight of a diamond (not the size). A 1-carat diamond weighs a mere 0.2 grams, which is about one-fifth as heavy as a Jelly Bean. A round-cut 1-carat diamond can be a different size to another 1-carat diamond with a different cut. Most diamonds used in fine jewellery are around the 1-carat mark or less.
The cut of a diamond refers to facets and angles; the symmetry, proportioning and polishing of a diamond. This is the characteristic that allows a diamond to sparkle and reflect in the light. When considering the brilliance and appearance of a diamond, the cut plays an important part.
Round cut, princess cut, and marquise cut are a few examples. The round, brilliant-cut diamond is the most popular shape, as it achieves the best sparkle.
When considering a diamond’s colour, what diamond experts actually look for is how colourless (or white) a diamond is.
The GIA, a diamond grading body, uses a grading scale that goes from D to Z, where D is the most colourless and Z refers to diamonds with a light yellow or brown tinge. Diamonds that are graded as approaching colourless are more valuable than those at the end of the scale.
There are also coloured diamonds that are extremely valuable. These are known as fancy coloured diamonds, and they’re quite rare. They can come in many colours, even black. The Black Orlov is one of the most famous fancy diamonds of this colour (it has a fascinating history). That said, the most popular fancy coloured diamonds are pink, green, blue and red.
Most diamonds contain inclusions and/or blemishes. Inclusions are found on the inside of a diamond, whereas blemishes refer to marks on the outer surface. A diamond’s clarity is all about the lack of inclusions and blemishes.
The more clarity a diamond has, the more valuable it is. There is such a thing as a flawless diamond, but these are incredibly rare.
The answer to this is quite subjective. All four Cs work together to generate a diamond’s value. The most important of the four Cs depends on what matters to you the most. For example, if you want a diamond engagement ring that really dazzles, you should prioritise the cut and clarity above all else.
If the diamond’s size is a priority, you’ll need to consider the carat weight and the shape of the stone. It’s entirely possible to find a large diamond at a low price, but of course, you would be compromising on the quality of its colour and overall appearance, not to mention it’s clarity.
That said, it’s always best to choose the best quality diamond that fits within your budget, bearing in mind personal preference and which diamond characteristics matter to you or your partner.
The reason why many fine jewellery shoppers have in their minds that they want a large diamond is because they’d like their gem to stand out and be noticeable. There are a few ways to make the most of a small, high-quality diamond and make it look bigger than it actually is.
Diamonds with an elongated shape (like rectangle or oval) can look larger than a round cut diamond of the same carat weight. Note though, that if you choose a shallower cut, you may have to compromise on other factors like overall appearance. Your jeweller will be able to advise you on this.
Slim prong settings that display a diamond sitting above the band can do wonders to showcase its size, as the eye is naturally drawn to the stone, as opposed to the band. Another setting to consider is the illusion setting. This type makes use of decorative detail in the metal surrounding the diamond and it can make a stone appear larger.
A multi-stone setting can also achieve a fantastic result. Take a look at this engagement ring above. This one has a 0.5-carat diamond in the centre and is surrounded by a halo of smaller diamonds.
A thin ring band will work well to show off a diamond in an engagement ring, whereas a thick band can overshadow it. A narrow ring band can also help to make your fingers look longer, although it’s best to go for a medium or thick band if you have wide fingers.
Precious metals like shiny white gold or platinum can help to reflect the light and possibly trick the eye into thinking that a diamond looks more significant than it is. On the other hand, rose gold and yellow gold can provide a dramatic contrast against a dazzling diamond to make it stand out. It’s best to compare different metals with your preferred diamond cut, shape and setting.
Believe it or not, a good clean can help your diamonds sparkle and dazzle tremendously. Even if you have a top-quality diamond, it can end up looking dull if you don’t get it cleaned now and then. (Did you know that when you buy a diamond engagement ring from Bespoke Diamonds, it comes with free sonic cleaning for life?)
Ultimately, whether diamond size matters or not boils down to what you want from your jewellery. While size is certainly a consideration, it’s better to look at diamond quality, taking into account carat, colour, clarity and, in particular, the cut if you want that all-important sparkle.
Another important C is certification. When you’re choosing a diamond, ask to see the diamond’s grading certificate. This acts as proof that the diamond on display is of the quality associated with the price tag.
Opt for the best quality diamond that you can afford and bear in mind that there are ways to make a diamond appear more substantial if the size is essential to you. The right shape, setting and precious metal surround can all make a big difference.
At Bespoke Diamonds, we have access to hundreds of high-quality diamonds (large and small!) to suit a range of budgets. For example, take a look at these engagement rings that are all below €2,500. These contain certified diamonds of the utmost quality.
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