The 4 Cs of Diamond Buying
One factor that determines the value of a diamond is its color. With the exception of fancy-colored diamonds, the most valuable diamonds are those with the least color. Although many people think of gem quality diamonds as colorless, completely colorless diamonds are very rare. The diamond color scale ranges from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown). A diamond’s color is determined by a manual process of comparing the diamond to a master set. Each letter grade represents a range of color and is a measurement of how noticeable a color is. When diamonds are formed with traces of other minerals, rare and beautiful colors can result. These “fancy” colors range from blue and brilliant yellow to red, brown, pale green, pink, and violet. Because of their rarity, colored diamonds are highly desirable and typically more valuable.
Choosing the right stone shape
Round Brilliant Cut (RBC)
The round brilliant is the most popular cut, over 75% of all diamonds sold are RBC’s. This is due, in part to the classic, timeless look and the amazing brilliance that the cut offers the stone. This comes from how the facets are placed on the stone. RBC’s have a total of 57 facets (the flat parts around the diamond); – 53 on the crown (above the middle) and 25 on the pavilion (below the middle). The amount of reflective facets allows the fire and scintillation to really shine. Overall, it’s the classic of all cuts – It looks perfect whether at a quarter-carat, 8-carat or any size in between and beyond. Since a RBC has so many facets and that means so many reflections, it’s easy to not notice as many inclusions because the scintillation will hide some of them. This means you don’t have to find a flawless, colorless diamond to get a great stone out of it. With all the fire going on too, you won’t notice if the color is a few levels below colorless. Saves you some bucks.
This term is going to apply to any diamond that is cut in a shape other than the round brilliant. While you might think oval is boring, it’s actually fancy!
This is a modified version of the round brilliant cut – meaning it has all the shine of a RBC, but in an oval shape. This elongation gives it a few desirable qualities, it has the fire and brilliance you want in the glitzy rock, and the oval shape gives the appearance of the stone being bigger than it actually is, so you don’t have to find as big of a diamond to be as impressive. It’s classy, and a little different, but not too out of the ordinary. While this cut was first produced in the 1700s, it really became popular in the 1950s, so a lot of these cuts are vintage inspired. This cut also has the same amount of facets as the RBC, at 58 (including the culet, the flattened point on the bottom). An oval cut really has about the same expectations in color and clarity need as a RBC, you don’t really HAVE to have a colorless, flawless diamond with this shape but be mindful about where these factors show up.
Anatomy of a Ring
Solitaire settings are great if you have a stunning singular stone that has been passed down through the generations as an heirloom; many choose to display it in a classic Solitaire setting. This setting generally allows for the maximum amount of sparkle by allowing light to pass in through the bottom sections of the ring.
Set your sights on settings
In a prong setting, metal prongs are used to hold up the diamond, securing it while allowing light to freely pass through. Most commonly, settings usually have either 4 prongs or 6 prongs, which can be rounded, pointed, v-shaped or flat. Prong settings are a great way to amplify the qualities of a beautiful diamond. The prongs allow a lot of light to pass through, elevating the fire and brilliance given off by the diamond.
Choosing the right number of prongs will call for some self-reflection. Four prongs mean that there is less metal on the diamond, creating better visibility for the center stone. However, they don’t hold the diamond as securely as six prongs, whereas six prongs offer better security for the diamond, giving it greater protection if it’s bumped into. However, the greater number of prongs can easily overshadow small diamonds of half a carat or less. If there is any drawback of the prong setting, it is durability. Prong settings hold the diamond quite high, which makes it easier to bump into things, or get caught on material. If the ring’s wearer has an active lifestyle, or has a career that involves putting on and taking off gloves regularly, and you feel this may be a concern, consider lower-set prongs or an alternative setting.
Prong settings can also loosen over time, causing the diamond to be less secure, so it’s important to have prong set rings inspected and maintained regularly.