With Valentine’s Day around the corner, are you thinking of popping that very important question? Or hoping that the special person in your life is planning to surprise you with a dazzling diamond?
We know that the world of sparkly diamonds can be overwhelming and with lots of different things to look out for, our diamond expert Anja Potze is on hand to give you a quick tutorial on what you need to know!
Why Valentine’s Day?
According to a survey of over 10,000 people across the UK, 23% of women think that Valentine’s Day is the best time to propose…
When he/she thinks is the best time to propose:
So let’s start at the very beginning, by considering the 4 C’S.
In the 1940’s GIA (Gemological Institute of America), created the 4 C’S – Cut, Clarity, Colour and Carat weight and to this day it used worldwide for evaluating diamond quality. Now we don’t expect you to become experts overnight, (that’s what we’re here for!), however we do want to give you some pointers on what you’re looking for when shopping for that sparkler!
Cut refers not to a diamond's shape (e.g. round, oval, pear, etc.) but to its proportions, symmetry and polish.
The allure and beauty of a diamond depends more on cut than anything else. Though extremely difficult to analyse, diamond cut has three primary effects on appearance:
- Brilliance (the brightness created by the combination of all the white light reflections from the surface and the inside of a polished diamond).
- Fire (the dispersion of light into the colors of the visible spectrum, seen as flashes of color).
- Scintillation (the flashes of light and dark, or sparkle, when a diamond or light source is moved).
Each cut grade, based on a relative scale from Excellent to Poor, represents a range of proportion sets and face-up appearances. There are many different proportion sets that produce attractive diamonds.
Is it as simple as ‘How clear is the diamond…?’
Well, put very simply, yes!
Because diamonds are formed deep within the earth, under extreme heat and pressure, they often contain unique birthmarks, either internal (inclusions) or external (blemishes).
Diamond clarity refers to the absence of these inclusions and blemishes. Diamonds without these birthmarks are rare, and rarity affects a diamond’s value.
The GIA Clarity Scale contains 11 grades, with most diamonds falling into the VS (very slightly included) or SI (slightly included) categories. In determining a clarity grade, the GIA system considers the size, nature, position, colour or relief, and quantity of clarity characteristics visible under 10× magnification.
- Flawless (FL)- No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification
- Internally Flawless (IF)- No inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification
- Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1and VVS2) - Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10× magnification
- Very Slightly Included (VS1and VS2) - Inclusions are minor and range from difficult to somewhat easy for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
- Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) - Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader under 10x magnification
- Included (I1, I2, and I3)- Inclusions are obvious under 10× magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance
Diamond colour is all about what you can’t see. Diamonds are valued by how closely they approach colourlessness – the less colour, the higher their value.
So why does the scale start at D? Well, when GIA created their colour scale, they wanted to create consistency throughout the industry, and start afresh without any association with the earlier ancient systems that were used, and they decided to start the scale at letter D!
And finally, we’re going to talk about Carat weight. This is probably the one you’re most aware of, but hopefully by now you’ll know that it’s not all about the size of the rock!
Diamonds and other gemstones are weighed in metric carats: one carat is equal to 0.2 grams, about the same weight as a paperclip.
Just as a pound is divided into 100 pennies, a carat is divided into 100 points. For example, a 50-point diamond weighs 0.50 carats. But two diamonds of equal weight can have very different values depending on the other members of the Four C’s: clarity, colour and cut.
Hopefully now you’ll feel more confident when choosing the engagement ring of her dreams, but it doesn’t end there…
There are lots of other factors which give a diamond ring the ‘WOW’ factor. All of our engagement rings are handmade, with unique stylistic differences. If you have any queries or you’d like some advice on choosing a ring, our small team of experts are on hand and happy to help!