The cut of a diamond refers to its reflective qualities rather than its physical shape. The angles of the diamond allow light to pass through and a quality cut gives the stone its brilliance. A poorly-cut diamond, on the other hand, allows light to escape through the bottom, meaning it will not sparkle.
The proportions of its depth and diameter measure the cut of a diamond. Cut is graded on a scale from ideal to poor. For a scintillating diamond, choose from the ideal to good categories, as a diamond classed fair or poor will allow too much light to escape.
Diamonds come in a stunning array of colours, however the most treasured of all are those that are entirely colourless. Colour refers to the presence or absence of colour in white diamonds. A true colourless diamond allows more light to pass through, producing a dazzling effect.
The colour of diamonds is graded from D through to Z, ranging from colourless and faint yellow through to brown stones. Diamonds that fall between D and I on the scale show virtually no perceptible colour. If you choose a diamond lower on the grading system, a yellow gold setting will help to counteract the yellow tones in the stone, while a colourless diamond will look exquisite against a platinum or white gold band.
Clarity is the presence of identifying characteristics, including blemishes on and inclusions within the stone. The majority of diamonds have inclusions so flawless diamonds are both rare and precious. For the purposes of grading, all flaws are called inclusions and can include air bubbles, cracks, scratches, chips and non-diamond materials found within the diamond.
The clarity of a diamond is graded from F — flawless, to I3 — diamonds with obvious flaws. Diamonds in the lower grades, I1, I2 and I3, are not recommended as they possess visible flaws, while the inclusions and blemishes in high- to mid-range diamonds may not be noticeable to the untrained eye.
Carat is a unit of measurement used to weigh a diamond. One carat is equal to 0.2 grams, based on an ancient measuring system involving carob seeds. It is important to note the carat weight of a diamond differs to the size of a diamond. Where two diamonds are the same size, the heavier stone will have a higher value due to the cost per carat. The carat weight of the diamond you choose depends on your budget.
If you desire a larger diamond, it is likely to have a high carat weight and will therefore cost you more. Consider how much you want to spend and choose the diamond within your price range that excels in the other criteria and is most visually appealing to you.
By Rachel Wagner Images from Larsen Jewellery
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