Diamonds are known to be one of the most beautiful gemstones on earth. It’s no wonder that the demand for diamonds has increased over time so that they are now used across all types of jewellery, from glistening diamond rings to sparkling diamond encrusted chains.
In this diamond guide, Hatton Jewellers’ expert team share their knowledge. We’ll cover the 4Cs to help you understand the quality of your diamond as well as some top tips for choosing and caring for your precious stone.
History Of Diamonds
Diamonds have a vast fascinating history that dates back thousands of years. It is believed that the first ever diamond was discovered in India back in 800 BC but was not considered a valuable item until 1215, when diamonds were announced as being a sign of engagement.
Alexander the Great was the first to bring diamonds over to Europe, and centuries later they began being used within jewellery and diamond cutting was mastered. Take a look at our blog for more information on the history of diamonds.
How To Choose A Diamond
Looking at the 4Cs of diamond quality can make your choice that little bit easier when it comes to choosing the perfect diamond. The 4Cs include the cut, colour, carat and clarity of a diamond, with each of these factors affecting a diamond's beauty and brilliance.
For more information continue reading our diamond guide and check out our 4Cs of diamond quality blog.
What Are Diamond Cuts?
A diamond cut is part of the 4Cs and does not refer to the shape but rather the symmetry, proportions and polish of the diamond. It accounts for the number of symmetrical arrangements of the diamond facets which alter the shape and appearance, also affecting the brilliance - if it’s cut poorly it won’t be as luminous.
The polish and symmetry are two of the most important factors in diamond cuts. The polish refers to the smoothness of the diamond’s facets and the symmetry covers the alignment of the facets. A dull diamond can be caused if it has been poorly polished and the surface has been scratched.
The Anatomy Of A Diamond
A diamond is made up of several cuts, each of which affect the amount of light that a diamond is able to reflect, consequently impacting its overall sparkle and brilliance.
The table is the flat surface on the top of a diamond. It is the largest diamond facet and refracts light rays as they hit the diamond, which are then reflected back up. The size of the table impacts how much light can enter the diamond, ultimately impacting the overall sparkle.
The girdle is the widest part of the diamond where the crown and pavilion join. It is typically hidden when placed in a bezel or halo ring setting, but in a prong or channel setting the girdle can be seen where there is no metal touching the diamond.
The crown includes everything that sits above the girdle. In a similar way to the table, light is passed through the crown and reflected back up, mirroring the light in different directions which results in a stunning sparkle.
The pavilion sits between the crown and cutlet and usually holds the majority of the diamond's weight. The angles and cuts on a diamond pavilion are extremely important in ensuring light is reflected back up through the crown. If the angles are too shallow it can cause the diamond to look dull.
The cutlet is the very button of the pavilion and is either shaped in a point or a small facet that is parallel with the table. Diamonds with small cutlets are most likely to have the most brilliance as they are able to reflect more light up through the crown and table of the diamond.
Different Diamond Cuts
Choosing a cut of diamond can be one of the most challenging decisions, as it cannot simply be rated on a scale in the way clarity, colour and carat can be. Instead, it requires a trained eye to look at the quality of a diamond cut.
However, it is the relationship between the crown angle and pavilion angle that is said to have the greatest effect on the look of a diamond. A slightly steep crown angle can be complemented by a shallower pavilion angle, and vice versa.
How Are Diamonds Cut?
The following steps include a simplified round brilliant cutting process:
- Evaluate the diamond using computer software.
- Mark the outline for the best possible diamond shape and cut.
- Saw or cleave the rough stone.
- Create a final diamond outline using a process called bruting or girdling.
- Block the main pavilion facets.
- Create the diamond crown.
- All main facets are polished.
- Brillianteering and quality control.
What Is A Step Cut Diamond?
A step cut diamond is typically a square or rectangle shape, with the facets in parallel lines on all four sides. The facets on brilliant cut diamonds are usually smaller than those on step cut diamonds due to their arrangement. The shapes in the step cut diamond family are Emerald, Asscher and Baguette.
What Is The Best Cut For Diamond Earrings?
Diamond earrings are one of the most universal pieces of jewellery that have a great timeless quality. A brilliant round cut diamond is often considered the most popular as this cut truly enhances the diamond's brilliance and sparkle. The typical size for a diamond stud earring is 0.25 carat, and it can be worn no matter what the occasion to create an elegant, timeless look.
How To Wear Diamond Earrings
To make the most out of your diamond earrings, wear your hair in a loose updo to show off their beauty. Although in the past diamonds were often kept for formal and fancy occasions, today they can easily be worn day to day.
As they are most commonly colourless, diamond earrings are extremely versatile and can be worn with any outfit. However, simplicity is key to making diamonds look irresistible, so avoid wearing too much other jewellery that could distract from their beauty.
What Is Diamond Colour?
Another of the 4Cs in diamond grading, the diamond colour actually refers to the lack of colour in the diamond. A pure and perfect diamond has no hue and is consequently a higher price than alternatives. The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) uses a colour grading system of D-Z to measure the degree of colouration.
Many of the colour differences are subtle and even invisible to an untrained eye. Naturally coloured diamonds that are outside the D-Z colourless and yellow range are called fancy-colour diamonds. These are rare but come in every colour across the spectrum, with the most popular being blue, green, pink and red. The value of these diamonds generally increases with the intensity of the colour, yet most fancy-coloured diamonds tend to be more muted in colour.
Which Diamond Colour Is The Most Expensive?
Red is the rarest colour diamond and thus considered to be the most expensive. It is thought that there are less than 30 true red diamonds in the world. The red colour is created during the diamond's formation process which changes the crystal structure of the diamond and causes light to pass through it.
It is believed that the largest red diamond ever sold weighed over five carats and was bought for $8 million. This would be around $1.6 million per carat.
What Is Diamond Clarity?
Diamond clarity refers to the presence or absence of blemishes on a diamond. The GIA Diamond Clarity Scale has six categories, some of which are divided, for 11 specific grades:
- FL - Flawless, no inclusions or blemishes visible under 10x magnification
- IF - Internally Flawless, no inclusions visible under 10x magnification
- VVS1 & VVS2 - Very, Very Slightly Included, there are slight inclusions that are difficult for a trained grader to see under 10x magnification
- VS1 & VS2 - Very Slightly Included, there are inclusions which are observed but minor under 10x magnification
- Sl1 & Sl2 - Slightly Included, there are inclusions that are noticeable under 10x magnification
- I1, I2 & I3 - Included, there are obvious inclusions under 10x magnification that may affect transparency and brilliance
But how does clarity affect a diamond? Inclusions and blemishes can occur on a diamond when small crystals become trapped during formation. The clarity of the diamond can greatly affect the overall brilliance.
What Is The Best Diamond Clarity?
An FL grade diamond is the most flawless and brilliant diamond when it comes to clarity. Diamonds with a clarity grade of VS2 or higher will not have any visible signs of inclusions or blemishes.
What Does Carat Mean?
Carat refers to the weight of a diamond. This can look different in size depending on the shape and cut of the diamond, therefore carat weight does not necessarily relate to the size. Looking at other characteristics of a diamond such as the cut, colour and clarity will help you choose the best diamond to suit your budget.
How To Find Out Your Diamond’s Carat
Size is not always the most important factor when it comes to diamonds as other factors such as cut and clarity are more likely to affect its beauty. However, the easiest way to find out the carat of your diamond is to weigh the stone. Dividing the weight by 0.2 will roughly give you your diamond’s carat.
What Is The Smallest Carat Diamond?
Diamonds as small as 0.001 ct can be cut in order to be set around a larger centre stone on an engagement ring. When it comes to earrings, the best size is around 0.25ct to 0.5ct in order to have a versatile earring that can be worn for any occasion.
What Are Lab-Grown Diamonds?
Also known as lab-created and man-made diamonds, lab-grown diamonds have the same properties as natural diamonds. When placed side by side you would not be able to see the difference between them - the main difference is actually just their origin.
Like natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds have a hardness of 10 on the Mohs scale, meaning they are just as durable as earth-grown diamonds. Depending on the size, lab-grown diamonds can be grown in as little as six to eight weeks and can be up to 40% less expensive than a natural diamond of the same size.
However, many people still prefer to purchase natural diamonds thanks to their inherent value and rarity.
Fun Facts About Diamonds
Diamonds have a rich history and are part of some of the most beautiful pieces of jewellery in the world, but there are also some lesser-known gems of information about diamonds;
- The word ‘Diamond’ comes from the Greek word ‘Adamas’, which means invincible or indestructible.
- Discovered back in 1905 in South Africa, the largest diamond ever discovered weighed in at a whopping 3,106 carats.
- Natural diamonds are billions of years old – in some cases over three billion years old!
- The tradition of wearing an engagement ring on the fourth finger of the left hand comes from an ancient Egyptian belief that the vein of love runs directly from the heart to the top of that finger.
To find out more fun facts about diamonds, take a look at our blog on the 10 secrets you didn’t know about diamonds.
Different Types Of Engagement Rings
From stones to settings, there are a whole range of different types of engagement rings to choose from. You’ll need to take into consideration your partner's preferences and styles in order to pick the perfect diamond ring. Diamonds may be the traditional choice for engagement rings but there are also numerous beautiful diamond alternatives for engagement rings such as ruby, sapphire and emeralds.
Take a look at our engagement ring guide for more information.
Do Diamond Rings Hold Value?
Diamond rings maintain their value over time as there is only a finite supply of earth-grown natural diamonds. However, if you’re looking for an investment piece of jewellery, gold (or diamonds set within a gold piece of jewellery) is typically the best option as this has been considered to be a durable, reliable option for many years. Take a look at our guide to buying jewellery as an investment for further advice.
How To Wear A Diamond Ring
When looking at wearing a diamond engagement ring, the traditional option is on the ring finger of your left hand - the clue is in the name! After marriage, your wedding band typically sits beneath your engagement ring so that it is closer to the heart. A diamond ring can be worn every day if looked after and cleaned correctly, otherwise it could become dull.
As one of the most versatile jewellery options, diamond rings are easy to wear for any occasion and can also be paired with other diamond accessories such as earrings, necklaces and bracelets if you’re wanting a truly glamorous look.
How To Take Care Of Your Diamond Engagement Ring
Removing your ring when doing any of the following activities will help you protect your diamond engagement ring;
- Washing your hands or taking a bath or shower - submerging your diamond in water or exposing it to products like shower gel and shampoo could cause it to dull.
- Swimming - salt water can be corrosive to the metals on your diamond ring.
- Gardening or outdoor activities - small rocks can be abrasive and permanently damage your ring. Damage to diamonds can be costly to repair and can even be irreversible.
How To Keep A Diamond Ring Clean
Taking your ring - especially delicate antique rings - to a professional cleaner is always recommended for the best results. However, it is possible to maintain your engagement ring’s sparkle with home remedies too. Ensure you don’t use harsh materials when cleaning your jewellery, though, as this could easily lead to scratching or damaging the item.
Robert Cuomo, Managing Director at Hatton Jewellers, said: “We recommend getting jewellery cleaned at least every six months either professionally or at home to keep it looking new.
Regularly check for warning signs of vulnerability in your jewellery, such as checking for loose stones or prongs. This may prevent the need to spend more money to replace lost stones later down the line.”
How To Clean A Diamond
If you’re looking to clean your diamonds at home, follow these simple steps to avoid damage and get your diamond sparkling once again;
- Get a small bowl of warm water and mix with any mild liquid detergent.
- Brush your jewellery gently with a small soft brush and be careful not to scratch the metal or diamond.
- Rinse thoroughly under water and pat dry with a soft lint-free cloth.
- Use a quick dip liquid jewellery cleaner to keep your diamond jewellery shiny.
How To Store Diamond Jewellery
Ensure that when you’re not wearing your engagement ring, you store it in a clean, dust-free location such as the box the ring came in or a jewellery box with a soft lining at room temperature away from direct sunlight. This will make sure that your jewellery isn’t damaged or lost while you aren’t wearing it.
How Much To Spend On A Diamond
No two diamonds are exactly the same. Consequently, the costs of diamonds can be completely different. When it comes to the cost of a diamond, a high quality 1 carat diamond can range anywhere from around £3,000 to £20,000 depending on numerous factors including whether it is lab-grown.
A diamond's worth can also come down to personal preference. In many cases the difference between a cheaper diamond and a more expensive one may not even be visible to an untrained human eye, thus the ring’s cut or size may be more important to the wearer. For more information about the true cost of diamonds, read our blog.
For more of our articles check out the Hatton Jewellers blog.