Surprising someone special with a diamond is the ultimate way to celebrate an important occasion by showing them just how much they mean to you, and often, they are associated with some of the biggest milestones and moments in life, like engagements and anniversaries. Whilst there’s nothing quite like a huge sparkler to say it with style, when you’re choosing for someone else there is often a lot of pressure associated with getting it just right.
Making an extravagant purchase such as this isn’t just about nailing their taste, but ensuring you’re getting the best stone for your money, too. Jewellers will often be keen to present their biggest show-stoppers to you, but while a sizeable stone is certain to make an impact, this isn’t the only factor you should be considering, so it’s wise to know what you’re looking for before you pay them a visit so as not to be blinded by the most sparkly diamond shown to you.
So, where exactly should you start – and what should you be looking for? We’ve put together the ultimate guide.
Know your 4 Cs
As we mentioned, the value of a diamond doesn’t just depend on its size, and contrary to popular belief, bigger isn’t always better. Because each diamond is entirely unique, every stone must be individually assessed according to a set of criteria, and the diamond valuation system is based around four key factors – cut, colour, clarity and carat.
The cut of a diamond is important because it impacts upon its brilliance. A reference to a gem’s geometric proportions, the more precisely a diamond is cut and the more symmetrical its many facets as a result, the better its ability to reflect light and thus, the more magnificent and sparkly it will be.
Not every diamond is completely transparent, and so colour is another key consideration. The colour scale used to assess a diamond ranges from D to Z, the former being colourless and the latter a light yellow. The higher the grade and the more colourless a diamond, the greater its value.
Then, there’s a stone’s clarity, which might seem similar to colour, but is not the same. Most diamonds have unique blemishes and marks upon them, which are known as ‘inclusions’ and are entirely natural – but the fewer that are present, at least in a visible sense, the rarer and more precious a diamond is considered to be.
Finally, it’s important to bear in mind the carat of a diamond. Carat weight is essentially the measurement of what a diamond weighs, with a single carat equivalent to 0.2 grams. The higher the carat, the more valuable the diamond – although again, this does depend on the grades it is given for cut, colour and clarity. The 1 carat diamond price in the UK can range anywhere from £3,000 to £17,000, depending on its scoring in these areas.
Choose a respected and experienced jeweller
When you’re ready to go ahead and choose your diamond, don’t just go to any jeweller – go to an experienced one who specialises in high-end pieces and more specifically, diamonds. The longer they have been in the business, the better equipped they will be to advise you, and one with a knowledgeable gemmologist on hand to talk you through the options will be able to give you all the information and advice you need.
Ask to see certification
Having said that, don’t just take your chosen jeweller’s word for it when it comes to accepting the true value of a stone – ask to see the evidence. They should be able to produce the relevant certification for each diamond from an independent diamond grading board in your country (examples include GIA, AGS or HRD), as well as the accompanying report that details its gradings with regards to the 4 Cs, and its estimated value.
Don’t forget the setting
The setting is everything when it comes to finding the perfect diamond ring, so don’t be tempted to ignore this part. Even the most beautiful and valuable of diamonds won’t be done justice if the setting is not up to scratch – look for one that is sturdy and robust without being too thick or heavy, so that it will keep your diamond of choice in place and let plenty of light in to ensure it sparkles as much as it should. Classic setting styles in platinum will never go out of fashion, while yellow gold is currently experiencing a resurgence in popularity.
Ultimately, finding the right diamond ring is about finding the balance of the 4Cs that is right for you or your partner, combined with the fifth C – cost. To keep the budget in check, we recommend you focus on getting the highest ‘cut’ quality diamond you can afford and then focus on ensuring that the diamond looks great to the naked eye – VS2 clarity and G colour are a good balance – and then seeing how high you can go with carat weight.