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Cut, often mistaken for the shape, refers to the overall proportions of a diamond and is pivotal in giving it its brilliance and sparkle. An ideal cut diamond will reflect the maximum amount of light that enters it, this is the factor that will make is sparkle.
Did you know that it is possible for a diamond with a lower carat weight, but higher cut grade, to appear larger than a diamond with a larger carat weight, but poor cut? The well cut diamond will return the maximum amount of light from the top, making it look large, while the poorly cut diamond has a large portion of its weight at its base and as such will return less light.
A shopping tip from Diamonds International is to start with the best cut grade that you can afford – the maximum light returned may actually make the diamond look larger than it’s true carat weight.
Clarity refers to the degree from which a diamond is free from inclusions (impurities) inside the diamond and on the surface. A diamonds rareness is determined by its clarity. Clarity grades are assigned based on what can be detected at 10x magnification.
Clarity grading ranges from flawless and internally flawless to included – the larger and more frequent an inclusion appears within a diamond, the lower’s it clarity grading.
When shopping for a diamond engagement ring Diamonds International recommends looking at diamonds with varying grades of clarity. While your girlfriend may want a flawless diamond, the reality is that the naked eye may not even notice very small inclusions in a lower grade diamond. Keep in mind that the diamond may even be positioned to that the claw of the engagement ring hides an inclusion.
Colour refers to the grade assigned to indicate where on the colour spectrum a diamond falls within. Graders compare each stone to a set of master stones graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The diamond is then assigned a letter grade from D (colourless) to Z (yellow). The average colour for a diamond engagement ring is G to H (near colourless).
When you’re shopping for a diamond engagement ring keep in mind that size isn’t all that matters – consider all four c’s of diamond quality. With pressure from Hollywood and friends to propose with a diamond engagement ring that is no less than one carat be mindful that the cut, colour and clarity of a diamond also greatly impact on the quality of the diamond. Look for the highest quality diamond that fits into your budget, sacrifice on size for a diamond that is well cut, with lesser impurities and closer to the colourless end of the spectrum for a ring that is noticed for its firey brilliance.