Choosing a diamond may seem too complicated, but the truth is that there are some simple rules for selecting a good stone. If you follow them, finding a great diamond will never be a challenging task again.
How to Choose a Diamond: Step-By-Step Guide
1. Decide on a Shape
First things first, you should decide what shape you want.
As the most popular shape is the round brilliant, let’s take it as a reference while selecting a diamond for further steps.
Most steps in this guide also apply to other shapes, but for more specific guidelines on colour, clarity and cut grades check out the links below:
2. Set a Budget
Most likely you already have an idea of how much money you are going to spend on your diamond. However, you should also remember about any import duties if ordering from overseas, taxes and shipping fees. Don’t forget that your total budget includes the prices of both the diamond and fees.
Total Budget = Diamond Budget + Import Duties/Taxes/Shipping Fees
Think about what you can afford to spend. Start your diamond selection process by filtering out any diamonds that fall out of your budget. This will help you save your time and efforts.
3. Decide on Carat Weight
After you set your budget, you can decide on the carat weight of the stone.
Most people want to buy the biggest diamond they can get for their money. However, it’s recommended to start working with a carat range and narrow down your choices later.
4. Choose Cut Quality
Always go for the best cut quality. The cut is the most important factor that determines how light enters the stone and is reflected back. The better a diamond’s cut, the more brilliance and sparkle the stone has.
5. Set Minimum Colour
Now, it’s time to set a minimum colour range.
If your diamond will be set in platinum or white gold, the colour minimum should be I colour – any lower than that will show yellow tints.
However, there is an exception to the above recommendation. If you are going to have your diamond set in a setting other than solitaire (side-stone setting, pavé setting, halo setting, etc.), the minimum should be H colour.
If the diamond will be set in yellow gold, you can go as low as J, K or L colours. As diamonds tend to absorb the colour of yellow gold, you won’t really see the difference between H and K coloured diamonds when set in yellow gold.
6. Set Minimum Clarity
You can also find an eye-clean diamond in SI2 range, but you will need to sort through more diamonds until you find the one.
7. Examine Additional Characteristics of Diamonds
Now it’s time to examine additional features you should be paying attention to.
It should be either None or Faint. Diamonds with Strong fluorescence will appear hazy under normal light.
Stones with Medium fluorescence usually look fine, but to be on the safe side, avoid Medium fluorescence diamonds if they are in D-E-F-G range. However, for diamonds that are H colour or lower, Medium fluorescence can improve colour, making them appear whiter.
Make sure that the culet grade is None to Small. Bigger culets will be visible through the stone’s top and look like a dark hole.
Girdle thickness should be within Thin to Slightly Thick grade range. Very thin girdles are at higher risk of chipping, while too thick girdles negatively affect diamond’s proportions.
8. Compare Diamonds and Choose
After you have shortlisted several stones that fit all the above-mentioned criteria, choose the one that you will buy.
If you are comparing diamonds with the same colour, clarity and cut, the choice is pretty much clear: either get the cheaper one or the bigger one.
If similar diamonds defer only on colour and clarity, go for the better colour. Why not better clarity? With clarity, the stone should not have inclusions visible to the naked eye. And most likely you won’t be able to tell which stone has a higher clarity grade just looking at it. With colour, you will still be able to notice a slight difference.
Cover image credit: Barsamian Diamonds