Choosing the right Diamond is can be a little overwhelming for first-time buyers. At Louise Jean we assist in all Diamond matters and questions, but please read through our guide to help you choose the perfect stone for your needs. When sourcing a diamond, there are four main factors that determine the its value.
The carat of a diamond is merely a measurement of its weight and is primarily what determines and influences the value. However, it is essential to remember that the carat weight does not accurately reflect the size of the diamond. Diamonds come in a variety of carat weights, and as the weight increases, the more valuable and rare they become. This is why pricing for diamonds increases exponentially, rather than linearly.
A common misconception is that carat equates to the overall size (or dimension) of a diamond, and is why we advise not starting with the carat weight when you begin your custom process. Limiting to a specific carat size reduces the range of possible options that could be better in the spread, appearance (beauty), or overall value. We highly recommend seeking value and beauty, rather than focusing on the numbers.
Another common misconception also applies to the key carat weights (i.e. 1ct, 1.5ct and so on). In-between weights (such as 0.93ct, 1.15ct etc.) can offer you quite some savings for a very comparable look to the larger closer key weight. For example, a 0.95ct oval diamond will have a near-identical look of a standard 1ct oval - this essentially allows you to achieve the look of the carat weight you are after while costing considerably less. This is because the diamond cutter’s higher priority is to maximise the carat and keep it above critical weight.
Once we have established a suitable carat range fit for your budget, we have particular parameters by which we source options that have a balance between a good spread and excellent grading, to ensure you are presented with only the best diamonds.
- Focus on the spread (dimensions) of the diamond, not just the carat weight.
- Don’t over prioritise the carat, be open to considering in-between carat weights. Visually, it’s hard to tell the difference between diamonds that vary 5 to 10 per cent in carat weight. For example, a 0.95ct and 1ct diamond will be nearly indistinguishable.
The cut of a diamond is not to be mistaken for the shape. It is essential the facet arrangement that determines light performance, fire, brilliance and overall visual beauty of a diamond. This is one of the most important C’s of a diamond, but unfortunately, it can also be one of the most confusing or misunderstood. Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grades the cut by precisely measuring the angles and sizes of the facets of a diamond. These include the diamond’s table, depth, girdle, pavilion, crown and culet. Polish and symmetry can also place a small role. All these factors come together to determine the cut grade of the diamond.
- Poorer cut grades will have more ‘light leakage’ - this is when light enters the stone but is not dispersed or reflected adequately. Light leakage results in possibly a dark, dull and less appealing diamond. These diamonds do not meet our criteria and are not used in our designs. GIA and other diamond grading laboratories only issue a cut grade for round diamonds, not fancy cuts (i.e. oval, pear, emerald, etc.). Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so focus more on the length to width ratio and how the diamond visually appeals to you - we will take care of the important details!
Colour is a natural element in diamonds. It is formed by trace elements during the growing process beneath the earth over millions of years. The GIA’s D-to-Z colour-grading scale is the industry’s most widely accepted colour grading system for diamonds and is essentially the evaluation of diamonds based on the absence or presence of colour.
The scale begins with the letter D, representing colourless. The letters on the lower end have more presence of yellow, and this can become more apparent in specific shapes and carat ranges. Subtle grading differences in colour alone can also affect the value of a diamond, even if comparing two diamonds with the same carat and clarity. Many of these colour distinctions aren’t noticeable to the untrained eye so while colour is important, it doesn’t mean lower grades have to be disregarded merely because they’re not within the colourless range.
- If you are more budget-driven, we recommend colours from G-H in fancy cuts and H-J in rounds.
- Don’t compromise too much on colour if you are opting for a larger diamond (particularly over 1ct.) as colour can be more evident as the carat size increases.
- Don’t focus on just the colour graded by GIA while compromising the cut. The quality of the cut will have influence the light dispersion/refraction (brilliance) and overall brightness. For example, a high-grade cut will make a ‘warmer’ stone appear whiter, and a low-grade cut can make a colourless grade appear darker.
- There isn’t a ‘right’ colour option, just what appeals to you and your budget. There is still beauty in those ‘lower’ colour grades and can be a unique point of difference in your diamond if you choose to.
Few things in nature are perfect. During the diamond growth process, internal impurities and imperfections are formed - otherwise referred to as inclusions. Clarity of a diamond is essentially the degree of the inclusions that are present, their position and how easy they are to see.
Diamonds are ranked from IF (Internally Flawless) to I3. At Louise Jean, we ensure that all of our diamonds are eye-clean meaning that there are no visible inclusions to the naked eye. When inclusions are present in our diamonds, they are too tiny be seen by anyone other than a trained diamond grader under magnification.
Many people tend to make the mistake of focusing on clarity over other factors. Instead, you should consider the combination of the three most important C’s (Colour, Cut and Clarity) in combination. Good colour and cut can make a low-clarity diamond more appealing than a diamond with great clarity and a poor cut.
- Focus on an eye-clean diamond (has inclusions that are not visible) rather than aiming for a particular clarity grade. You do not need to limit your options to have better ‘paperwork’. To the naked eye, you can’t tell the difference between an IF graded diamond and an eye-clean SI diamond.
- When choosing clarity, don’t look for the highest grade you can get on your budget while neglecting the other C’s.
- VS2 and SI1 clarity grades are the most popular as they can offer better value without affecting the brilliance.
- Clarity is more critical in step-style diamonds, such as Emerald or Asscher cuts. Brilliant cuts (such as Round, Oval, Pear etc.) hide inclusions better due to their faceting.
Often confused with the CUT shape is exactly as the name describes. Shape largely comes down to personal preference. There are 'standard' ratios when it comes to shape but the beauty is really in the eye of the beholder. Popularity of different shapes changes with trends but Round remains the most popular diamond shape globally. At Louise Jean we are known for of Oval Ceremonial Solitaire.