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Diamond Quality: What is a good quality diamond for an engagement ring?

Diamond Quality: What is a good quality diamond for an engagement ring?

Buying a diamond engagement ring is certainly a special journey and big deal, not only emotionally but financially. You want to ensure you’re not only getting the best possible engagement ring design but the best value for money diamonds in your engagement ring. You want to be confident that with all things being equal in terms of diamond quality and the diamond 4Cs, you select the best jeweller to deal with who will offer the best price. Learn all you need to know about diamond quality so you can feel assured you are buying the best possible diamond engagement ring for your partner without wasting any money.

Searching for the best quality diamond for your engagement ring purchase can get quickly overwhelming and confusing. If you want a little peace of mind, feel free to Contact Forever Chic Jewellery for some FREE expert, personal jewellery advice.

Understand the Diamond 4Cs so you can prioritise diamond quality to fit your budget

Learn how to prioritise the diamond 4Cs to find a beautiful quality diamond within your budget. The 4 Cs stand for: Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat of a diamond. 


Summary: 4Cs in order of importance


Cut: brings out your diamond’s sparkle and brilliance. 

Colour: for diamonds the less colour the better for shine. 

Clarity: those tiny imperfections that make your diamond unique. 

Carat: the diamond’s weight and indication of size or scale.

Why understanding the diamond 4 Cs Matters

Once you fully understand the diamond 4Cs, you can use them to your advantage in your diamond engagement ring shopping:

  • By understanding diamond quality you can learn where you can give a little and still get a beautiful diamond. 
  •  It will also help when comparing two diamond engagement rings side by side of equal grade, cut and polish and then paying the best price. 
  •  By learning that what is most important at the end of the day, is how the diamond appears to the naked eye—and how attractive the diamond is overall, as this will ensure you don’t spend your budget on a component that will go unnoticed.

Diamond quality and narrowing down your diamond shape:

A Few Things To Know About Diamond Shape in General

Diamond shape makes the biggest impact on the look of your engagement ring. Shape refers to the geometric outline and overall physical form of a diamond. Every diamond shape has its own attributes and cut specifications, which also play a large factor in the overall look of the stone. 


You may also like to check out our article “Diamond Sparkle – What Diamond Shape and Cut Has The Most Sparkle? 


Therefore selecting a beautiful quality diamond involves narrowing down your shape and selecting high-quality options for the 4Cs, as previously mentioned — without paying too much. 


The most popular shape is round due to its unrivalled sparkle and brilliance, with fancy shapes like princess and cushion following closely. 


Non-round or fancy shape diamonds usually cost less than round diamonds allowing you to make the most of your budget while still offering an array of beautiful ring design options.

Diamond Quality: What is a good quality diamond for an engagement ring?

More on Diamond Shape - 

Diamond Shape - Length to Width Ratios:

Diamond length-to-width ratios are dimensions that are widely considered preferable for each shape thanks to their pleasing symmetries and broad appeal. It shows how elongated a fancy-shaped (non - round) diamond appears when viewed from the top.


Forever Chic Jewellery always showcases and recommends best length-to-width ratio diamonds for maximum beauty for any given design. 


Note: Length to width ratio is measured by dividing the length of the diamond by the width. For example, if a diamond has a length of 5mm and a width of 3mm, the length-to-width ratio is 1.67.

Most popular length/width ratios:

  • Princess: 1.00-1.05 
  • Radiant: 1.00-1.05 
  • Asscher: 1.00-1.05 
  • Cushion: 1.00-1.05 
  • Heart: 0.90-1.10 
  • Emerald: 1.30-1.40 
  • Oval: 1.30-1.70 
  • Pear: 1.45-1.75 
  • Marquise: 1.75-2.30

Diamond Shape - Relationship to Diamond Colour:

Some diamond shapes mask colour to varying degrees because of how the shape interacts with light. For example, round brilliant diamonds reflect more light, which means more colour is masked. Certain fancy-shaped diamonds (ie. non-round) hide colour better than others—and can cost up to 25% less than a round-cut diamond. 


It’s also smart to consider the colour of precious metal for your setting that best compliments the colour grade of your diamond. For example, yellow gold casts a warm glow and looks best with diamonds with faint colour. Platinum or white gold will make a near-colourless diamond look icier.

Diamond Shape - Relationship to Diamond Clarity

The unique characteristics of some fancy-shaped diamonds (which are non-round diamonds) require a higher clarity grade than others to bring out their brilliance or to hide inclusions. 


A good place to start your search and maximise your budget is with Slightly Included (SI) and Very Slightly Included (VS) grades because inclusions will not be readily noticeable without magnification.

Navigating the 4Cs of Diamonds and Diamond Quality

   Carat

Carat refers to the total weight of the diamond. While Carat weight is an element to consider when buying a diamond, the overall appearance and brilliance should hold more importance. For example, an average quality grade 2 Carat diamond will not shine as brightly— or draw as much attention—as a 1 carat high quality grade diamond, no matter how much more it weighs.

Colour

Diamonds fall within a colour scale from D (colourless) to Z (light yellow). The closer a diamond is to having no colour (D), the more valuable it becomes because light reflects off the white diamond with far greater sparkle.


Therefore the aim with diamond colour is to choose a diamond that appears white. But you don’t need to pay for a D or E diamond to get a colourless stone. In general, diamonds in the G to I range still appear white but cost far less. It’s important to note, that brilliance, or sparkle, is created from the way the diamond is cut. It is not advantageous to purchase a diamond that distracts from this important principal characteristic.

Diamond Quality: What is a good quality diamond for an engagement ring?

Additionally it should be noted that different shapes reflect colour at different strengths, so your choice of optimal colour, balancing the diamond’s appearance with the diamond’s price, will depend greatly on what diamond shape you’ve chosen. 


Once you’ve narrowed down your preferred specs for a diamond, compare equal diamond quality engagement rings to determine which one to buy.

Clarity

Diamond clarity refers to flaws, known as inclusions and blemishes of a diamond.There are 11 grades on the clarity scale from flawless (FL) to obvious inclusions (L3). Most diamonds fall into the VS (very slightly included) or SI (slightly included categories). 


For Clarity, our key recommendation is to ensure the diamond is eye clean ( ie. one that has no imperfections visible to the unaided eye), and that inclusions are not interfering with light reflection. 


A good place to start your search and maximise your budget is with Slightly Included (SI) and Very Slightly Included (VS) grades because inclusions will not be readily noticeable without magnification.

Diamond Quality: What is a good quality diamond for an engagement ring?

Cut

Most diamond experts agree it's the diamond cut that has the greatest impact on a diamond’s beauty, allure and overall quality. The more precise and skilful the cut, the more appealing the diamond is to the eye. Diamond cut refers to the angles and proportions created when the diamond is transformed into a polished diamond.  


When it comes to the cut, the qualities you need to look out for are:

  • Brilliance - refers to the effect that a diamond gives when it reflects light. 
  • Fire - is the effect caused by the dispersion of light as it leaves the diamond - causing the white light to separate into multiple colours of the rainbow. 
  • Scintillation - refers to the flashes of light or sparkle you see when a diamond is moved around. 
  • Cut grades - there are several components to a cutting grading system from ideal, excellent, very good, good and poor. Usually excellent cut diamonds offer the best value for money.

There’s a lot of expertise that goes into being able to distinguish between one diamond over another. Ask your Forever Chic Jewellery specialist for free advice or guidance here.

Bottom-Line Diamond Quality Recommendations

As a general rule, we suggest a high quality Cut above all else—as this greatly impacts a diamond’s beauty and brilliance—while balancing a fine line on Colour and Clarity to get the best value for your money. Cut grades aren’t standardised across all jewellers, but in general, we recommend Excellent cut diamonds.

  1. Cut - Our first tip would be to purchase the highest quality cut diamond that your budget will allow. The quality of the cut of your diamond has the biggest impact on its sparkle and can actually make your diamond appear larger than it is. Fire, scintillation and brilliance are all related to the cut of the diamond and are the real eye catchers. If you sacrifice cut for size for example you may find the diamond appear a little flat or even dull. 
  2. Compare your colours - From our experience it's the sparkle and brilliance of the diamond that catches the eye before its colour. Colour appears to become more noticeable when you get up to diamonds of 2 carats or more. It should be noted however that the visible difference to the naked eye of diamonds that are side by side on the colour grading scale can often be nearly non-existent. 
  3. Diamond shapes - Some diamond shapes reflect more colour than others and offer more sparkle for your dollar. A round or princess cut diamond can mask some colour in a lower grade diamond, saving you money while still getting a stunning diamond engagement ring. 
  4. Clarity - Major imperfections should obviously always be avoided but most diamond imperfections are so small to an untrained eye that no one would ever notice them. Again, this is an area where there are potential savings to be made, we generally recommend VS or SI usually to be an ideal choice for a perfect balance of beauty and value for money.

Final Words

  1. Cut gives your diamond sparkle and fire. 
  2. For round shaped diamonds, focus on the “Triple X”: Excellent Cut, and Excellent Polish. 
  3. For fancy shaped diamonds, focus on the length-to-width ratio of the diamond.If the diamond is greater than 1.25 carats, clarity is more important. 
  4. When purchasing yellow gold metal for your ring, save money by choosing a diamond colour in the I to K range.

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