Before you start buying diamond jewellery, you want to have an understanding of what you're buying. This guide simplifies the four Cs of diamonds - cut, colour, clarity, and carat weight, so you can select your diamond based on the same criteria jewellers use to grade them.
After reading through this guide, you'll be ready to choose the diamond that's right for you.
The cut of a diamond has the most effect on its sparkle, or brilliance. Even if the diamond has perfect colour and clarity, a poor cut can make a diamond look dull. Bespoke Diamond only uses the highest grades of diamond cut, for the most sparkle. Learn how to choose the right diamond cut with the most brilliance for your budget.
The cut of a diamond - its roundness, its depth and width, the uniformity of the facets - all determine a diamond's brilliance. Many gemmologists consider cut the most important diamond characteristic because even if a diamond has perfect colour and clarity, a diamond with a poor cut will have dulled brilliance.
The width and depth have the greatest effect on how light travels within the diamond, and how it exits in the form of brilliance.
Too Shallow: Light is lost out the bottom
causing the diamond to lose brilliance.
Too Deep: Light escapes out the sides causing the diamond to appear dark and dull.
Correct path of light through a well cut diamond.
The diamond's proportions, specifically the depth compared to the diameter, and the diameter of the table compared to the diameter of the diamond, determine how well light will reflect and refract within the diamond.
Diameter: The width of the diamond as
measured through the girdle
Table: The largest facet of a gemstone
Crown: The top portion of a diamond extending from the girdle to the table.
Girdle: The narrow band around the widest part of a diamond.
Pavilion: The bottom portion of a diamond,
extending from the girdle to the culet.
Culet: The facet at the tip of a gemstone. The preferred culet is not visible with the unaided eye (graded "small" or "none").
Depth: The height of a gemstone measured from the culet to the table.
Polish and Symmetry
Polish and symmetry are two important aspects of the cutting process. The polish grade describes the smoothness of the diamond's facets, and the symmetry grade refers to alignment of the facets. With poor polish, the surface of a facet can be dulled, and may create blurred or dulled sparkle. With poor symmetry, light can be misdirected as it enters and exits the diamond. The polish and symmetry grades are clearly listed in each diamond detail page and within the diamond grading report. For the most beautiful diamond, look for a symmetry grade of ideal (ID), excellent (EX), very good (VG), or good (G). Avoid diamonds with symmetry grades of fair (F) or poor (P), as the alignment of their facets may misdirect light so severely that it affects the brilliance of the diamond.
Bespoke Diamond only uses diamonds with a minimum of Good/Good Polish/Symmetry grade.
Diamond measurements are calculated and applied to a
cut grading scale that makes it easy to understand how well each reflect
Ideal cut: Represents roughly the top
3% of diamond quality based on cut. Reflects nearly all light that enters
the diamond. An exquisite and rare cut.
Very good cut: Represents roughly the top 15% of diamond quality based on cut. Reflects nearly as much light as the ideal cut, but for a lower price.
Good cut: Represents roughly the top 25% of diamond quality based on cut. Reflects most light that enters. Less expensive than a very good cut.
Fair cut: Represents roughly the top 35% of diamond quality based on cut. Still a quality diamond, but a fair cut will not be as brilliant as a good cut.
Poor cut: This includes all diamonds that do not meet the proportion standards of a fair cut. These diamonds are deep and narrow or shallow and wide and tend to lose most of the light out the sides and bottom.
Bespoke Diamond only uses diamonds with a minimum of Good cut grade.
Diamonds with very little colour are the most highly valued and are priced accordingly. A little colour can diminish a diamond's brilliance. To help you choose the most brilliant diamond, Bespoke Diamond offers diamonds with the highest grades of colour. Learn how to choose a diamond with no colour noticeable to the unaided eye.
Acting as a prism, a diamond can divide light into a spectrum of colours and reflect this light as colourful flashes called fire. Just as when looking through collared glass, colour in a diamond will act as a filter, and will diminish the spectrum of colour emitted. The less colour in a diamond, the more colourful the fire, and the better the colour grade.
D: Absolutely colourless. The highest
colour grade, which is extremely rare.
E: Colourless. Only minute traces of colour can be detected by an expert gemmologist. A rare diamond.
F: Colourless. Slight colour detected by an expert gemmologist, but still considered a "colourless" grade. A high-quality diamond.
G-I: Near-colourless. Colour noticeable when compared to diamonds of better grades, but these grades offer excellent value.
J-L: Slight-colourless. Colour detectable.
M-Z: Tinted Colour
Note: Strongly coloured diamonds are termed fancies and are extremely rare and desirable.
Some people seek diamonds that produce this unique effect, while others definitely avoid it. The visible effects of fluorescence grades of faint, inert, negligible, and medium, can only be detected by a trained gemmologist. A fluorescence grade of strong or very strong can make a diamond with a near-colourless grade look even whiter yet in some instances give the diamond a slight hazy or oily appearance. Diamonds with a strong or very strong fluorescence are priced slightly lower than other diamonds.
Bespoke Diamond only uses diamonds colour graded from D to I and with no fluorescence.
Diamonds with few flaws, or inclusions, are very rare and highly valued. Clarity is graded based on the number, location, size, and type of the inclusions found in a diamond. Bespoke Diamond has some of the clearest diamonds available. Learn how to choose the right grade of clarity for your diamond.
Diamonds that are absolutely clear are the most sought-after and therefore the most expensive. But many diamonds have inclusions - scratches, trace minerals or other tiny characteristics that can detract from the pure beauty of the diamond. The GIA use a detailed system of rules and standards to summarize the number, location, size, and type of inclusions present in a diamond.
FL, IF Diamonds: Flawless: No internal
or external flaws. Internally Flawless: No internal flaws. Very rare and
VVS1, VVS2 Diamonds: Very, Very Slightly Included: Very difficult to see inclusions under 10x magnification. An excellent quality diamond.
VS1, VS2 Diamonds: Very Slightly Included: Inclusions are not typically visible to the unaided eye. Less expensive than the VVS1 or VVS2 grades
SI1, SI2 Diamonds: Slightly Included: Inclusions are visible under 10x magnification, and may be visible with the unaided eye. A good diamond value.
I1, I2, I3 Diamonds: Included: Inclusions are easily visible under 10x magnification, and be visible with the unaided eye.
Bespoke Diamond only uses diamonds from Flawless to SI as we feel diamonds of lower grades look dull and have no place in quality jewellery.
The weight of a diamond is measured in carats. Since larger diamonds are rarer than smaller diamonds, diamond value tends to rise exponentially with carat weight. Read more about carat weight and learn how to balance diamond quality with the size of your diamond
Once you've determined what cut, colour, and clarity grade you're looking for in a diamond, it's easy to determine the carat weight of diamond that will fit within your budget.
This chart illustrates how diamonds of different carat weights look when set in a ring. Note that a 2-carat diamond does not appear to be twice the size of a 1-carat diamond when viewed from the top.
When diamonds are mined, large gems are discovered much less frequently than small ones, which makes large diamonds much more valuable. In fact, diamond prices rise exponentially with carat weight. So, a 2-carat diamond of a given quality is always worth more than two 1-carat diamonds of the same quality.
To choose the best carat weight of diamond, consider your partners style, the size of their finger, the size of your setting, and your budget.
- If you have a set budget, explore all your options and you'll find that there is a wide range of diamond carat weights and qualities available in your price range.
- If your recipient is very active or not used to wearing jewellery, they may find themselves bumping or nicking their new ring. Consider a smaller size diamond or a setting that protects a larger diamond from getting knocked against doors and counters.
- Also keep in mind that the smaller the finger, the larger the diamond will appear. A 1½-carat diamond solitaire looks much larger on a size G finger than a size U.
- If you have already chosen a setting, make sure you choose a diamond to fit. Look for the diamond size specifications of your ring or ask your Bespoke Diamond consultant what size diamond you should look for.
The most important step in choosing a diamond is reviewing the diamond certificate, referred to by diamond grading labs as a grading report. A grading report documents the characteristics of a diamond, like the four Cs. Before purchasing a diamond, make sure it has a grading report from a reputable laboratory, as this is your guarantee of quality for that diamond.
Bespoke Diamond only sells certificated diamonds from reputable associations.
Diamonds are the hardest substance on earth. They are uniquely resistant to damage by heat or scratching, and can be cut or polished only by another diamond - but an extremely hard blow to the girdle can cause a diamond to chip. By having your diamond set in a relatively protective setting, and remaining conscious of it on your finger, you can keep your diamond intact for a lifetime. Exposure during ordinary wear to perspiration and household chemicals, like chlorine and hairspray, can cause build up that dulls the surface of a diamond. We suggest periodic cleanings to keep the diamond brilliant and refractive.
A solution of one part ammonia and six parts water can be used to clean diamond jewellery at home. If cleaning by hand, gentle scrubbing with a soft brush should loosen most dirt and greatly increase the brilliance of the diamond, but be careful not to scratch the metal of your setting. Once a year, it is a good idea to have your diamond cleaned and have the security of the setting checked.
We recommend that all diamond jewellery is stored individually in soft cloth pouches when not being worn to prevent the diamond or diamonds from scratching or dulling other jewellery.
Engagement Ring Guide
The classic engagement ring is composed of two parts, a diamond and a setting. For the best value, find the setting she'll love then devote the remainder of your budget to a beautiful, certified diamond.
How much should I spend?
This is an emotional event, and a purchase that will last a lifetime. The two-months salary convention is a common starting point, but we believe that regardless of the amount you budget, your most important considerations should be quality and value.
This guide will help you choose a setting your partner will love, and decide on the right combination of diamond size and quality, so you're sure to choose the perfect ring.
Choosing the right ring.
Discovering what kind of ring they like can be a challenge if you want to keep your proposal a secret. We'll give you a list of all the points you'll need to know before you begin shopping, as well as some secret methods for discovering their ring size as well as their taste in engagement rings.
You partner is going to wear this ring for the rest of their life, so you want to ensure they like it. Whether you want your proposal to be a surprise, or to involve your partner in the decision, here are the decisions you'll need to make:
Gold or Platinum?
If you're unsure what ring metal to choose, consider the differences between 18k gold and platinum:
Platinum: the strongest, most pure metal. It will last a lifetime.
- More expensive
- Platinum jewellery is composed of 90-95% pure platinum. It is more rare than gold
- Strongest jewellery metal
- Resistant to damage
- Won't wear away
- Develops a satin finish
- Difficult to polish, repair
- Won't tarnish
Platinum is a white metal (looking similar to silver), but unlike gold it is used in jewellery in almost its pure form (approximately 95% pure). The other 5% is usually made from other metals such as gold, nickel, iridium, palladium, rhodium, or ruthenium. Platinum does not need to be Rhodium plated like white gold, as it is extremely resilient. In fact, its durability is what makes Platinum so popular. It is so strong that it doesn't splinter or whittle away like other metals, and will not need to be reinforced to make it stronger.
While it is the strongest of jewellery metals, platinum can still scratch with everyday wear. This produces sheen unique to platinum, called a patina. Many people prefer this finish. Those who prefer the shiny reflective look need only polish their jewellery to return it to its original lustre.
Platinum requires little care - a soft bristled brush with a solution of soap and water is all that is needed to maintain the metal's lustre.
Platinum usually costs roughly 2-4 times as much as the same piece of jewellery made in gold. This is due to the extreme heat and techniques necessary for its manufacture, as well as its density. The specific gravity of platinum is 21.5, which is somewhat heavier than gold, and so a platinum ring will feel heavier than an 18ct gold ring.
Gold: the most common engagement ring setting.
- Less expensive
- Mixed with metal alloys to give it strength
- Softer, malleable metal
- More easily damaged
- Will wear away over years
- Easy to polish, repair
- Won't tarnish
Gold is naturally yellow in colour and will not tarnish, corrode or rust and is the most malleable of all metals. Pure gold is defined as 24 carat, and is too soft for most jewellery uses, so it is alloyed (mixed) with other metals to alter its properties, strength and colour.
The purity of gold is measured in carats, which are expressed in 24ths. Therefore, 24-carat gold is pure while 12-carat gold 50% gold and 50% alloy.
24 Carat: This is pure gold and is too
soft for jewellery
22 Carat: 91.7% gold and too soft for jewellery
18 Carat: 75% gold and used for fine jewellery
14 Carat: 58.3% gold and used for good quality jewellery
12 Carat: 50% gold and used for jewellery of a fair quality
9 Carat: 37.5% gold, most commonly used metal in UK.
NB: Do not confuse metal carat with diamond carat; diamond carat refers to the weight of a diamond, while metal carat means the purity of the gold.
Keep gold jewellery away from chemicals and cleaning fluids to reduce daily scratches and prolong its lustre. Wash the jewellery gently with a soft-bristled brush using a solution of detergent-free soap and warm water. Store gold pieces separately in their original boxes or soft cloth bags to protect them from the elements.
A point to remember is that the higher the percentage of gold, the higher the price.
White gold is an alloy of gold and some white metals such as nickel, silver and palladium. Yellow gold and white gold are very similar and tend to have the same alloy percentages. The only difference is the other metals use
18-carat yellow gold and 18-carat white gold are both made from 75% gold and 25% other metals. The difference between the two metals lies only in the alloy. The yellow gold is alloyed with coloured metals such as copper and zinc. The white gold is alloyed with white metals such as nickel and silver.
White Gold is then Rhodium plated to give it its final shine. Although this is very effective it will eventually rub off and need replating.
Bespoke Diamond only uses Platinum and 18ct Gold in its jewellery manufacture.
Choosing the right setting for your diamond.
There are many different settings available and it can be hard to choose. We have a wide selection of styles available online from which you can choose but if you still can't find the ring you are looking for Bespoke Diamond is here to help. Contact us with any ideas and we will find the correct setting for you.
Choosing a ring without them knowing
How do you know if she'll like the ring if she doesn't pick it out? If you consider her tastes and lifestyle, you'll be sure to make the right choice.
- Take a good look at the colour of jewellery your partner wears. What colour is the metal?
- Ask her friends or mother if there is a type or style of ring she likes.
- Is she very active or not used to wearing jewellery? If so, consider a cathedral or contour setting, which will protect a diamond from rough treatment.
Engagements are rarely an out-of-the-blue surprise, so it is common to discuss engagement ring choices with your partner. The only way to ensure you find a ring that will match her taste and style is to shop for a ring together.
Choosing the right diamond
An engagement diamond may be the biggest purchase you've ever made. And with the right information, you'll be able to spend your budget on the diamond qualities that are most important to you.
To start, find out what shape she likes. You can choose from round, oval, princess-cut, emerald-cut, Asscher-cut, marquise-cut, radiant-cut, pear-shaped, and heart-shaped diamonds. The majority of diamond engagement rings today are set with a round diamond. And most of the remaining rings are set with princess-cut diamonds.
Once you have decided on a shape the qualities are important. Please use information at the beginning of this guide to help you make the right decision.
Wedding Ring Guide
Choosing a wedding ring does not have to be as challenging as finding the perfect engagement ring. This guide details all you'll need to know about choosing women's and men's wedding bands.
A Perfect Match
Some rings are designed to fit together, side-by-side. Many women like the symmetry of two matching rings, with diamonds of the same size and shape, or just the same type of metal. See related items on your choice of engagement ring for matching wedding bands.
A Unique Combination
She may choose a ring other than the one designed to match her engagement ring. This creates a unique look that is becoming popular. To explore all the options, view all of our plain and diamond wedding rings.
Women's Platinum and 18k Gold Rings
Consider the classic. Both 18k gold and platinum rings will last a lifetime. View all our 18ct gold and platinum wedding rings.
Men's Wedding Rings
Men have a few simple choices. He can select a ring thickness, choose between platinum and 18k gold, and choose a ring set with diamonds or one with a unique design. Some couples choose matching men's and women's wedding rings. To be sure you'll enjoy your rings for years to come, just choose rings that you love.
Men's Platinum and 18k Gold Rings
Our most popular men's wedding rings are plain metal bands. For an element of design choose a ring with a subtle design like millgrain or a diamond set ring.
Earrings make the perfect gift because they are always the right fit. The most basic jewellery wardrobe piece, she may leave the house without a bracelet, but she's almost always wearing earrings.
Most earring styles go with anything, so your gift won't cause her wardrobe issues. The wide variety of earring types, sizes, and prices available makes it easy to find the perfect pair for a gift. She'll remember you every time she wears them
Studs: Because they're small, stud earrings
are easy to wear. They go as easily with a cocktail dress as they do with
jeans. You'll find a variety of prices.
Hoops: Platinum, 18k gold hoops give a feminine touch, and precious metals go with anything. For added sparkle, choose a pair with diamonds.
Other styles: You'll find a wide variety of other earring designs that can specifically fit her style. Choose platinum or 18k gold for a lasting gift.
Earrings as gifts
Diamond studs are the perfect gift for an important occasion. If she is more fashionable and follows the trends, give her princess-cut diamond studs, but if she dresses in classic styles, give round diamond studs.
Even if she has several pairs of earrings already, she'll love to add a pair of beautiful hoop earrings to her rotation. Most women prefer either the white metals or yellow gold, so look to her other jewellery to see what metal she prefers.
Pendant and Necklace Guide
A necklace or pendant adds style to anything she wears. If you give a necklace as a gift, you also have a romantic opportunity to put it on her. She'll lift her hair up so you can wrap your hands around her neck to put it on.
A necklace is any type of chain, or length of precious metal or gems, while a pendant features a single jewel.
Chains: Go with everything. A fine platinum
chain in a choker length will add just a touch of shine. Consider giving
her an 18-inch 18ct gold chain to add an element of visual interest to
Pendants: A pendant is something she can wear with a dress or jeans. The simple design of a solitaire pendant allows all the attention to focus on a beautiful diamond solitaire. Other pendants feature shapes like a heart, or a cross made of precious metal, diamonds.
Choosing the right length.
When selecting a necklace or pendant, consider that the length will determine where it will lie on her chest. Remember that longer lengths accentuate the bust while shorter lengths feature the beautiful lines of her neck
16in. Choker length: Just above collarbones.
Emphasizes her neckline.
18in. Princess length: Hangs over collarbones. The most common length.
24in. Opera length: Over blouse or dress. A dramatic length.
Necklaces and Pendants as gifts.
If you have a special occasion like a birthday or your first wedding anniversary, consider a solitaire pendant featuring a diamond. For a very special occasion like a five- or ten-year anniversary, you might give a diamond necklace, which are the most beautiful. She'll remember the occasion every time she wears the gift.
If it's a gift for a fun occasion, like a vacation or a promotion, consider a pendant featuring an 18ct gold or platinum these are fashion pieces just for fun.
A bracelet is one jewellery item she will see all the time, so she can appreciate it often. She also enjoys the feeling of it on her wrist reminding her of you.
Some bracelets are available in different lengths. So before you purchase, be sure to measure one of her other bracelets to be sure she doesn't need a special length.
Bracelets are usually worn on occasions when she isn't working with her hands. Even when not working, a bracelet's proximity to the hands causes it to get bumped and banged, so it must be very durable. Jewellery designers take this into account, so you can be sure the bracelet you choose will last.
Bracelet as a gift.
For an important occasion give her a bracelet. This bracelet is perfectly suited for one and looks great with a dress.