Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat – How to Buy a Diamond

Diamonds are a symbol of rarity, durability and beauty.  They are sought after because of their fiery sparkle and brilliance.  They represent the pinnacle of luxury, wealth and taste.

Natural diamonds that are beautiful enough to be used in jewellery are rare.  Most diamonds were formed more than 990 million years ago deep inside the earth.    In recent years, lab-grown diamonds have appeared, and now represent a significant percentage of total diamond sales.

Before you purchase a diamond, natural or lab-grown you must understand what makes them valuable and desirable.


A diamond’s cut refers to its shape and facets.  This is what makes a diamond sparkle.  The more faceted the cut, the greater the sparkle.

A diamond’s sparkle depends on its ability to take in light and reflect it back out.  The more light the diamond reflects, the more sparkle it will have.  To do this diamonds are cut into shapes made up of numerous facets.  Each facet reflects light from one part of the diamond to another, then bounces it back out to create the sparkle.


Round brilliant diamonds are the sparkliest.  They are cut to have 58 facets allowing light to enter and reflect off every facet to create a brilliant sparkle

Oval cut diamonds are another cut known for their sparkle and brilliance.  Oval engagement rings are popular due to their lower cost when compared to round brilliant stones.  There are 56 facets on an oval diamond, and when it is cut well it has a gorgeous brilliance and fire.


Clarity measures the purity of the diamond.  Most diamonds have flaws, even if they are microscopic.  The clearer the diamond, the more brilliant and valuable it is. Internal flaws are called inclusions and external flaws are called blemishes. In contrast, baguette diamonds are known for their unique step cuts and fewer facets, which can highlight clarity and create a different kind of sparkle.

Diamonds are graded on a scale from FL (flawless) to VVS (very, very slightly included) to SI (slightly included) to I (included). Diamonds with no inclusions or blemishes are extremely rare, making them very valuable


A diamond’s weight is measured in carats.  A metric carat is 200 milligrams and each carat can be subdivided into 100 points.

While some of the other characteristics may be subjective, the weight of any particular diamond is objective.


Diamonds come in many colours and are either white (colourless) or fancy.  Colour variations make a major difference in diamond quality and price.  Colourless or pure white diamonds are the most desirable because they have the most sparkle.

The setting you choose can have an impact on how much it sparkles.  A setting that lets in more light will allow the diamond to show off its brilliance.  For a wedding, your setting should also coordinate with that of your partner.

People buy diamonds for lots of reasons.  As an expression of love, as a reward, as a celebration of achievement or to boost their self-worth. 

Whatever your reason, you don’t want to purchase a conflict diamond. Buyers are seeking ethical diamonds.  Stones that have been mined with fair pay, safe working conditions and environmentally sound practices.

That’s why whatever diamond you buy, you should only deal with reputable certified dealers.

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