By Alison Cooper, Founder and CEO of Alicia J Diamonds
When buying an engagement ring, a lot of people, young men in particular, become fixated on size. They want a stunningly large rock with the highest possible number of carats to demonstrate their love. Well, I’m here to tell you – and them – that when it comes to diamonds, size really isn’t everything.
The key to buying the best diamond for your budget is to balance the 4 Cs. These are cut, colour, clarity and carat weight. These determine the value, beauty and rarity of a diamond. Every time someone chooses a bespoke engagement ring with us, we go through different diamonds, weighing up what the best choice is for each person. A diamond with a small carat but perfect cut and medium to high clarity may have more brilliance, shine and sparkle than one with a larger carat weight.
Diamonds increase in value over time, so ensuring that you make a sound investment as well as buy a beautiful diamond should be part of the consideration. Every diamond sold by us comes with certification to details the 4 cs of the precious stone.
Below is my guide to the four Cs and what each one means:
Carat refers to the weight of the diamond. A carat is one-fifth of a gram,so 5 carats = one gram. For diamonds under one carat, each carat is divided into 100 points – similar to pennies in a pound. For example, 0.50ct = 50 points.
However, a 2ct diamond will not cost exactly twice as much as a 1ct diamond because it’s not carat weight alone that determines a diamond’s price. Larger diamonds are far rarer than smaller diamonds and the scarcer something is, the more it costs. So, the price of diamonds increases exponentially with carat weight and the size and rarity of a diamond accelerates its price and value.
A common misconception is that all diamonds are colourless. Truly colourless diamonds are extremely rare. Most diamonds contain slight tints of yellow or brown. Diamond colour is graded from D to Z – D being the most white and colourless and Z containing noticeable yellow or brown tints. These tints of colour can be very subtle but cause dramatic variations in the price. In short, the whiter the diamond, the rarer it is, and the rarer it is, the higher the value.
The cut refers to the arrangement of a diamond’s facets and is the only C that is affected above ground, by human hands. The cut impacts how the diamond interacts with the light, and therefore, how much it sparkles. Even diamonds with the highest colour or clarity grade will appear dull if poorly cut. Many jewellers sell large, poorly cut diamonds at a ‘bargain’ price. However, the cut is what makes the diamond beautiful, and to us, that’s very important.
Very few things in life are perfect, and the same goes for diamonds. Diamonds are formed underground, under tremendous heat and pressure, so it is extremely rare to find a 100% perfect diamond. Nearly all diamonds possess internal and external characteristics such as blemishes and scratches on the surface, which are known as inclusions. While inclusions affect the value of a diamond, the beauty is rarely affected, as in most cases, they’re invisible to the naked eye. Diamonds with fewer inclusions receive higher quality grades and will, therefore, be a higher price.
Choosing the right stone
Getting a good balance of the 4Cs, with someone to guide you, will result in the best diamond purchase. Shape, cut and setting will also determine how closely you look at clarity and colour, too, as certain shapes show up these factors more than others.
A diamond’s brilliance and fire greatly depend on the cut, which is why we think it’s the most important of the 4Cs.A perfectly cut stone will allow you to compromise on other characteristics, while still having a high-quality, valuable diamond with magnificent sparkle. A poorly cut diamond, on the other hand, will usually appear dull and hold very little value. We recommend reducing spending on other areas such as colour or carat weight to ensure an exceptional cut.
In terms of colour and clarity, we advise making sure your diamond appears bright and white, and that clarity inclusions are not visible to the naked eye. When evaluating clarity, we will note where the inclusions are positioned on the diamond, as this will impact whether or not the blemishes are visible to the naked eye.
Carat refers to the weight of a diamond, not the size. Although this is an important factor which impacts the appearance of the stone, a beautifully cut 0.8ct, eye clean, colourless diamond is of much higher quality – and is much more beautiful – than a poorly cut 2ct diamond with a lower clarity and colour grading.
A beautiful glittering stone that catches the light with thousands of light particles below the facets is an amazing sight. A smaller diamond that glitters more brightly, set expertly in a piece of jewellery will bring joy to the recipient and be more eye catching than a duller larger stone.
We consider it part of our job to help customers gain a good understanding of the 4C’s to ensure an educated diamond purchase, particularly when it’s for that special popping-the-question moment.
About Alicia J Diamonds
Alicia J is all about personal service. We’re all unique, so our jewellery should be, too. With Alicia J, people can buy beautiful bespoke jewellery with confidence. The team offers a personalised friendly and enjoyable experience for every customer, guiding them through options to suit their budget for a unique piece of high-end jewellery to last a lifetime.
For those after an engagement ring, this means buying with total confidence in the product – which is always stunning – and the process – which is always friendly, informative and straightforward. The Alicia J Diamonds team are all trained GIA (Gemological Institute of America) specialists, and source the best stones, without the high street mark up.
Each customer will learn about diamond carat, clarity, cut and colour, as well as finding the perfect gemstone shape, setting options and design to create their dream piece of jewellery, at the right price. We’re happy to work with grooms and couples. These days it’s more and more common for a couple to choose an engagement ring together.
All Alicia J jewellery is lovingly handcrafted to become a stunning and perfectly formed design.
We also have a new ready-to-wear Bold Ring collection, made with a selection of gemstones, offering an array of everyday rings to wear everywhere. Pick one to suit your personality.
Being an eco-conscious brand, sustainability is an integral part of the Alicia J Diamonds ethos. All the diamonds and gemstones are all sourced from reputable mines in conflict-free zones.
Find out more at www.aliciajdiamonds.com