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Diamonds: How to Know What You’re Buying

How to Know What You're Buying

When choosing a diamond for your ring, necklace or any other piece of jewellery, it is very important to know what you are buying. Experts classify diamonds in the following ways:


You should not confuse the term ‘cut’ with ‘shape’. The cut of a diamond refers to its symmetry, proportions and polish. These are the factors which define how much sparkle and shine a diamond has.
When a diamond cutter works on a diamond, they craft it it with a great deal of care and attention. They do this to maximise the amount of light that passes through the stone.
While gem cutters can choose to emphasise certain aspects of a diamond, doing so can affect other factors. A diamond’s cut is therefore vital to its beauty and value.


The term ‘clarity’ refers to a diamond’s internal characteristics; these are known as ‘inclusions’. Experts define clarity by the number of inclusions and their size. Inclusions act like fingerprints in that their characteristics are different in every diamond on Earth.
Generally, the fewer inclusions a diamond has, the less sparkly and therefore less attractive it will be to the eye. This means that diamonds with the fewest inclusions are generally also the most expensive. Most inclusions are very small and it is only possible to see them with a magnifying glass.


Many diamonds may seem colourless or white to the naked eye. Yet when you compare one diamond with another side by side, you may be able to notice the very subtle yellow or brown tones that separate them.
As we say in our blog post on the meanings of different coloured diamonds [link to Coloured Diamonds article], less expensive diamonds tend to have more colour in them. Yet those that are naturally vibrant in colour (including pink and yellow diamonds) are rarer and often more expensive as a result.

Carat weight

Carats are the unit that experts use to measure the weight of each diamond. One carat is equal to 100 ‘points’. As a result, you may describe a diamond of 25 points ‘a quarter carat’ or 0.25 carats. The higher the carat rating of a diamond, the more expensive it is likely to be.


The ‘shape’ of a diamond refers to its overall outline when seen from above. When looking for a diamond for your ring or necklace, it is important to choose a shape that fits your style. This is because just like every diamond on Earth, you are unique.
It is also worth bearing in mind that some diamonds boast a classic shape that will never go out of style. You also need to consider the other jewellery you want to wear; this in turn will affect the shape of diamond you wish to buy.


When buying your diamond, make sure it comes with the relevant certificates, of which there are two types. The first is the diamond Grading Report. This tells you all about the characteristics of your diamond (cut, clarity et al).
The second is the Valuation Report which confirms how much it is worth. As reputable diamond merchants, we would never recommend buying any diamond without these certificates.

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