Category Archives: Diamonds

Ten Gorgeous Diamond Cuts for Engagement Rings

Groom and bride holding hands with ring showing on her fingerDiamonds are eternal – just like your bond with your life partner. That’s why these sparkling rocks are the one and only choice for an engagement ring. Proposals can leave you in a bundle of nerves but what’s even more stressful is getting the right ring for her. Diamonds come in a variety of clarities, sizes, shapes and cuts, and you can pay an arm and a leg for them. Since you are probably going to invest a huge part of your savings on an engagement ring, you should know about some stunning diamond cuts which would surely make her say ‘yes!’

Walking into a jewelers shop can be a bit intimidating. One can easily get confused when surrounded by all the different cuts and designs. Before delving into the cuts, it’s important to distinguish between the cut and the shape. The shape is the geometric appearance of the gemstone, whereas a cut is what makes a diamond bright and shiny. A gemstone sparkles when light reflects from it.

The facets (flat surfaces that allow more light to be reflected; hence, more brilliance) and angles (how the facets are placed on the gem to bring in the most light), their quantity, symmetry, and proportions are all responsible for the reflection of light. A diamond is intricately cut to maximize this reflection, but not all diamonds are equal. Some have less quality cuts then others and hence the price difference you will see as you shop, but the better the cut, the more brillance, the more she will like it, but the more you will pay for it.

Cutting a diamond too shallow would allow most of the light to pass through the bottom, making this an extremely poor cut. If cut too deep, a diamond would reflect light from its sides and would fail to produce the required gleam and glitter. A perfectly cut diamond would reflect all its light from its top face and would shine brilliantly. The more radiant a diamond appears, the more expensive it will be. 

Now, let’s look at the ten most popular diamond cuts that would be perfect for an engagement ring:

Round Cut

Top face and side view of a round cut diamond
Brilliant Round Cut Diamonds

This cut is one of the most popular and most famous type of cut for engagement rings. About 50% of engagement rings have a round cut diamond. This particular cut gives maximum shine to the diamond, partially do to the large amounts of facts (58) and the ideal position at which they are set. You’ll find a range of grades, styles, and settings for a round cut diamond. A simple gold or platinum ring with an isolated round-cut diamond looks like a personification of “beauty lies in simplicity”. You can also try a solitaire setting to add glamour to this cut. 

Round cut diamonds are considered the most expensive of the cut variations, but they display the most brilliance. You can’t go wrong with a round cut diamond. 

Princess Cut

Diamonds with Princess Cuts
Princess Cut Diamonds

Also known as a square modified brilliant cut, the princess cut is  a popular choice for engagement rings. First created by Betazel Ambar and Israel Itzkowitz in 1980, princess cuts appears like a square or rectangle from the top.

It has four beveled sides and a bottom that resembles an inverted pyramid. You’ll find this cut in 30% of the rings. It looks a bit familiar to the Asscher or Emerald cut but it has more facets at the top as opposed to the flat top face of Asscher.

Emerald Cut

Top face and side view of a princess cut diamond
Emerald Cut Diamond

This cut derives its name from the famous gemstone emerald because these stones are usually cut in this manner. However, this cut looks equally classy for diamonds. It is a stepped cut that seems to have an aura of enduring beauty. Its top face is a narrow rectangle with trimmed corners. Since this cut is not used as frequently as a round or princess cut, it is relatively inexpensive and so a ring with a high-grade emerald cut diamond will cost you less or if you were going to sell one, you won’t get what you would get if you had a round cut stone; however, those with smaller hands prefer the emerald cut because it makes their fingers look longer.   

Oval Cut

Top face and side view of a princess cut diamond
Oval Cut Diamond

Oval cut exhibits a classic and traditional impression. This cut has gained popularity in recent years. It beautifies the hand as it has a lengthening effect. The oval cut is a great choice for East-West trendy rings. It is about 25% more affordable than a round cut diamond ring. Its greater surface area makes the diamond appear bigger. However, an oval cut has one undesirable feature called ‘the bow-tie effect’ which means the cut will show a darker area in the middle if one looked down upon it. The greater the bow tie effect, the poorer the stone quality. Excellent quality diamonds will have a very subtle darker region.

Asscher Cut

Ascher Cut Diamond
Ascher Cut Diamond

Created in the early 1900s, it came into light in the 1920s. It was named after its creators the Asscher Brothers who ran Holland’s Asscher Diamond Company which later became the Royal Asscher Diamond Company. It was an attractive cut with a vintage feel about it. Similar to an emerald cut, it has a square or rectangular appearance with cropped corners. It has 74 large step facets and a high crown which makes yields more brilliance than the emerald cut. It is set in a four-prong setting and reflects light like a never-ending corridor lined with mirrors on all sides. 

Cushion Cut

Cushion Cut Diamond
Cushion Cut Diamond

A cushion-cut, also known as a pillow cut, is made to emphasize clarity. This cut is almost 200 years old which gives it a vintage flair. On the other hand, it looks extremely stylish and modern with a square top face with rounded corners. To further elevate this symbol of understated love, you can mount it in a halo setting for a perfect engagement ring.

Marquise Cut

Marquise Cut Diamonds
Marquise Cut Diamonds

Considered bold and beautiful, Marquise cut is also known as the football-shaped cut, the eye-shaped cut, and the boat-cut. It exudes a dramatic persona with an elliptical shape with pointed ends and 58 facets. Its French history is as interesting as the cut itself. Back in the 18th century King Louis XV of France ordered a jeweler to design a cut inspired by his mistress’ lips. A diamond ring in this cut would require multiple prongs and a setting which can act as a stable base for the stone.

Radiant Cut

Radiant Cut Diamonds
Radiant Cut Diamonds

A radiant cut gets its name from its matchless radiance. Since a radiant cut diamond has numerous facets, it reflects light in all directions and appears luminous. This cut also has a square or rectangle shape with trimmed corners. Looking directly into the top face of the stone would reveal a circular pattern in the center. 

Pear Cut

Pear Cut Diamonds
Pear Cut Diamonds

This would be an ideal cut for those looking for something elegant and sophisticated. The pear cut has the best features of marquise and round cut diamonds. It is so beautifully proportioned that it looks like an angel’s teardrop. It makes the hand appear slender due to its pointed corner. The cut makes the diamond look bigger than it actually is.   

Heart Cut

Diamonds in heart shape cutA heart cut diamond looks very exquisite and lovely. When buying a ring with a heart-cut diamond, make sure you check its proportions closely. Give enough attention to the body and the cleft of the heart shape. This cut would require a setting with more prongs.

The How To of Diamonds

A 2 carat diamond being held up by tweezersA man went to a jewerly store in his neighborhood and requested to look at some rings for his fiance to be. After a number of diamond rings that were shown to him, he picked a 1-carat diamond with an emerald cut. Not an expert in the diamond field, he purchased it for $4000.00.

A couple of years later, he told his fiance that he wanted to get her a new ring. So they went to some diamond dealers to sell the current one and were told by every dealer that the ring wasn’t worth more than $900.00. Frustrated, they settled for the $900.00 and left.

Why Do People Get Ripped Off When Buying Diamonds?

Angry looking manPhoto by Matthew Henry from Burst

What was the man’s mistake?

He never asked for a GIA certificate to confirm what he was getting.

Of course, you can buy a diamond without a certificate and that doesn’t necessarly mean that you will get ripped off, but why take that chance?

Never buy a diamond without a GIA or equivalent certificate! 

In general, if a diamond dealer tells you they can’t give you gem grading authentication, go somewhere else.

In this article, we will find out what factors make this beloved gemstone so valuable, what to look for when you are buying one and how it has been part of the human history for so long, so let’s begin with some facts about diamonds that you should know before purchasing one. 

Trucks working in a mine
NSW DPI Schools program is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Mined Diamonds Need Some TLC Before They Become Jewelry

Diamonds don’t come out of mines ready to be sent to the jewelry market. They go through a tedious refining before a jeweler even sees them.  As a matter of fact, most of the natural diamonds from the mines never makes it to that beautiful refined state because they come with too many imperfections and consequently, such diamonds are only suitable for industrial use.

Since the majority of mined diamonds can’t be used in jewelry, we are left with very few grades of diamond that have such quality, the ones that can be used for decorative purposes and they don’t come cheap.

It’s the simple imbalance of supply and demand makes this gemstone expensive. But there are an additional four main characteristics that determine a diamond’s value. Let’s take a look at what these characteristics are. 

The 4c’s of Diamonds

Color 

Luxury Diamond Jewel Gemstone Round Brilliant CutA diamond’s color is one of the determining factors regarding price. Most of the naturally occurring diamonds contain a noticeable yellowish hue. In fact, it is hard to find one that is completely colorless; thus, the more colorless (or ‘whiter”) a diamond is, the rarer and more valuable it is will be.  

Although they may be colorless, from an aesthetic viewpoint, as diamonds appear whiter, they give off the appearance of looking brighter to the eye and that adds a more appealing quality;  therefore these diamonds automatically become more expensive.

The color or tint of diamonds is grated alphabetically. Starting with the letter “D”, which represents the most colorless of the gems; that is, one that is pure white, but this grade is hard to find. After “D” is “E” and “F”. All three of these grades are part of the colorless family and subsequently sell for a higher price.

Then there’s “G, “H” and “J”, which represents near colorless. “K” to “M” has some faint yellow tint attributed to them and “N” to “Z” equate to a light yellower tint, but the yellow gets stronger as you move towards the end of the alphabet.

The most popular diamond grade when it comes to color is “I”. When traces of the yellowish hue increase, the demand and price of the diamond decreases.

Jewerely experts suggest to get a diamond just outside of the “D” to “F” range, such as “G” or “I” where the yellow tint may be so small you still can’t see it with the naked eye, but you can save a bundle compared to those in the “D” to “F” range.

Clarity 

A round brilliant cut diamond set in a ring
A round brilliant cut diamond set in a ring

Diamonds are a result of carbon being exposed to intense heat and pressure under the earth’s mantle for over a billion years. This long process can add internal and external imperfections called inclusions and blemishes. The number, size, nature, and position of these imperfections affects the clarity of the stone.

The clarity scale has six categories: flawless (FL), internally flawless (IF), very, very slightly included (VVS1 and VVS2), very slightly included (VS1 and VS2), slightly included (SI1 and SI2) and included (I1, I2, and I3). FL diamonds account for less than 1% of the current diamond supply while it accounts for less than 3%, these are the highest valued diamonds.

A flawless diamond (FL) is one where the imperfections can’t be seen even by 10x magnification, but these diamonds are rare and subsequently, very expensive. Many diamond experts recommend that you get a diamond that has some inclusions since the price would be much less. 

Diamonds rated as VS1 and VS2 will have inclusions but they are not visible to the naked eye. These are a good balance when you are looking to buy a stone but don’t want to mortgage your house to get one.

Diamonds rated S1 have some inclusions that are, for the most part, visible under 10x magnification, but not to the naked eye and as such, are considered the best bang for your buck. The reasoning being is that when others look at your diamond, they will visually see a flawless gem. Even though it is not flawless, no one expects them to pull out a microscope to see what it really is.  

Also, it should be noted that clarity is considered the least important of the diamond‘s 4c’s. This chart provides a nice illustration of diamond clarity.

A clarity of VS1 or S1 is recommended if you want to save money. They may have some imperfections but won’t be noticeable for the most part.

Cut 

Round cut diamond
Brilliant Round Cut Diamond

Diamond cuts refers to proportions and not shape. Diamonds  are the only naturally occurring gemstone with a  refractive index greater than 2, meaning they are very  sparkly, this sparkle is called fire in the gem industry.

A diamond’s cut will affect its fire, brightness. The cut scale contains five grades: excellent, very good, good, fair, and poor. An excellent cut allows light to enter the stone and disperse it properly throughout the diamond, reflecting back through the top. When a diamond’s cut is too shallow or too deep, the light can escape through the bottom of the stone.

As mentioned, mined diamonds can’t be fitted directly onto jewelry. They have to be polished and cut into a shape. Getting the perfect cut is a tricky prospect, but diamond cut is the most important element to consider when buying one. This is where the sparkle and fire materialize. If a diamond is not cut correctly, all the carats in the world won’t give it its flashy sparkle.

There is a tremendous balancing act involved in which the cut has to be made to enhance clarity without reducing the weight of the stone. There is always the chance that the weight and size of a diamond may be compromised while removing some visible imperfections from it.

Diamond cuts are graded as: Ideal, Very Good, Good, Poor and Low. You can learn more about diamond cuts, how light is reflected and its relative shine here.

You can save money by purchasing a good or very good cut, as a good cut will have a decent amount of light shining from it and a very good cut will have almost as much sparkle as an Ideal cut but will cost less.  

Carat 

Weight

Many think that a diamond carat refers to size, when it actually refers to weight. As carat weight increases, so does the rarity and price of the gemstone. The larger the carat, the more expensive the diamond.

Metrically, a “carat” is defined as 200 milligrams, which is 0.2 grams or 0.0070 of an ounce, so this should give you an idea of how small a carat is. Because of the large difference in the monetary value of diamond weights, the carat is further broken down into ‘points’, where 100 points are equal to one carat or 1/100th of a carat

In diamond social circles, one might refer to a stone that weighs 0.50 carats as a fifty pointer. Diamonds greater than one carat are expressed in carats and decimals, so a 1.25-carat diamond would be referred as “one point eight carats.”

A simple analogy would be that one 3-carat diamond would weigh about as much as a raisin.

When looking to buy a diamond, look for the ones that are fractional; such as, 1.48, 2.14 or .24 carats. Thease would be lesser in price than purchasing a diamond with carat weights of 1.5, 2.25 or .25 respectively.

Here are some references you can use: 

An F color grade with VS1 clarity would be about $10,500.
A G color grade and VS1 clarity would be around $8000.
A 1 carat engagement ring with an H color and VS2 clarity will yield around $6000.
Same ring but VS1 clarity would be $7000.
Same VS1 clarity but I grade is $4,500.

So a diamond’s price with the same color grade, clarity, cut and shape will increase significantly as the carat size increases.

Here is an excellent interactive chart that you can use to reference what the price of a diamond should be based on the factors mentioned.

More info on the 4Cs of diamonds can be found here.

Diamond Shapes

Even though diamond shapes are not a part of the 4 C’s, they will still have a major impact on the appearance of your stone. Depending upon the shape, they reflect light differently, giving each shape its unique fire and shine.  

Specifically, a diamond’s shape refers to the geometry of the diamond, while cut refers to how the diamond’s proportions reflect light, but both factors determine their sparkle, so even if you get an Ideal cut stone. you still need to know the shape which will define the gem’s brilliance for better or worse. 

The shapes for diamonds are the following: Round, Princess, Marquise, Cushion, Emerald, Radiant, Pear, Oval, and Asscher. 

The round cut, actually called the round brilliant cut is the most popular shape of diamond and is a favorite among jewelers to sell, as this cut offers great brilliance and has great flexibility within the four C’s. This means that in order to bring out the most brilliance for your round stone, you would want to compliment it with high grades of color, clarity, and cut. 

This website gives an excellent explanation of diamond shapes and how to choose the right one. 

Have diamonds always been so popular and in demand?

Diamonds have not come to the forefront from the renaissance, agricultural or industrial revolution. They have been important since ancient times when the Greeks ruled the world. Even the name ‘diamond’ is said to be derived from the Greek word ‘adamas’, meaning indestructible, because the Greeks associated the radiant and ever-glowing glitter of the diamond to be an indestructible sign of love.

Generally, throughout the course of history and various civilizations, diamonds have always been considered as the sign of supreme power. Many cultural dogmas considered diamonds to contain magical powers that can be used to cure madness and repel evil spirits. Plato, the famous Greek philosopher shared the thought that diamonds were living spirits. Diamond powder, due to its curing abilities, had also been used in medicines.

There are a lot more historical anecdotes that can be mentioned to highlight the fact that the diamond has always been popular. It’s this popularity that makes it so expensive.