The Stone: Diamond
The first step is determining what type of gemstone your partner would like in an engagement ring. A diamond is traditionally used in engagement rings due to their beauty and durability.
When looking to purchase a diamond as a center stone in an engagement ring, it is crucial to understand the 4 C’s of diamonds to ensure you get the best value of a stone for what you are looking for. The 4 C’s consist of cut, color, clarity, and carat. An additional factor is the shape of the diamond.
The cut of the stone is key in determining the amount of sparkle the diamond may have. Even if a stone is large, if it is lacking in cut, it will have significantly less sparkle, making the diamond objectively less beautiful. When working with an experienced gemologist, they will be able to provide expert advice on whether the cut of a certain diamond is done well. Visually, you can also determine whether or not you feel the diamond has enough sparkle.
Tip: The terms cut and shape of a diamond tends to be used interchangeably when they actually mean two completely different things. The term cut for a diamond is referencing to the way the diamond is cut to enhance the sparkle of the stone. The term shape for a diamond references the shape of the diamond, such as round, oval, pear, etc.
The color of a diamond is determined by the amount of body color a stone may have. It is graded on a scale from D-Z, with D having virtually no body color to Z, where a stone may have a significant yellow tint. Diamonds in the D - G range are more expensive since they lack color to the naked eye. So, a gemologist may advise that the best value will be in a stone in the H - J range, as there may be slight color, but it is difficult to identify with the naked eye.
Image from the Gemological Institute of America
The clarity is determined by the number of inclusions seen at 10x magnification. Inclusions also play a significant part in a diamond's sparkle, as large inclusions can hinder the amount of sparkle a diamond may have. Below is a scale used to determine the number of inclusions a diamond may have. The larger the diamond, the more prominent inclusions can hinder the sparkle to the naked eye. The best value of a diamond can be found in diamonds that are either SI1 or SI2, as IF or VVS diamonds are significantly more expensive.
Image from the American Gem Society
Diamond Carat Weight
The carat of a diamond is determined by its weight. This factor has the most significant impact on the price of a diamond, as it is the most obvious factor: the size. Diamonds are not priced based solely on weight, however. A 1-carat diamond may be priced at $7,000, but this does not mean a 2-carat diamond is $14,000. The higher the carat weight means more expensive due to the rarity of a stone that size. One could also say the bigger the diamond, the bigger the problems. As a stone grows in size, the more obvious the sparkle, the body color, and the inclusions are. Those factors have a more significant impact on the beauty of a diamond.
The shape of a diamond is one of the most essential choices to make when picking the perfect diamond. There are a variety of diamond shapes, and each person has a preference for what they prefer. One who may want to stay traditional would choose a round. This is the most timeless stone, as they never go out of style. However, since they are the most popular, they tend to be more expensive. Below are pictures to show the diamond shapes and what they look like.
Round - The most traditional of all diamond shapes. A round diamond is characterized by its circular shape with the capability to have an immense amount of sparkle.
Oval - The oval diamond shape is characterized by its elongated, yet rounded shape. This is another shape with the capability for a maximum amount of sparkle, but be aware of the bowtie, which is a dark area often found in the middle of an oval diamond. The size and shade of the bowtie are dependent on how well the oval was cut, and it can affect the amount of sparkle that exudes from the diamond.
Pear - The pear diamond shape is a trendier option and is characterized by a pear shape, which has a large, round shape with a pointed tip. It is said a pear can represent the “teardrops of joy” from the wedding day.
Radiant - The radiant cut diamond shape is a rectangular shape, and it has a noticeable amount of brilliance and sparkle because of the modified brilliant cut. It combines the shape of an emerald and the sparkle of a round.
Emerald - The emerald-cut diamond shape is a rectangular shape, but features step-cut facets in the diamond. Due to the large table of the diamond, emeralds give a larger appearance for a smaller carat weight compared to other diamond shapes.
Asscher - The Asscher cut diamond shape is a squared shape with step-cut facets like an emerald shape diamond. This shape tends to have a more art-deco appearance, which fulfills a niche for certain diamond buyers.
Cushion - The cushion cut diamond shape is a rounded but elongated shape, which combines the softness of the round but with squared corners. Its name comes from looking like a pillow.
Princess/Square - The princess cut diamond shape features a sharp square shape with the brilliance of a round. The princess is a more modern look, due to its lack of softness on the edges.
Marquise - The marquise features a long, narrow pointed shape, with sharp edges. This shape is known for its unique shape compared to any other diamond.
Responsibly Sourcing a Diamond
When purchasing a diamond, it is important to understand where your diamond originated from. All diamonds purchased at Skeie’s are vetted through the Kimberley Process which ensures none of our diamonds are originating from war-torn countries. It is also through the work of a veteran gemologist to ensure all diamonds are purchased from ethical and credible diamond sellers and companies.
The diamond mine industry is integral to many countries' economies and contributes to their GDP. Diamond mines provide thousands of employment opportunities that would not exist otherwise, and helps many individuals provide for their families. Though the media can paint the diamond industry as corrupt, it is key to work with a jeweler, like Skeie’s, who recognizes these issues and prioritizes purchasing from ethical sources.