Diamond Guide

Diamonds have always spoken more than mere words – a token of eternal love, a means to pledge one’s troth – most of all they symbolise the esteem in which the giver holds the recipient.

Diamond – from the Greek Adamantine meaning invincible…

…is Earth’s most durable gemstone and thereby carries significance in terms of permanence. This makes the Diamond the most appropriate and perfect gem of choice for engagement and eternity rings.

Diamond is a naturally occurring substance and as such; wide variations in the characteristics of the stone occur. Elements of quality such as Rare White colour, Flawless Clarity and exceptionally well cut stones determine the value and ultimately the price tag!

GIA – The Gemmological Institute of America are the most highly regarded Diamond Grading Authority who grade D class diamonds as the rarest gems totally without colour with a grading scale which goes right down to Z. They also categorise diamonds as to their clarity characteristics with Flawless and VVS grade stones as the rarest with lower grade more included stones such as Pique – heavily marked stones.

In addition to the size of the diamond, other aspects such as how well the original diamond crystal has been cut to best reflect light – all these factors determine the overall quality and cost.

If you want to learn the basics of diamond buying, start with our section below on the ‘Four C’s of diamonds’ which explains the grading system for diamonds.

Diamond rings

The Four C’s of Diamonds

The Four C’s make up the most important characteristics of buying a diamond:

While nature determined the colour and clarity of a natural diamond, man is responsible for the cut quality which brings it to life.

The cut of a diamond determines its brilliance.

Put simply, the better a diamond is cut, the more sparkle it will have. The shape is a matter of personal taste, the most popular is the round brilliant.  Other shapes include the emerald, pear, marquise, princess, oval and heart.

Take a look at our Gemstone Cuts Guide.

A diamond’s colour grade refers to the lack of colour. The closer a diamond is to colourless, the rarer and more valuable the stone.

The rarest and most expensive are diamonds in the colorless range graded D,E and F on a scale that descends to Z. Diamonds with more color than Z, or in other shades such as orange, pink, blue, etc. are classified as “Fancy Colored Diamonds” and are graded on the IGI Colored Diamond Report.

To determine the correct color, all submitted diamonds are compared to an internationally accepted master set of stones, the colors of which range from D, or colorless (the most sought after) to Z, the most yellow/brown – aside from “fancy” yellow or brown.

Since diamonds form under extreme heat and pressure, internal and external characteristics are common. These characteristics help gemologists separate natural diamonds from synthetics and simulants, and identify individual stones.

Almost all diamonds have tiny imperfections – many are so small they cannot be seen by the naked eye. These are nature’s fingerprints and make every diamond unique. Diamonds with few or no imperfections receive the highest clarity grades.

Clarity is the term used to indicate the extent to which a diamond is free of these inclusions under a 10 times magnification.  Currently a stone is termed flawless by the GIA if it has no surface characteristics or internal inclusions.  It is also deemed internally flawless if it has minor surface characteristics.

This is the term with which people are most familiar, but bear in mind that carat is specifically a measure of a diamond’s weight.

The weight or size of a diamond is measured in carats (ct.). One carat weighs 1/5 of a gram and is divided into 100 points, so a diamond weighing 1.07 ct. is referred to as “one carat and seven points.”

For example,

0.75 carat = 75 points
1/2 carat = 50 points
1/4 carat = 25 points

Diamond Certificates

Before purchasing a diamond, you should expect to its certificate as proof that it has undergone an unbiased, professional examination.

A certificate is a blueprint of a diamond, it tells you the diamond’s exact measurements and weight, as well as the details of its cut and quality. Certificates also serve as proof of the diamond’s identity and value.

A certificate is not the same thing as an appraisal. A certificate describes the quality of a diamond, but it does not place a monetary value on it. An appraisal places a monetary value on your diamond, but does not certify the quality of the diamond.

Shopping for certified diamonds allows you to make an informed choice about your diamond selections and to comparison shop.

If a store offers to sell you a loose diamond without a certificate, keep in mind that it means you are buying the diamond based only on the salesperson’s claim about its quality, and that a trained gemologist or even other jewellers may disagree with the salesperson’s appraisal.

There are many diamond labs that issue certificates, but the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the American Gem Society (AGS) are the two most widely regarded and recognised diamond grading labs in the world.

We recommend buying from a diamond jewellery store that offers GIA or AGS certified diamonds.

Diamond Certificate

Current Diamond Trends & Topical Issues

Throughout history, diamonds have been the most highly valued of gemstones, worn and admired by royalty as a symbol of strength, status and divine invincibility. Over the centuries, diamonds have also become the ultimate declaration of love in the form of engagement rings, eternity rings and more recently contemporary wedding bands.

Diamond Enhancement

Some diamonds available today may have been subjected to enhancement treatment techniques. One such treatment is laser drilling where an unsightly dark inclusion is removed and filled with a glass infiller to improve the overall appearance.   This type of treatment is not always revealed to the customer and can seriously impact value. At D. J. Massey & Son we guarantee all our diamonds are free of such enhancement.

Diamonds and Conflict Stones

You may well have heard the term ‘Blood Diamond’?   This refers to the underhand exchange of rough diamonds in certain countries such as Sierra Leone and Liberia for trade in illegal arms – often to fund guerrilla activity. D. J. Massey & Son can offer total assurance that all our diamonds are conflict free-guaranteed.