Diamond Buying Guide
Buying a diamond engagement ring can be a daunting experience
At The Wedding Band Shop we know and love diamonds and understand that finding the perfect diamond engagement ring can be a daunting experience. In the relaxed atmosphere of our Georgian Dublin showroom on Fitzwilliam Street, we offer a private, pressure-free consultation where we are happy to take the time to help you make the right choice of engagement ring set with the best GIA certified diamonds. With twenty years experience as a jeweller, and a diamond grading qualification from the GIA, we know what we are talking about.
Value for Money
When choosing an engagement ring, the most important thing for you to consider is budget. Decide how much you are willing to spend and stick to that limit. At The Wedding Band Shop, we will search over 30,000 diamonds to find the perfect stone to match your expectations. We work with many different diamond brokers to source our diamonds and keep our margins low ensuring great value for money.
What is the most popular engagement ring diamond shape?
With the right amount of knowledge about what to look for in a ring and an understanding of the difference in prices, choosing an engagement ring can be an enjoyable and exciting experience. There are plenty of resources online to help you make an informed decision when purchasing a diamond. Start with the engagement ring shape. The most popular is definitely round brilliant. With 56 facets, a well-cut round diamond sparkles like no other.
What are the four C’s and why are they important when purchasing an engagement ring?
The four C’s are a diamond grading guide, an industry standard and a way to measure and evaluate diamonds. It’s difficult to know what is a ‘good diamond’ if you are not experienced in the field, so the four C’s are used as a guide towards picking the perfect diamond for your ring. Ultimately, it’s really down to choosing something you and your fiancée will be happy with.
- Cut: The sparkle of the diamond really depends on how the stone is cut to reflect the light. It can become a very expensive proposition if you choose a high grade for all 4’s. We recommend that you select the a high cut grade, as a well-cut diamond will always sparkle. You can go for lower grades in the other three C's and still end up with a scintillating diamond.
- Colour: White diamonds sometimes have different tints of colour; colour D is the whitest and clearest diamond but of course rarer and more expensive. We wouldn’t advise going below an H colour diamond as this is where the diamonds start to become tinted.
- Clarity: Diamonds of course are all completely unique, and therefore often have tiny imperfections, the clarity grades in the four C’s refer to these inclusions.
- Carat: The carat is quite simply the weight of the diamond and is a personal choice for an engagement ring. As the carat weight of a diamond increases so does its rarity and therefore its price.
Should my diamond come with a certificate?
Absolutely. Any diamond over 0.30ct should be certified. There are plenty of grading labs in the world who provide their own diamond certificates. Some are more reputable than others. At The Wedding Band Shop we only use Gemological Institute of America certified diamonds in our engagement ring settings. A GIA certificate is the best guarantee of the quality of your diamond.
CHOOSE YOUR ENGAGEMENT RING STYLE
The round brilliant cut diamond is by far the most popular choice of diamond. Over the years this shape has been optimized to make sure it takes the maximum amount of light giving it a fantastic fire and sparkle. This classic shape is perfect for a diamond engagement ring and is the most common diamond used in our wedding rings.
The pear shaped diamond is a traditional style and is also known as a tear drop shape. As the diamond increases in carat weight the stone becomes wider as opposed to longer. Fantastic choice for longer, slender fingers. Used in a large amount of diamond pendants and diamond earrings.
The princess cut diamond is fast becoming one of the most popular fancy shaped diamonds today. It's unique square shape and pointed corners set it apart from the other shapes of diamond available.
A heart shaped diamond is one of the more romantic shaped diamonds. With the sparkle of a brilliant cut diamond but with characteristics of both pear/marquise style stones this stone truly is the symbol of everlasting love.
With its large pavilion the emerald cut shaped diamond has its own individual style. Due to the large table it highlights the clarity of the diamond and in SI clarity inclusions can be visible. The straight rectangular cuts make this modern shaped diamond a fantastic choice for any diamond engagement ring.
The Asscher cut diamond is a 'stepped' square cut diamond originally developed in 1902. Asscher cut diamonds draw your eye into its art deco appearance.
The marquise cut is a traditional shaped diamond which depending on the cut can get longer or wider as the carat weight increases. The brilliance of this stone is that it looks stunning in a diamond engagement ring or with other shaped stones such as round or princess diamond in a trilogy ring or pendant.
A radiant cut diamond is a similar shape to the emerald cut diamond but sparkles like a round brilliant cut. It has around 75 facets making it ideal for any style of ring or jewellery. A relative newcomer compared to round and princess the radiant cut diamond will take her breath away.
An oval cut diamond is very similar to a round brilliant cut diamond in its appearance. However it is a fraction longer with curved corners and straighter sides. For someone who has longer, slender fingers this shape of diamond is perfect in an engagement ring.
The cushion cut is an antique cut that most often resembles a cross between the Old Mine Cut (a deep cut with large facets that was common in the late 19th and the early 20th centuries) and a modern oval cut. This shape is also sometimes referred to as the pillow-cut or the candlelight diamond (a reference to cuts designed prior to electric lights, when diamonds sparkled in the light provided by candles).
When we speak of cut we are more interested in the proportions of the diamond as opposed to its shape (Round Brilliant, Marquise, Pear, Princess, etc.) Every diamond regardless of its shape gets it brilliancy by cutting and polishing the diamond facets to allow the maximum amount of light that enters through its top to be reflected and dispersed back through its top.
A well-cut diamond will have each facet angled to maximise the amount of light that reflects back out of the crown of the diamond. This reflected light is perceived as scintillation or brilliance.
One carat is divided into 100 "points", so that a diamond of 75 points weights .75 carats. The carat-weight of a diamond is the easiest measurement to determine. Most importantly, two diamonds can be of equal carat-weight, but their value can differ greatly due to their cut, colour, and clarity.
Diamonds are graded on a colour scale established by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The normal colour range scale starts at D (colourless) through to Z (light yellow or light brown).
Colour grades D, E and F graded as “colourless” with D being absolutely colourless and completely devoid of body colour. This is the highest and most exceptional colour range for a diamond in the normal colour range as these diamonds are extremely rare and allow the most light to pass through without being absorbed.
Diamonds in the G, H, I and J colour range appear colourless in a face-up position but actually have a slightly tinted white colour that is noticeable when compared to colourless diamonds in the D – F range. Near-colourless diamonds are an excellent value because they not only have a high colour grade but are more affordable than colourless diamonds.
Faint colour diamonds, with the grades K, L and M, show faint yellow colour face-up and face-down. When they are mounted in a jewelry setting, smaller stones appear colourless but larger stones show a slight yellow tint.
Diamonds in the N through U colour range are considered very light yellow and are sometimes referred to as “Cape” diamonds. They appear very light when mounted onto a ring.
Light yellow diamonds in the V through Z colour range show substantial colour face-up or face-down, loose or mounted.
Clarity is a measure of the imperfections or more commonly known as inclusions in a diamond. The GIA Clarity Scale classifies diamonds into the following grades:
- FL - Flawless: No internal or external flaws. Extremely rare.
- IF - Internally Flawless: no internal flaws, but some surface flaws. Very rare.
- VVS1-VVS2 - Very Very Slightly Included (two grades). Minute inclusions very difficult to detect under 10x magnification by a trained gemologist.
- VS1-VS2 - Very Slightly Included (two grades). Minute inclusions seen only with difficulty under 10x magnification.
- SI1-SI2 - Slightly Included (two grades). Minute inclusions more easily detected under 10x magnification.
- I1-I2-I3 - Included (three grades). Inclusions that are almost always visible to the naked eye.
As a general rule, for FL to SI grades inclusions are not visible to the naked eye.
Video: Tips for finding the best engagement ring in Dublin
Tips for finding the perfect engagement rings