When it comes to buying diamond’s, it can feel like you’re entering into a confusing and overwhelming market. The source of a diamond is becoming more prevalent when buying jewellery, and rightly so. We’ve all heard about blood diamonds, and the importance of buying certified diamonds, and that’s even before we talk about what the four C’s mean.
So how do you know what you’re looking for, and what does lab grown even mean? We’ve broken it down into some key points to remember and keep you on the right track.
Start with the source
Natural vs Lab grown
Diamond mining has long been a topic of controversy. The truth is mining is always going to happen, what matters is that it is done with the lowest social and environmental impact. Responsible mining means improving lives, strengthening communities, protecting wildlife, and respecting the environment in which the mine operates. Look to support the industry in the right way; we suggest using certified organisations like Canada Mark who supply fully traceable natural diamonds.
Lab-grown diamonds are sweeping the jewellery industry with promises of eradicating unethical mining and the extinction of blood diamonds. It’s easy to see the benefits of this process and be attracted to its proposal of a clean sourced diamond. However, we suggest you tread carefully here and do your research, some of processes used raise certain questions around the authenticity of their ethical claims. There are different ways to produce Lab grown diamonds some of which involve using tiny chips of natural diamonds to start the growing process in a controlled environment, it’s often unclear where these diamonds have been sourced from. There is also the environmental impact large factories are having to our planet and whether these factories are taking strides to operate responsibly; are they being offset with renewable energy etc. This is in no way to say all lab grown are bad, but as with all sourcing it’s important to do your research and ask questions of how and where they are produced before committing.
Understanding the 4 C’s
Once you’ve decided where you want your diamond to come from, it’s now time to work out how to get the most value for your money. The four C’s are always referred to when making the decision to buy a diamond. These four qualities are worth getting your head around as it can make the difference between something that sparkles in the light to blowing your budget on the biggest carat you can find.
The carat of a diamond refers to the measure of its weight, a carat is equal to approximately 0.2g. It seems to be the first thing anyone wants to know about a diamond, however, don’t be bedazzled by higher priced weighty carat diamonds as the cut is what gives a diamond its sparkle.
A diamonds cut refers to its shape as well as the reflective quality of the stone. Diamonds are available in a variety of shapes (round, princess, emerald, baguette etc), however its the angles in which the diamond is cut that determines its brilliance and what makes it look extremely sparkly, giving it life from within.
Diamonds will have a grade associated with it to guide you on this from excellent to poor (Triple excellent being the best grade cut), so be sure you don’t compromise cut for carat, as a diamond that catches the light can shine brighter than one of a bigger size!
Colour is relatively simple in that the least amount of colour, signals a higher quality diamond. As soon as colour starts to be noticeable in a diamond it can begin to lessen in value. So be sure to ask your jeweller or supplier. Don’t get too hung up on a diamond being completely colourless though – these are very rare! Jewellers grade the colour of diamonds D-Z, with D being completely colourless.
D, E, F – are colourless Diamonds
G, H, I, J – Are nearly colourless, displaying a slight yellow tone
K, L, M – Have a faint colour
N – R Have a very light colour
S – Z Have a light colour
Clarity looks at blemishes on the surface of the diamond, and inclusions inside the diamond. Either of these can be microscopic and it’s important to remember that no diamond is perfect, they are created by nature after all. Usually invisible to the naked eye, each inclusion will be completely different within each stone and shouldn’t always be seen as a fault.
Just like colour, clarity also has a grading scale. SI1 (slight inclusion 1) or above on this scale means your stone will look perfect to the naked eye. Look to the chart below for reference:
Working with an independent jeweller can help you come to a decision on the right diamond, from the right source within your budget. They will guide you through the process and work with you to get exactly what you’re looking for, with the added assurance that they are a trusted expert. Even better… work with an ethical jeweller! You’ll be guaranteed that the diamonds you buy and the metal used are responsibly sourced and fully traceable.
We source solely Canada Mark diamonds or recycled, along with Fairmined traceable gold. View more on our process here.