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Diamond Guide

Diamonds are not only the hardest natural substance known to humankind, they’re also the most highly valued of gemstones. As part of our commitment to providing different ethical choices we provide Australian newly mined, Canadian newly mined, vintage, antique and cultured diamonds. Our Australian newly mined diamonds, certified by the Jeweltree Foundation. This enables us to guarantee that your diamond has come from an ethical source and has full traceability. More information about the ethics behind the different choices we offer is available here.

Diamonds come in many shapes, sizes, colours and prices so we have created this guide to help simplify it all.

To understand the visual appeal of diamonds there are four factors to consider. Carat, Colour, Clarity and Cut. The information below applies to all diamonds in every country of the world, so it doesn’t matter if you’re in country New South Wales or Poland a diamond with the same characteristics on our site will look just the same as one at your local jewellers. This enables you to see a diamond in real life, pick out the size and colour you want, then make the ethical choice that is right for you and your family.

Carat

Carat (ct.) refers to the unique unit of weight measurement used exclusively to weigh gems and diamonds. One carat is equal to 200 milligrams and depending on the shape and type of gemstone being weighed, the weight will visually show itself differently. For example, a 1.00 ct. round diamond could vary from 5.5mm up to 6.5mm diameter depending on how deeply cut the stone is. Density of a gemstone can slightly effect its visual size too.

Once cut, colour, and clarity grade have been determined, the carat weight of a diamond can  be easily established to fit within a budget. Larger diamonds are much more valuable because they are discovered in nature much less frequently than small ones. Diamond prices actually rise exponentially with carat weight rather than linearly. For example, a 1.00 ct. diamond of a given quality is always valued higher than two 0.50 ct. diamonds of the same quality. In fact, a general rule of thumb is that a diamond of double the weight costs around four times more.

Click to view the diamond carat interactive tool

Colour

Graded diamonds fall into two main colour categories.

White diamonds

Generally when most people think of diamonds they are colourless, known as white. The internationally accepted white diamond colour grading chart starts at D for colourless right down the alphabet Z which is light yellow. Most diamonds used in jewellery as white diamonds fall between D and M, however M coloured diamonds do have quite a yellow or brown tint to them. We suggest if you are looking to purchase a white diamond the colour range between D and G would be the best choice. Lower grade diamonds may still look great in a jewellery store under special lighting when they are perfectly clean but in real life you may be a little disappointed. Colour or lack of it when buying a diamond may be the most important decision above cut, clarity and even carat. Colour grading is done using the naked human eye and therefore grade changes are apparent without any special equipment.

Click to view the diamond colour interactive tool

Fancy Diamonds

Fancy or coloured diamonds are graded using charts similar to white diamonds but different colours have slightly varied charts. Its can be a little more confusing but well worth the education as coloured diamonds are some of the most valuable and beautiful items on earth. Australia is blessed as one of the worlds largest producers of fancy diamonds. Most famous for its Pinks, the Argyle mine in Western Australia also produces oranges, yellows, champagne, cognac and the more valuable of all diamonds red. Also located in northern WA is the Ellendale mine origin of the worlds highest quality fancy yellow diamonds. Fancy diamonds are rare, very rare. Approximately 1 million carats of white diamonds will be mined for every 1 carat of fancy diamond and when you then take into account how few of those are pink for example, rarity is guaranteed. Currently prices of pink diamonds are doubling every 2-5 years!

Clarity

Clarity describes the clearness or purity of a diamond. This is determined by the number, size, nature, and location of the internal (inclusions) and external (blemishes) imperfections. Once again a chart is used to grade diamonds from Internally Flawless (IF) down to Included (I1, I2, I3). Diamonds are graded for clarity under 10x magnification and generally any diamond from an SI1 or higher is “eye clean”. This means without magnification, just using the naked eye imperfections are not normally apparent. Therefore we suggest looking at the range SI1 and higher if you would prefer a diamond without imperfections that can be seen, however keep in mind an SI2 grading is still very high and the imperfection may be very difficult to see by the non trained eye.

Click to view the diamond clarity interactive tool

Cut

Cut refers to the angles and proportions that a diamond cutter uses to transform a rough diamond into a polished diamond. These proportions influence the way a diamond looks, its scintillation, brilliance and fire.

Scintillation describes the flashes of sparkle that appear when light passes over a diamond.

Brilliance is the total amount of light reflected from a diamond.

Fire refers to the way a diamond disperses white light passing though it into the different colours of the rainbow. If a diamond has been cut well it will display more scintillation, sparkle and fire than an average or poorly cut diamond.

The symmetry and quality of polish are two important factors that affect the cut quality and therefore grade. When purchasing a modern diamond, whether newly mined or vintage the cut grade should be an important part of your decision as it heavily impacts the all important sparkle. If however you are looking to purchasing an antique diamond the cut grade may be less of a factor as they were cut before the current grading charts were devised. In most cases antique diamonds will have been cut before the introduction of electricity and cutting technology has moved on significantly. Generally the older an antique diamond the less symmetry they will have, but their asymmetry and large facets are all part of their charm.

Cut also refers to the shape of a diamond. While the round brilliant and princess cut diamonds are today’s most popular shapes, many other shapes are available. These include marquise, pear, oval, emerald, cushion, asscher, baguette, heart and others.

Click to view the diamond cut interactive tool