Our Guide to Buying Diamonds

Exquisite, beautiful and truly unique; diamonds are the perfect way to express love and commitment to that special someone.

We believe when it comes to purchasing diamonds it is a truly personal experience and therefore it is important to firstly consider the 4 C’s: carat, clarity, cut and colour, alongside other important factors such as shape and certification. By offering some of the highest quality diamonds from reputable international suppliers and working smarter and more efficiently, we can provide products which are excellent value for money.

Here at Austen & Blake we understand that choosing the right diamond can be a daunting and lengthy process, so here we have composed a simple guide to help. If you have any further questions, however, please contact our Customer Care team.

Carat

 
 
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0.20 CT
3.00 CT

 

The carat of a diamond is determined by the weight rather than the actual size. Using that theory this would mean that the larger the carat, the heavier the diamond.

It is important to consider the carat and cut together when making a purchase. A larger carat diamond with a poor cut grade can appear smaller than a diamond of the same size with a higher cut grade.

Clarity

Diamond clarity is the assessment of imperfections on the surface or within the diamond. Inclusions are internal defects and are very common within most diamonds whereas flaws to the surface are known as blemishes. Diamonds with the least amount of defects will have a higher clarity grading.

Inclusions can appear black, grey or white in appearance and are graded under x10 magnification. Five grading factors which are considered are:

  • • The size of the inclusions
  • • Number of inclusions
  • • Position of the inclusions
  • • Colour and relief of the inclusions
  • • Nature of the inclusions

Most diamonds are imperfect, however, our most popular grade is VS1 - VS2 due to appearing almost flawless to the naked eye, making them a good value option.

Cut

Not to be confused with the shape or size of the diamond, the cut is all about proportions. A well-cut diamond reflects light and brilliance to ensure maximum sparkle, and is possibly the most important factor to consider when purchasing diamonds. Even a diamond with perfect clarity and colour grade can appear dull if it has been cut poorly.

Diamonds which are cut in equal proportion enable light to be returned out of the top, producing the signature sparkle. If they are cut too deep then light is transferred out of the side whereas too shallow and light will return from the bottom creating a less lustrous appearance.

Grades are assigned using the diamond cut grade guidelines established by the Gemological Institute of America. Diamonds which are assigned ideal, excellent or very good cut grades are considered well cut.

Colour

  • D E F
  • G H I J
  • K L M

Colour is another very important factor to consider when choosing diamonds. Rarity and purity are measured by a diamond’s lack of colour. Higher quality diamonds will have a pure, bright white appearance whereas those lower in quality will have noticeable colour, and to the untrained eye this can be tricky to spot.

In the mid-1950s The Gemological Institute of America devised a colour grade scale between D-Z, to regulate and define the colour spectrum of diamonds. With D being completely colourless and Z being slightly yellow or brown in appearance. The colour of the diamond has a huge impact on its value.

However, this rule is not to be confused with coloured diamonds. Coloured diamonds are graded on a separate diamond colour scale and can even be more rare or valuable than the diamond.

Round

A Round diamond in the shape of a circle which is a popular choice boasting classic appeal.

Diamonds come in a variety of shapes, making this a very personal choice. Not to be confused with cut, the diamond shape refers to the shape it was cut into, and influences the entire look and feel of the diamond.

Round diamonds tend to show more brilliance and scintillation than other shapes and are a popular choice due to their timeless appeal, however, personal preference should prevail when choosing your ideal shape.

Princess

The Princess is a square shaped diamond which has grown vastly in popularity due to it being both brilliant and unique.

Diamonds come in a variety of shapes, making this a very personal choice. Not to be confused with cut, the diamond shape refers to the shape it was cut into, and influences the entire look and feel of the diamond.

Round diamonds tend to show more brilliance and scintillation than other shapes and are a popular choice due to their timeless appeal, however, personal preference should prevail when choosing your ideal shape.

Marquise

Perfect for maximising carat weight, this elegant style is a longer and slender shape which was originally commissioned by Louis XIV of France.

Diamonds come in a variety of shapes, making this a very personal choice. Not to be confused with cut, the diamond shape refers to the shape it was cut into, and influences the entire look and feel of the diamond.

Round diamonds tend to show more brilliance and scintillation than other shapes and are a popular choice due to their timeless appeal, however, personal preference should prevail when choosing your ideal shape.

Pear

Also known as the ‘Teardrop’ due to its rounded edge and single point, this unique shape proves to flatter and elongate the appearance of the finger.

Diamonds come in a variety of shapes, making this a very personal choice. Not to be confused with cut, the diamond shape refers to the shape it was cut into, and influences the entire look and feel of the diamond.

Round diamonds tend to show more brilliance and scintillation than other shapes and are a popular choice due to their timeless appeal, however, personal preference should prevail when choosing your ideal shape.

Heart

For the romantics amongst us, the Heart shaped diamond is instantly recognisable as the ultimate symbol of love.

Diamonds come in a variety of shapes, making this a very personal choice. Not to be confused with cut, the diamond shape refers to the shape it was cut into, and influences the entire look and feel of the diamond.

Round diamonds tend to show more brilliance and scintillation than other shapes and are a popular choice due to their timeless appeal, however, personal preference should prevail when choosing your ideal shape.

Oval

Beautifully proportioned, the Oval shape diamond also has a brilliance which is similar to that of the Round diamond.

Diamonds come in a variety of shapes, making this a very personal choice. Not to be confused with cut, the diamond shape refers to the shape it was cut into, and influences the entire look and feel of the diamond.

Round diamonds tend to show more brilliance and scintillation than other shapes and are a popular choice due to their timeless appeal, however, personal preference should prevail when choosing your ideal shape.

Cushion

A favourite for more than a century, this shape has rounded corners and larger facets, designed to increase brilliance.

Diamonds come in a variety of shapes, making this a very personal choice. Not to be confused with cut, the diamond shape refers to the shape it was cut into, and influences the entire look and feel of the diamond.

Round diamonds tend to show more brilliance and scintillation than other shapes and are a popular choice due to their timeless appeal, however, personal preference should prevail when choosing your ideal shape.

Asscher

This unique square shape features a pavilion which is cut with rectangular facets in the same way as the Emerald style.

Diamonds come in a variety of shapes, making this a very personal choice. Not to be confused with cut, the diamond shape refers to the shape it was cut into, and influences the entire look and feel of the diamond.

Round diamonds tend to show more brilliance and scintillation than other shapes and are a popular choice due to their timeless appeal, however, personal preference should prevail when choosing your ideal shape.

Emerald

The Emerald diamond shape is unique with its pavilion cut in rectangular facets to create an elegant finish.

Diamonds come in a variety of shapes, making this a very personal choice. Not to be confused with cut, the diamond shape refers to the shape it was cut into, and influences the entire look and feel of the diamond.

Round diamonds tend to show more brilliance and scintillation than other shapes and are a popular choice due to their timeless appeal, however, personal preference should prevail when choosing your ideal shape.

Radiant

The Radiant combines both the unique and elegant appeal of the Emerald shape with the simplicity of the Round diamond.

Diamonds come in a variety of shapes, making this a very personal choice. Not to be confused with cut, the diamond shape refers to the shape it was cut into, and influences the entire look and feel of the diamond.

Round diamonds tend to show more brilliance and scintillation than other shapes and are a popular choice due to their timeless appeal, however, personal preference should prevail when choosing your ideal shape.

Anatomy

A diamond’s anatomy, or structure, consists of eight components. They are diameter, table, crown, girdle, pavilion, depth and culet. Anatomy is what helps determine a diamond's proportion, brilliance and scintillation. If you have a good understanding of each component, you will be able to find the perfect diamond.

Here is each component explained:

  • Diameter - This is the width, measured from edge to edge, of the diamond.
  • Table - This is the largest facet, situated on the top of the diamond.
  • Girdle - This is the narrow band, where the crown and pavilion meet, at the diamonds widest point.
  • Crown - This is the top section of the diamond between the girdle and the table. The crown consists of many facets which refract light to create the diamond’s sparkle.
  • Pavilion - This is the bottom section of the diamond between the girdle and the culet.
  • Depth - This is the height of the diamond measured from the top (table) to the bottom (culet).
  • Culet - This is the tip at the very bottom of the diamond.

Ideal Cut

A diamond’s cut is what determines how well it sparkles. One that has an ideal-cut will sparkle beautifully, while one that is poorly-cut will lacklustre. At Austen & Blake, we only sell diamonds with an excellent cut grading to guarantee that your diamond creates the most amount of sparkle.

An ideal-cut diamond has perfect proportions, excellent polish and ideal symmetry. It is among the rarest cuts and requires precision and skill to create. Ideal-cut diamonds are perfectly proportioned to reflect almost all the light that enters, allowing the diamond to produce plenty of fire and brilliance - creating the sparkle that we know and love.

Grading

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Certificate

IGI

GIA

At Austen & Blake confidence and credibility is important to us, therefore we provide diamond certification for every diamond in which we sell.

A diamond certification is an impartial summary of the authenticity of a diamond and the specifications such as carat, clarity and cut etc, carried out by expert gemologists or diamond laboratories. This document is important as it provides the purchaser with reassurance that the diamond is as described by the seller.

Austen & Blake: Free of charge and issued by our in-house gemologist. This certificate displays carat weight, colour, clarity of the diamonds, design number and diamond shapes (multi-stone options).

EGL (European Gemological Laboratory): A third party option who are one of the few laboratories to group grade readymade jewellery products, for example, our multi-stone products such as Tennis bracelets and Eternity Rings.

IGI (International Gemological Institute) and GIA (Gemological Institute of America): World-renowned independent labs who are considered to be the strictest in the industry.

Certificates will display carat weight, colour, clarity, diamond shape, cut, polish, symmetry, fluorescence levels, types of inclusions and certificate number.

As your certificate provides invaluable security in the case of loss, trade or resale, it is important to keep this document safe. Whenever the diamond may leave your possession (for example, to be cleaned) it is a good idea to remind the party taking possession of the diamond that you have a certificate. This should remove any temptation of third-party fraud.

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