All shapes and sizes, cuts, colours, designs but how do you know how to spot what is right for you? With so much information out there about how to select the perfect engagement ring, I have clients come in from all over the world asking what characteristics are the most costly in terms of overall bottom line. It’s not always an easy question to answer but ultimately, all things being equal, I always tell them that if you wanted to increase your stone size then drop a clarity grade or two, and possibly a colour grade as long as there is no appreciable difference to the naked eye under sunlight. Clarity is one of those things that gets bandied about as being one of the most important things about buying a diamond. While certainly an important aspect of buying an engagement ring it’s never been in my top three things to look out for. As long as the stone is eye clean, generally down to SI1 and in some circumstances even SI2 with some stones (see notes on clarity at the bottom of this post), then you are free to have a look at the other aspects that actually give the stone the life you see when it sparkles. Most of the information that gets digested on the internet tends to favour the cut grade of the stone, the exacting angles that when used in the proper proportion bends the light that enters the top of the stone to sufficient degrees that most of it exits back out the top maximising the brightness of a stone. I have always had a love-hate relationship with the modern cut grading system. On one hand it can give the uninitiated piece of mind that the certificate that whatever lab has issued has made sure that the stone is cut to a high standard, which is true, on the other hand, it has the somewhat undesirable effect of not letting the observer make their own judgement on whether or not a stone speaks to them. A classic example is a demand I get for old European or transitional cut diamonds that, when placed beside a triple excellent cut stone and compared give very different light return effects. Which is better? well, that has to be entirely up to the observer but here’s the thing. Modern cut grading standards will cost you money with the very real possibility that you won’t notice a blind bit of difference. That’s money that could have gone into a bigger stone, higher colour grade or even a higher clarity grade or even a more intricate or custom made setting. Colour is another thing that people need to realise they can play with a little bit. There is no major difference to the naked eye between D-E-F. While under very very specific grading conditions you may be able to tell the difference if you’ve been grading diamonds for a couple of years, the odds are, that you simply won’t. So why pay top dollar for a D VVs1 or Flawless stone I hear you ask? Well, the answer is simple. A ‘D’ colour is a ‘D’ colour. It’s the best, the rarest, the most sought after and hence the most expensive all things being equal. Also, the market for Round Brilliant shaped D colour stones will always command a higher premium than any other stone. That being said, again, I always advise my clients that unless they absolutely desperately need to buy a D colour stone than even dropping your colour to an E or an F can mean that extra little bit of weight onto the stone, and after all, who doesn’t want a big diamond. A note on Clarity. Just because a stone has a perceivably low clarity, SI2 or below, it does not mean that those clarity characteristics can be seen. Let’s take the wonderful example of the wispy Veil or cloud. White inclusions are the best kind of inclusions mainly because you can’t see them, not without the use of a loupe anyway.


Clarity can be one of those things were different labs grade the same stone but have different opinions as to what the final clarity grade it. This image of a 1.72ct G colour SI2 we currently have in store shows what a white cloud formation under the table facet (the flat part at the top of every diamond) this image is taken at 40x times magnification and without using the microscope used to take this photo the inclusion is near impossible to see with the naked eye.


Given the fact that a large stone like this one would command higher premiums should the clarity be even VS2 let alone VVS, the decision to base your purchase on a clarity characteristic such as this one should be taken with the knowledge that the observer would get the same pleasure from the stone regardless of the SI2 grading. It’s cut grade is Very Good, Very good, Very Good