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Diamond Buying

The process of purchasing a diamond can be confusing and intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.

Below we will discuss some of the key characteristics that you want to watch out for when buying a diamond. We’ll also look at some of the pitfalls people run into, either online or in store.

The 4 C’s

Everyone’s heard of this – but what is it and, what will it mean to you and your buying decision?

Carat SizesI have heard all kinds of misinformation from retail and online stores in the past. Things such as “we only sell the best cuts” or “X certifications are the only reliable ones in the market”. All of this information is geared towards steering you into the products that company sells. I do not take this approach. I only procure products for my clients based on what they tell me is important to them. As a result, since I have access to every level of stone, I deliver an honest education and let you tell me what you would like to see.

Let’s break them down.


This one is pretty simple.

It’s the weight of the diamond. Notice something very important here; I said WEIGHT – not size. This is a key statement as many people believe that carat equates to size. While this is true in some sense, the true meaning of the word is the weight of the diamond.

Now, properly cut diamonds which have the same weight will all be relatively the same in size, but a poorly cut stone could have the same weight, but have a noticeably different size. A simple analogy would be to think of 2 men. Each one weighs the same 200 lbs. One works out every day and the other eats fast food 3 times a day.

Although they weigh the same, the have very different sizes, right?


Poorly formed arrows in an Ideal cutThis one’s easier to explain after carat. The cut boils down all those different things you read about diamonds such as the ratio’s and percentages of the table, the depth, the width, the culet, etc. It’s all very technical and can be very confusing.

Let yourself relax and focus on the quality of the cut. The levels of cut are debated in the industry all the time. Most grading houses will have about 5 level of cut for round stones. Starting from lowest cut to highest, they are:

  • Poor
  • Medium
  • Good
  • Very Good
  • Ideal or Excellent

There is 1 more level of cut that is a type of Ideal Plus or Premium cut – that is the Hearts and Arrows Ideal cut. The Hearts and Arrows phenomenon is quite simple.

ArrowsHeartsWhen viewed with an apparatus that simulates ultraviolet light, you will be able to see the formations of Hearts when viewing it from the top down, and the formation of arrows when viewing it from the bottom up. The concept is that the more symmetrical the stones cut is, the clearer you see these formations without have to move from side to side to see them. To the left you can see a clear example of properly formed Ideal Cut Hearts and Arrows and an another Ideal Cut stone, that does not meet Hearts and Arrows accreditation.

I get asked quite often; “Which cut should I pick?” – The answer isn’t quite simple; it’s a personal as well as budgetary choice. The higher the cut, the rarer the diamond, the more expensive the stone becomes. The differences are not night and day between each cut. As long as you achieve a minimum of a Good cut, you will have a stone that looks good. Of course, if you can go higher, then you will have more shine from the stone, but the differences are subtle.

I typically recommend a Very Good cut for Rounds and Princess shaped stones as it will offer good value for money.

Diamond Colour


Colour is graded using letters starting with D and ending with Z, D being the whitest or most colourless and Z being a solid yellow colour. Depending on which grading house performed the certification on the stone, colour grades typically are grouped into sets. For example:

  • D-E-F would be called “Colourless”
  • G-H-I-j would be called “Near Colourless”
  • K-L-M would be “Faint Yellow”
  • and so on

There is a breaking point at which you really don’t see any colour difference to the naked eye and price increases are simply due to rarity.

I feel that as long as you pick as stone that is G colour or higher (i.e. D-E-F or G), you will end up with a clean, white or clear stone with no hint of yellow. It’s my firm opinion that at H, you can start to see a yellow tint, especially when you are setting the stone on a white metal, like White Gold or Platinum. If you are setting it onto a Yellow Gold setting, then you can get away with a slightly lower colour.

diamond colour


By no means the least of all considerations, clarity is something that should be looked at closely. One of the worst things you can do is pick a stone that has a visible flaw in it, set it into a ring, and then stumble upon seeing the flaw. After that point, your eye will ALWAYS be drawn to the flaw each time you look at it.

Diamond ClarityThe minimum you should adhere to when buying a Round diamond is an SI1 Clarity. With Princess it should be VS2. Why higher for Princess?

Princess stones have 4 straight sides. This makes looking through the stone with the naked eye a whole lot easier. You want the stone slightly clearer so that you cannot see the flaw.

The levels of clarity, from highest to lowest, are as follows:

  • FL (Flawless) or IF (Internally Flawless)
  • VVS 1 and 2 (Very Very Slight)
  • VS 1 and 2 (Very Slight)
  • SI 1, 2 and 3 (Slightly Included)
  • I 1, 2 and 3 (Included)

The higher you go up this chart, the more expensive the diamond becomes. As discussed above, if you stay to a minimum SI1 for Round and VS2 for Princess and above, you will end up with a clean stone with any naked eye flaws extremely difficult to find if they exist at all.

Please take the chart of clarities that appears to the right with a grain of salt. This is simply a line drawing representation of flaws and is by no means visible in real life.

But wait?? I thought you said there were 4 C’s??

Yes there are 4 C’s, and this last C has been coming up more often in my industry. The last C is CONFIDENCE.

  • How much confidence do you have in the person selling you the diamond?
  • How much confidence do you have that you will get what you want?
  • How much confidence do you have that you are dealing with someone who is honest?

These are all key questions.

My position on confidence is simple. Friends and family won't refer someone if they have had a bad experience or felt they couldn’t trust what I was doing for them. My business depends on referrals. In fact, I only seek out new business through client referrals. It is my ultimate responsibility that you as my customer are happy, because I want you to tell everyone you know about Deep Diamond Studio!

I am always here to help, so please call 647-407-1144, or email anytime.