Superb Diamond Selection

Superb Diamond Selection.

Superb diamond selection requires great expertise, far more than most people think. Expert diamond selection is a process we take very seriously every day at Ellissi. Before offering any diamond to a client we spend a lot of time researching the options.  We rule in or out potential diamonds based on our client’s requirements and their budget. Most importantly, we undertake a careful analysis of the qualities of each diamond.  Once we have a short list of possible diamonds we are happy to consider, we do our final due diligence by requesting additional information from our cutters. This is to ensure the diamonds we are considering are everything that they should be, and more.

Loose Diamonds, round brilliant , emerald cut, cushion cut and Radiant cut
Loose Diamonds at Ellissi

The rings and diamonds you see on this site are the result of our very careful selection process. A process we undertake to find the very best diamond for each and every client.  When you look at the rings we make, you can see for yourself that this process is worthwhile. We achieve stunning results where quality really counts. And it shows.

Superb diamond selection depends on a complex set of decisions. These decisions vary from client to client. At the beginning you should have an understanding of the 4 C’s. That is a good start for the process you are embarking on. When you make an appointment to see one of our jewellers, you will learn a lot about diamonds. With some diamond education under your belt, you will begin to see that there is a lot more to the 4C’s than meets the eye. You will learn far more than if you were to go through the standard retail type store.

The issues in diamond selection are many, ranging from multiple levels within any one grade, to different certifying laboratories having differing rules. It is a fact that most certification of diamonds is quite lacking in detail. The process of certification does not look at all that it should or could look at. Diamond certificates are a good starting point for our inquiries: on their own they are just not enough.  Arriving at superb diamond selection requires much more thorough investigation into the diamond’s DNA. For more information about what diamond grading certificates do and don’t tell us you can read more here: certified diamonds.

A simple fact: each and every diamond is individual.  This means that we look at every diamond on its merits. We need to examine if it is a diamond worthy of our consideration.  There is far more to superb diamond selection than a basic set of rules. We consider all the variables as part of the process of superb diamond selection. Take for example, differing cut types. We may decide to select one diamond over another, because we want a differing effect on the “look” or performance of the individual diamond.

Different types of diamond cuts can also be a reason for the selection of one grade over another. We would advise for an emerald cut diamond, that we should select a higher clarity grade than we would need for a Round Brilliant Cut diamond. This is because an emerald cut diamond has far fewer facets than a round brilliant cut. Imperfections can be seen more easily when there are fewer facets.

See below for the four main grading areas of Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat weight. Each has a brief description of the 4 C’s. Included is some detail on what we look at when assessing any particular diamond in these areas.  Superb diamond selection involves weighing up all the variables within these grading areas, as well as considering the many other factors that don’t fall within the four C’s. The critical things affecting cost and how the diamond looks.

1) Superb diamond selection for : Cut

When we talk about “Cut” in a diamond it refers to two things: the general outer shape of the diamond, and it’s faceting. For info on the various shape diamonds that are available, click on the following diamond cuts link.

What we need to look for once you have decided on the cut shape you prefer, is a nice example of the cut shape. There is a lot of variation within different cut shapes. This is part of the reason why the GIA does not give a cut grade for any shape except round. So for example, oval cut diamonds can be long and thin, or have a wider shape. Different shapes will be better for different ring designs, depending on your tastes. We are particularly careful when we select Princess cut diamonds. Princess cuts can be a bit off in their shape – not quite square looking.  Once set into a ring, this amplifies the “not quite right” shape.

“Cut” also refers to how the facets are cut. Each cut shape varies in the way the facets are cut, so that different visual effects are achieved. Some cut shapes have many smaller facets, whilst others have fewer, larger facets. Some faceting styles you may prefer over others, depending on what it is that you are trying to achieve.

For example, there are over 20 different types of “Cushion” diamonds with only a few being specifically recognised as a cut type in their own right. There are also many differing variations to the “emerald cut” resulting in varying length x widths and facet sizes. The cut can make diamonds look different to the eye, even if they are equal in the grades in other areas.

2) Superb Diamond selection for : Colour

In diamonds “Colour” is the tint of the crystal. Think of it like a tinted window… no colour tint at all is classified as “D” and then with a little more tint, down the grades we go E,F,G,H… etc. It is generally considered that D-E and F are in the colourless zone, but these are not the same obviously.

To make a fair comparison, most labs grade colour through the back of the diamond  (side on) to get the most unbiased view and an assessment that is unhindered by the refraction and sparkle of the diamond. This is because cut can play a significant role in our perception of colour. So when viewed from the top, as would be the case when set in a ring, one diamond type may look more tinted than another of the same grade with a different cut design. For example, diamonds with a colour grade of F,G or H will look more tinted in a Radiant cut and some of the Cushion cut types, than the same grade would in a Round brilliant, Emerald cut or one of the other “Brilliant” types like Pear or Oval Brilliant.

3) Clarity.

The clarity grading refers not to how clear the diamond is, but to what naturally occurring markings or “inclusions” are within the diamond crystal. This is an important distinction to make, as a diamond can have issues of low lustre and milkiness that are not assessed and do not form part of the clarity grading they have been given.

Visual and risky inclusions are two differing things. So, for example, a SI1 or SI2 grading in a princess cut can be a negative, if the inclusions are in the corners.  If a diamond has an inclusion in the corner, this may be better visually. The claw setting may hide the inclusion. However, the fact that the inclusion is in a corner, is a problem waiting to happen. If you knock a corner sufficiently firmly it can break off. Setting a diamond puts it under considerable pressure. A weak corner may break off during this process.

Emerald cut diamonds can have easily seen inclusions at the SI1 – 2 grade level if they are in the central area of the stone. Therefore it is generally accepted that these cut types require a higher level in clarity. This is to eliminate the issue of visual inclusions. You can get away with lower clarity levels in this area (to some extent), when the cut type is more faceted. So diamonds like the Round Brilliant cut, Cushion or Radiant cut can be a lower clarity level. The question of whether the diamond is any good will depend on the nature and location of the inclusions.

It is possible to find fantastic diamonds in the SI 1-2 grades. It is simply a matter of sifting through the possibilities to find a diamond that is a really good example of the grade. This is what superb diamond selection is all about – a process that takes time, but is worth it if you want a really great looking diamond.

Never assume that all is equal within the grades. The further away from the high levels that you go, the larger the range of difference there is. This means that the good, the bad and the ugly can all be within the same grade. Superb diamond selection really is a process of sorting out the good from the bad and ugly.  Once out of the VS levels, we need to take very particular care to select a good example of the grade.  For more info on just how tricky this area gets, click on this link: beware dodgy diamonds

4) Carat.

Did you know that “Carat” is the weight of the diamond when put on the scales? Without exception, the price of a diamond will depend in part on how heavy it is…BUT here again “Cut” plays a role, or more specifically “cut proportion”.

Diamonds have a specific gravity… just like water and quite a few other things like lead or gold. What we mean by that is that the weight is equal if you have identical mass, but just like water of equal quantity, a shallower depth will be wider in diameter and a deeper pool (same amount of water) will be less wide.

This leads to people mistakenly thinking that all diamonds are the same size in mm terms if the weight is the same, which is completely incorrect. So when we look at potential diamonds, this is one of the things that we consider.  We want a diamond that has a good spread for it’s weight. However, we must take care. If the diamond is too shallow, it may lack the sparkle and brilliance that we want. We need to balance the weight level with the performance of the diamond.

Another consideration here is the diamond shape.  Some diamond shapes look bigger than others, even though their carat weight may be the same.  Princess cut diamonds, for example, tend to look quite small for their carat weight. This is because much of their weight is in the back of the diamond.  A soft square shape such as a cushion cut diamond will look bigger than a princess cut diamond. A really well cut cushion cut diamond looks bigger, weight for weight, than a princess cut diamond.

Carat Weight Thresholds Affect the Cost of a Diamond:

Particular weight levels affect the cost of a diamond. For example, diamonds that are over the one carat weight are priced in a different, higher price bracket than those that are under one carat.  It may be wise to buy a diamond slightly under the weight level that is costed in a lower price bracket. Visually, you may not be able to see the difference.  After all, for some diamonds, a lesser weight diamond that is well cut can actually be larger in millimeter terms, than a poorly cut diamond that is simply tipping the scales in the next weight bracket.  Superb diamond selection is all about looking at the different possibilities and working out what is going to get the best result.

More reading,

If you have not already lost the will the live..

The Diamond Analogy


Diamond grade info for superb diamond selection