Choosing The Perfect Diamond
When shopping for a diamond, some people have a definite idea of what they want; some people have no idea where to start, but all our customers come into this process with the same priority: choosing the “perfect” diamond while getting the best value for their money. Whether you have thousands of dollars to spend, or a few hundred, we are committed to respecting your budget and working with you so that you are excited about your choice, proud of your purchase and pleased with your experience.
Balancing Diamond Qualities For Value
Specializing in GIA certified Excellent Cut diamonds, we believe that “cut” is the single most important factor in determining the beauty and long term value of a diamond. While a GIA certificate is important in guaranteeing diamond grading, there is much that a lab report does not reveal. Years of experience have taught us to recognize the individuality of each stone and the importance of actually viewing and inspecting them under a loupe in our showroom. We invite you to participate in this process so that you, too, can see, learn and make an informed choice.
A diamond certificate, or report, is a document issued by a gemological laboratory that evaluates a loose diamond. It is an identification of the diamond, detailing the proportions of the cut and describing color and clarity characteristics. Certificates verify the authenticity of a diamond and can be important in the appraisal (valuation) process. However, a lab report does not document all the physical characteristics of a particular diamond. There are many variables within diamonds of equal grades, especially regarding cut and clarity. We cannot stress enough the importance of actually viewing and comparing diamonds! At Barker Diamond we prefer, above all, certificates issued by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). GIA is considered the industry standard, known for having the most strict, consistent and unbiased system for grading diamonds. Diamonds that are accompanied by grading reports (certificates) from GIA are the most highly valued in the industry, as their quality is considered guaranteed.
A good place to start is to decide on the shape of the stone. This is totally a matter of personal preference and will determine the major design element of your ring, necklace or earrings.
Cut And Color
At Barker Diamond, we prefer to focus on the qualities of the diamond that you can see with the naked eye. By far, the determining factor in recognizing a great diamond is the cut. Many elements determine a perfect cut, including the depth and table proportions, polish and symmetry. A great cut is immediately apparent – the diamond is alive with sparkle and brilliance. The color of a diamond should be evaluated carefully. While diamonds in the D-E-F range are the most rare and valuable, if the cut has the correct proportions, a stone in the G-H-I range can offer a better value without sacrificing beauty.
Nearly all diamonds have small inclusions, or imperfections, that make them unique. Most aren’t noticeable to the naked eye, so if your budget won’t allow you to buy a perfect stone, sacrifice clarity rather than color or cut. Because inclusions take many sizes, shapes, forms, and positions (and must be revealed in the grading or certification process) many are insignificant to the diamond’s overall beauty and eye appeal. By personally examining each diamond with a jeweler’s loupe (10x magnification), you can see for yourself each of the inclusions and decide whether or not they detract from the diamond’s beauty. Unless money is no object, why pay for something you can’t see?
Your budget will be the deciding factor on what size diamond you choose. However, know that, in our opinion, the size of the diamond is its least beautiful quality! You will learn when you visit Barker Diamond that natural radiance and beauty exist in diamonds of all sizes when our requirements for cut, color and clarity are revealed. So many of our customers have told us, “We have looked all over, but you have by far the most beautiful diamonds we have seen anywhere.”
The Four C’s
Cut describes how well the angles and proportions of a diamond have been cut to optimize its brilliance and refractive qualities. Of all the 4 C’s, it is the only one directly influenced by man; the other three are dictated by nature. It is the cut that enables a diamond to make the best use of light. When a diamond is cut to proper proportions, light is reflected from one facet to another and then dispersed through the top of the stone. If the cut is too deep or too shallow, light escapes or leaks through the sides or the bottom of the stone, diminishing its brilliance and corresponding value. The cut or make of a diamond will dramatically influence its fire and sparkle, for it is the cutter’s skill that releases the beauty of the diamond.
Color describes the amount of color perceived by comparing a diamond to a master set of “color coded” diamonds; the diamond is graded by its relative lack of color. A totally colorless diamond allows white light to pass through effortlessly and be dispersed as rainbows of color. A diamond that is said to have “fine color” has little or no visible coloration.
Clarity refers to the presence of inclusions and surface blemishes in a diamond. Almost all diamonds contain minute traces of non-crystallized carbon or small non-diamond crystals. Most are not discernible to the naked eye and require magnification to become visible. Called inclusions, they are nature’s fingerprint and make every diamond unique. Clarity is determined by the size, number, nature, color and position of the inclusions and/or blemishes and summarized into a grade. Minute inclusions neither mar nor endanger the diamond’s beauty. However, the fewer there are, the more rare and therefore the more valuable the stone will be.
Carat refers to the weight, and therefore the size, of a diamond. A carat is a unit of measurement unique to precious gemstones, equal to 200 milligrams or 1/5 of a gram. A carat is divided into 100 “points” so that a diamond of 25 points is described as a quarter of a carat or 0.25 carats.