You’ve decided on a gift that will last a lifetime – diamonds! For centuries, these have signified an everlasting bond, due to their durability and eternal sparkle. They are known as a woman’s best friend, and as the epitome of glamour and prestige. You’ve decided to buy diamonds… and apparently this is where it becomes tricky!
You begin with somewhere you’re familiar with, a shop you know or a friend who loves jewellery. So far, so good. But what started as an average gift hunt unexpectedly becomes something far more complicated. Suddenly, you’re drowning in information and words (all of which sound suspiciously made up). What do terms like The Four C’s, refraction, settings, cut, ‘carrots’, VVS1 or VVS2 even mean? And there are so many questions… Does she like contemporary or classic? How white would she like her diamonds? Does she prefer cats or dogs?
Stop. Breathe. Relax. Rather than enduring a steady stream of buzz words and jargon, take a step into Simon Pure. When you’re with us, the only Four C’s you’ll need to worry about are Coffee, Cake, and Comfy Chairs. Jewellery shopping takes time and thought, so take some weight off your shoulders and we’ll brief you on the vital basics…
Diamonds are valued under four basic categories, known as the Four C’s. In no particular order, this is what each represents:
In simple terms, this is the shape of the diamond. Each shape will have its own pretty name, which in itself can get confusing. The cuts you will find most commonly when shopping are brilliant cut (round), princess cut (square), oval cut (self-explanatory) and baguette cut (looks more like a bar of Dairy Milk than a baguette!). These four tend to rule the diamond roost, but we also hold asscher cuts, cushion cuts, marquise and emerald cuts. There is no ‘best’ cut of diamond, each shape is desirable for different purposes. The quality of a cut lies in its symmetry and polish.
‘Diamonds are clear, of course?’ WRONG! Diamonds have so many different tones, the stone makes a rainbow all of its own. The colour of a diamond is graded in letters, starting from D (being colourless) to Z (tainted colour, with a grey or yellowish tinge). The quality of Simon Pure diamonds will be G-H, which is the top end of the ‘near colourless’ bracket. When diamonds glimmer, the light that passes through them shines vivid and pure colours. If the diamond is already a low quality colour, the light will be tainted and it will not sparkle with the same fire of a higher quality colour diamond.
This is where it gets complicated (but don’t panic!) Diamonds are a natural product of the Earth, made from carbon. As with all naturally made things, no two are the same. Stones come in a vast array of varieties, but the most fascinating way to see the difference between them is by examining the inclusions each will hold. Otherwise known as flaws, birthmarks, blemishes (call them what you will!), these inclusions are also found in diamonds. Clarity is graded from FL – flawless, having no inclusions at all – to I3, whose heavy inclusions are easy to see with the naked eye.
When lots of little diamonds are set together, the stones refract off each other. These ‘clusters’ create a real dazzle, making inclusions much harder to detect. Consequently, you’ll only tend to notice these in larger diamonds, although this isn’t necessarily a negative. Inclusions are what makes a stone unique and can look truly stunning, making your diamond stand out from the crowd.
This refers to the weight of the diamond. Originally, diamonds were weighed using carob beans, which is where the term ‘carat’ originates. Although commonly understand to represent the size, two diamonds of the same carat can often look like completely different sizes. Diamonds of equal weight can be shallow cut or deep cut, and will look very different despite weighing the same. It’s all about how they are proportioned. And remember, bigger doesn’t mean better! If you are choosing for someone with a very slight frame, giant diamonds will drown them. We always provide honest advise about what will suit someone best, most people enter the shop looking for one style and leave with something totally different! As professionals, it is our responsibility to make sure that everyone leaves with the perfect piece.
Well, there you have it, a brief introduction to the world of diamonds. However, we’d like to stress to that the most important thing is to love what you’re buying. If you think something has that ‘wow factor’ you can bet that nobody will notice that VVS2 inclusion, or care about its colour grade and type of cut. Fall in love with a design, and if it sparkles, and if it’s classic, we think you’re on to a winner. Try not to get overwhelmed with the technicalities – it’s the sentiment and thought behind it that matters most. Feel free to come by our Guildford and Smithbrook Kilns boutiques for advice on where to start. Happy shopping!