Quality of Diamonds
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Quality of Diamonds for Engagement Rings

Quality of Diamonds for Engagement Rings

Are you thinking about popping the question? However, you need help figuring out where to look or what to buy? Everything you’re experiencing is entirely normal. That is why we have prepared a guide on choosing the perfect diamond for engagement rings. 

Our mission is to make your quest for the perfect diamond for your engagement ring as easy as possible. Before making a purchase, it is crucial to understand the quality of the diamond. We offer help explaining the 4Cs, diamond certification, lab-grown diamonds, and budget-friendly alternatives to diamonds.

4Cs of Diamond Quality 

A long time ago, there was a lack of a standardized method for assessing diamonds. Diamond traders and jewelers relied on terms like “river” or “water” for the clearest diamonds and “Cape” for diamonds from South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope region that was pale yellow. The cut of a diamond was judged as “well made” or “poorly made.”

In the 1940s, Robert M. Shipley, the founder of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), introduced the 4Cs (color, clarity, cut, and carat weight) as a simple, yet revolutionary way for his students to remember the key characteristics of a faceted diamond. 

The invention of the 4Cs and the GIA International Diamond Grading System™ had significant impacts: it standardized the way diamond quality is expressed and empowered diamond buyers by providing them with clear information about their purchases.

Let us dive deeper into this topic and explain what the 4Cs stand for:

  • Cut – Of all the 4Cs, cut holds the most significant importance regarding how a diamond’s facets reflect light. It is judged based on symmetry, proportion, and polish. It is the cut that mainly determines the diamond’s beauty. The cut’s grading ranges from “excellent” over “over good”, “good”, “fair” to “poor”. Gemsperience generally only sells diamonds of an excellent or a very good cut. Please note that the cut of a diamond does not relate to its shape (e.g., round, heart, or square). 
  • Clarity – Clarity is a metric that assesses the rarity and cleanliness of a diamond and is determined by examining the stone under 10x magnification for inclusions (internal flaws) and blemishes (external imperfections). A diamond is rated flawless if no such characteristics are visible under 10x magnification. The term “flawless” is the highest quality but is rarely found. High-quality diamonds typically fall between “VVS1 (very, very small inclusions)” and “VS2 (very small inclusions).” The location of inclusions is also important, as they should not be easily visible when viewed from the top.
  • Color – Color refers to the natural hue of white diamonds, which most naturally have a slight yellowish tint. The rarer a diamond is, the closer it is to being colorless. The standard in the industry for grading color is to compare each diamond against a reference set and assign a letter grade ranging from “D” (colorless) to “Z” (light yellow).
  • Carat – Carat refers to the weight of a diamond, not its size, although they are typically related. 

Certification of Diamonds

Diamond grading reports, also known as certificates, are provided by reputable gem labs like the GIA. These certificates include grades and details of a diamond’s features using the 4Cs standard – carat weight, color, clarity, and cut. The final grade assigned to a diamond significantly affects its value.

There are multiple certificates worldwide; however, Gemsperience only sells diamonds certified by the three most prestigious institutes: GIA, IGI, and HRD.

  • GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is regarded as the benchmark for diamond certification in the industry, being the largest and most respected grading lab globally. They offer certification for diamonds, gems, and pearls. As a leading authority, they provide four different diamond certification reports, including the Diamond Grading Report, Diamond Dossier Report, Diamond eReport, and Diamond Focus Report.
  • Founded in 1975, the IGI (International Gemological Institute) is the oldest diamond grading institute in Antwerp, operating 20 labs globally. They evaluate finished jewelry, natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds, and gemstones. Their grading reports include the Hearts & Arrows Diamond Grading, Lab-Grown Diamond Grading, Diamond Grading, and Coloured Diamonds Report.
  • HRD (Hoge Raad Voor Diamant), established in 1973, is a significant provider of diamond and gemstone certifications in Europe. It is based in Antwerp, Belgium, and considers itself a global authority on diamond grading. 

The quality of diamonds can only be certified by prestigious institutes, and here at Gemsperience, we make sure that all diamonds are certified by them. 

Comparing Natural and Lab-Grown Diamonds

During your research, you might come across the question: What is the difference between the quality of natural and lab-grown diamonds? 

A natural diamond is a mineral composed of carbon and is the toughest substance found in nature, while lab-grown diamonds are diamonds whose life begins in a laboratory. They are created under conditions that perfectly mimic the environment in which natural diamonds are formed. Therefore they have 100% the same properties and are optically, physically, and chemically identical to natural diamonds.  

The naked eye cannot distinguish between natural diamonds and lab-grown diamonds. Natural diamonds contain trace amounts of nitrogen, whereas lab-grown diamonds do not. This difference in nitrogen content is a key characteristic used by gemologists to determine if a diamond is natural or lab-grown.

Although there are a few differences between these two types of diamonds, we assure you there is no difference in their quality. Lab-grown diamonds have become more popular recently and are certified by all three institutes mentioned above. 

Distinguishing Diamonds from Budget-Friendly Lookalikes

If you are looking for the perfect engagement ring for your significant other but need to decide whether to buy a diamond or go with a more budget-friendly alternative gemstone, don’t worry, we have all the information you need. 

The last section discussed the differences between natural and lab-grown diamonds. Now, we will compare diamonds and less expensive gemstones, such as white sapphire, zirconia, and moissanite. 

There are several differences between diamonds and budget-friendly gemstones. Diamonds and less expensive gemstones differ in hardness, sparkle, price, and durability.

  1. Hardness: Diamonds are the hardest naturally occurring substance, whereas sapphires and cubic zirconia are much softer. Moissanite is the closest in hardness to diamond.
  2. Sparkle: Diamonds have a unique sparkle that is difficult to replicate, while less expensive gemstones have a less intense brilliance.
  3. Price: Diamonds are significantly more expensive than sapphires, cubic zirconia, and moissanite due to their rarity and unique properties.
  4. Durability: Diamonds are highly durable and can last for generations, while gemstones are more prone to scratches, chips, and discoloration.

Conclusion

In conclusion, when searching for the perfect diamond for an engagement ring, it is crucial to consider the 4Cs: cut, clarity, color, and carat weight. We advise that you don’t trust a jeweler who doesn’t explain this to you. A reputable gem lab like GIA, IGI, or HRD should provide a certificate with these grades and details. By understanding the 4Cs and the difference between natural and lab-grown diamonds, you can decide on the perfect diamond for your engagement ring. If you wish to save money without compromising the quality, we suggest you buy a ring with a lab-grown diamond, seeing how they’re becoming more popular. 

Feel free to visit us in our showroom in Regensburg for a detailed consultation on the quality of diamonds for engagement rings.