October 22, 2020 6 min read
Diamonds and gemstones are cut from natural stone into a wide variety of shapes.
These include Brilliant (round), Oval, Heart, Emerald, Pear, Princess, Marquise, Radiant and Asscher.
At Sophia Alexander, most of the diamonds and gemstones we set are Brilliant in shape, but if you would prefer something a little different, just get in touch.
Brilliant round diamonds have been around for just over 100 years. They were originally developed by a Belgian engineer called Marcel Tolkowsky who came from a family of diamond cutters.
He worked out that to allow light to reflect maximum brilliance within a diamond, it had to be cut to have 58 specific facets.
When compared with all other diamond shapes, the perfect facets of the Brilliant cut diamond provided the greatest sparkle.
Today, up to 75% of all diamonds sold for jewellery are Round Brilliant in shape, making it by far the most popular shape and Marcel Tolkowsky has become known as the Father of all contemporary Brilliant cut diamonds.
If you know anything at all about diamonds, you might be familiar with The 4 C’s of Diamond Quality, a system used since the 1940’s to classify diamonds.
The 4 C’s include:
Slightly confusingly, the cut of a diamond doesn’t refer to its physical shape (round, princess, pear etc), instead, it refers to the way in which a diamond is cut and shaped.
A lot of the time, this depends on what the diamond cutter had to work with in the first place – remember that natural diamonds come from the earth and were formed millions of years ago. They are all slightly different, so the cut is often determined the original stone.
The cut of a diamond is incredibly important as the cut effects how much light the diamond is able to reflect. This determines how sparkly the diamond is – and we all love a bit of sparkle.
Grading Diamond Cuts is complicated - it’s worked out using precise measurements of the diamond’s crown (the top bit), the girdle (the central section) and the pavilion (the pointed bottom section) and the relationships between these.
It takes into account the table ratio, the length of the facets and girdle thickness (well, that’s enough to make your head hurt).
Luckily, to make things a little easier for consumers (who are neither expert mathematicians nor gem cutters) diamond are clearly graded from 1 – 10 according to how they’ve been cut.
A perfect ideal diamond is graded 0, an Excellent diamond is graded 1, a Very Good diamond is graded 2, a good diamond is graded 3-4, a Fair diamond is graded 5-7 and a Poor Diamond is graded 8-10.
Simply put, diamond clarity is the number of imperfections present in a single diamond.
Some of these imperfections are totally invisible to the naked eye and can only be seen when carefully inspected under a microscope, whereas some are very visible.
Sometimes, these inclusions can be desirable. A good example of this is the increasingly sort-after Salt and Pepper diamonds where the imperfect black and white inclusions give each diamond a totally unique look.
Sometimes. Inclusions can effect the strength of the diamond, but in most cases, a few inclusions can give character, appearing as flecks, clouds or smoke.
Today, to make it easier to understand what you’re buying, diamonds are inspected and graded by gemologists. They are then put into 5 categories according to their Clarity.
Colour fortunately is the one part of the 4 C’s that is straight forward.
Diamonds are graded from D – Z using a kind of colour chart that goes from totally colourless (D grade) through to pale yellow (Z grade).
The deeper the yellow colour, the lower the grade and the more affordable the stone.
Conversely, the less colour the diamond has – the higher it’s grade and the higher the price tag.
When you choose a diamond or a piece of jewellery containing a diamond, it should be certified by the GIA and come with paperwork detailing the 4C’s for the stone.
If there is no paperwork, you should at least be able to ask the jewellery shop or designer-maker.
You can also request prices for stones using this information.
At Sophia Alexander, we add basic 2.5mm stones to the majority of our pieces of jewellery, however, we are more than happy to source different gemstones and diamonds if required.
Our standard 2.5mm diamonds are
So, here’s a handy list of Brilliant Cut Diamond Diameters (the measurement straight across the top in metric mm) and corresponding carat weights.
Important side note: This is an approximate guide. All natural diamonds are slightly different. A 5mm diamond will on average weigh approximately 0.5cts, BUT, it might be lighter if it is a shallow stone, or heavier if particularly deep.
A final note, as a general rule, FI – VVS1 Diamonds are very expensive and they're not "off the shelf" items. They can sometimes take a while to source.
As a general rule, a SI 1 / 2 diamond is absolutely find for most discerning buyers who want to add a diamond birthstone or a little extra special sparkle to a piece of custom jewellery.
Although imperfections are present, they're not visible without a microscope so are very good value.
If however, you would like something a little larger or with higher clarity, get in touch and we'll do our best to find the perfect diamond for you.
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