Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, according to Marilyn Monroe, and quite possibly the average guy’s worst nightmare. It’s not the issue of cost that terrifies most of us when it comes to picking out a stone, however, but the possibility that we mess up on the type of stone our partner wants and the endless debates that may follow. Debates that start with questions like, “How could you think I would like this diamond?” or “You don’t listen when I tell you I don’t like a marquise cut”, et cetera.
So we gave the experts at Tiffany & Co. a ring (pun intended, by the way) to ask what their opinions on what the process of diamond selection is like. After all, Tiffany & Co. is the company that made diamond measurement standard across the world through promoting the carat weight system, a key constituent of the 4Cs of diamond buying.
The 4Cs, naturally, are (as explained through the GIA):
Just like how there are numerous shades of white, diamonds, depending on their constituent mineral, can take on a tinge in its ability to reflect light. Colourless diamonds are graded D till Z (saturated). Companies such as Tiffany & Co. only accept up to a colour of “I”.
Since it’s a natural stone, diamonds can possess surface blemishes or inclusions, which are imperfections that are within the stone. Most inclusions in diamonds do not affect its structure, but clouds can affect its ability to scatter light. Other inclusions are feathers, knots, internal graining and more. These are graded based on how visible they are to the naked eye, but are graded at a 10X magnification. Flawless diamonds are the most rare, following which are the Internally Flawless (IF), Very Very Slightly Included (VVS) and Very Slightly Included (VS).
The way a stone is cut has a great effect on its ability to disperse light. You may have wondered why some stones refract or reflect less light and others more. The more facets a stone has, and the fewer inclusions, tend to make it easier to catch light rays on multiple angles and therefore refract or reflect it back. Of course, these also depends on the shape of the stone and how it’s cut. Incidentally, not all women like solitaires. Find out before you decide.
The unit of measurement that’s used in gemstone and pearl measurement, carat weight is a unit of mass that equals 200mg. Some would argue that the bigger the diamond size, the better, but this isn’t always true. How one sets a diamond also has an impact, something that Charles Tiffany proved when he developed the Tiffany setting, which reveals the stone fully on six prongs, rather than the standard four.
But Tiffany has another criteria imposed on their stones. They call it “Presence”, the X-factor of a stone that looks at the precision of the cut, the proportions of the stone after cutting and its polish grade, to deliver the best stone they can possibly offer.
So the next time you’re on the hunt for a stone, don’t just bang on about how big it has to be. Bigger isn’t always better. And if in doubt, give the guys at Tiffany a call.