The purest gold available is 24 carat gold. This gold has a fineness of 1000. Sometimes this is expressed as 999 being 999 parts per 1000. It is very difficult to get pure gold with absolutely NO impurities. Pure gold is very soft and obviously very expensive. Most gold sold in the UK is either 18 carat gold which is 75% pure gold with 25% base metal added to it or 9 carat gold which is 37.5% pure gold. Base metals used include copper or silver. UK law states that all gold sold in UK must be hallmarked.
White gold has grown greatly in popularity over the past years. White gold is gold mixed with based metals and rhodium plated to give it its shiny white look. White gold will need to be replated at sometime depending on the wear.
The price of your diamond depends on four things which are known as the 4 "C", Carat, Clarity, Color and Cut.
this is the size of the diamond. Diamonds are measured by the carat. 1 carat is 100 points.
The table below shows the carat size relationships and cannot be used for actual sizes due to the differences in monitor screens.
Diamonds are very rarely completely flawless. Most diamonds contain internal features which are known as inclusions. Diamonds can also have blemishes or surface imperfections. It is these inclusions and blemishes that determine the clarity of each individual stone. Many inclusions (which show as small black dots under magnification) are not visible by the naked eye.
Generally speaking, the clearer the diamond, the rarer and more valuable it will be. An IF (internally flawless) diamond will be more expensive than an SI (slightly included) grade diamond.
Diamonds are graded by looking at them under magnification of 10 and seeing the size of an inclusion. Many diamonds in the UK are sold as SI which is very good diamond, SI means that the diamond has a slight inclusion (imperfection) that can be seen under a magnification of 10.
Many rings that are sold on the high street are I grade diamonds and most people are very happy with their diamond. No two diamonds ever have exactly the same inclusions or other clarity characteristics. This inclusion 'fingerprint' enables the specific identification of individual diamonds.
I tend to liken the diamond to a pebble on the beach, both are totally natural and you get some pebbles that are rounded and smooth with few marks on them, and others which are not so smooth with black marks on them. Scientists have also been using inclusions to determine how diamonds are formed.
Inclusions can sometimes be removed from diamonds, providing they are close to the surface. However this does involve re-cutting the diamond which will reduce its overall carat weight. Blemishes such as surface scratches, however, can generally be removed by jewellers without affecting the stone's value.
Diamonds can also be enhanced which means that a laser would be used to remove any large inclusions and improve the clarity. This is a well known technique and it is important to emphasize the diamond remains a natural diamond with all the characteristics of a natural diamonds. It is obviously essential that the seller advises the buyer that the diamond has been enhanced.
This table shows the different clarities under a magnification of 10.
A Flawless diamond shows no blemishes or inclusions under 10 x magnification.
Internally Flawless (IF)
to reach this classification, a diamond must have no inclusions under 10 x magnifications but may have some minor blemishes like surface grain lines.
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2)
these diamonds contain extremely tiny inclusions that are difficult to see under 10 x magnification. Usually the inclusions appear like pinpoints or tiny cavities.
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2)
These Diamonds contain minor inclusions that can be observed under 10 x magnifications by experienced jewellers. An inexperienced eye would be very unlikely to spot them under this magnification. Normally VS Diamonds have small included crystals or small clouds.
Slightly Included (S11 and S12)
slightly included diamonds contain inclusions noticeable under 10 x magnification. Typically these inclusions are clouds, crystals, knots, cavities or feathers.
Included (I1, I2 and I3)
in this category, inclusions are obvious under 10 x magnification. The diamonds may contain large feathers or large included crystals. Usually this kind of inclusion affects transparency and brilliance.
The color grading of a diamond runs in an alphabetical scale with colors D, E, and F being colorless. These three grades show no hint of any color in the stone and as a result are the more expensive.
The next bracket of colors G, H, I and J are classed as near colorless. These diamonds look colorless to the naked eye with a faint hint of yellow color when examined under a microscope. As these diamonds are not classed as completely colorless they are less expensive than those graded D, E, and F and are a viable option for the smaller budget. When the diamond is set the diamonds G, H, I and J look colorless.
Diamonds graded with a color K-M are classed as faint yellow and have a slightly more noticeable yellow tint than the higher grades. The prices of this grade are lower but bear in mind the color is noticeably faint yellow.
The colors graded from N – Z have a very definite hint of yellow to them but are not classed as Fancy Yellow Diamonds.
The sparkle of a diamond is determined by the cut. The benefit of good cut is visible on careful examination without magnification. CUT refers to the proportions, symmetry and finish of a polished diamond. To get from the raw diamond to the cut gemstone requires the skilled hand of a master cutter. The better the CUT proportions, the better the diamond handles light to create sparkle. Therefore CUT is the single most important factor affecting a diamond's sparkle, brilliance and visual fire as illustrated with the following diagrams for a round brilliant-cut stone: A well-cut diamond reflects maximum light and so sparkles the best. Shallow-cut and deep-cut diamonds let the light escape at the sides or bottom.
Fancy colored diamonds are available and growing in popularity due to the unused and vivid colors available. Blue, champagne, pink and canary yellow diamonds. Although these diamonds are far from the colourless grades of D, E, F they are not much cheaper than those graded with colours G-J. These coloured stones can be used to produce fanastic, eyecatching jewellery perfect for someone that enjoys being a little different or who does not want a completely traditional ring.
Enjoy your diamond. Your diamond is totally unique, natural and belongs to you. Buying an item of diamond jewellery is a compromise, choosing the biggest diamond, the clearest diamond and the best colour diamond you can for the money have available.