How to Choose a Diamond

| 3 min read

Diamonds are the most desired gemstone in the Western world. However, this hasn’t always been the case.

Before Diamonds were discovered in South Africa in the late 1800s, Diamonds were so scarce they were generally the exclusive domain of royalty. It’s believed that all of the Diamonds discovered before then could fit into a suitcase!

So what do you need to consider when buying a Diamond?

When De Beers began marketing their new Diamond deposits, a brilliant strategy was put into place to bring Diamonds to the mass market. Part of this marketing strategy was introducing a stringent grading system, and marketing the ‘Four Cs’ to increase the apparent rarity of the gem.

So although I would say that it is important to bear in mind the Four Cs as a way of choosing one Diamond over another, you should always remember that Diamonds are Mother Nature’s treasures, what appeals to one person may not appeal to someone else. The most important thing is that you love it – nobody else’s opinion is as valid as yours.


This one is simple! Pick an affordable budget and stick to it. If you find the perfect gem but it’s over budget, consider a lower grade. (See Clarity versus Carats: Dispelling the Myth for more.)


Some Diamonds will have been enhanced in some way – coating, fracture filling, and irradiation are all examples of treatments used to improve a Diamond’s appearance. Here at Gemporia, we always disclose any treatments our Diamonds may have had. If you don’t know for certain, assume that your gem has been treated in some way.

Be on the lookout for the cheap synthetics and imitations that have infiltrated the market, which might not last as long as the real deal. Make sure your gemstone comes with a certificate so that you know exactly what you are buying.


Cut is without doubt, the most important quality factor in a Diamond. ‘Cut’ doesn’t just mean the overall shape of the gemstone, but also how well the cut has been carried out. The precision of the cut can have a massive effect on the amount of brilliance and fire you will see in the stone.


Diamonds are the only gemstone usually judged on their lack of colour. The grading system begins at D for colourless, all the way to Z, which is yellowish in tone.

GIA colour chart

If it is a strong yellow then it is a Fancy Coloured Diamond, in which case the more intense the colour, the higher its value. Fancy Colours include yellow, brown, red, blue, pink, green, purple, orange, black and grey (see How to Choose a Coloured Diamond for more.)


Diamonds are the only gemstone which is graded under magnification.

GIA clarity chart

To the unaided eye, the top few clarity grades will look identical to the naked eye, so an easy way to stretch your budget is to drop a few clarity grades (see What is the best Diamond grade? for a detailed cost analysis).

Carat Weight

Larger Diamonds are rarer than smaller Diamonds. It is said that only one in a million faceted Diamonds weighs more than a carat. As you might expect, usually a larger Diamond will be more expensive than a smaller one, however, this is not always the case. Sometimes a small stone with no visible imperfections will sell for more than a larger stone with poorer clarity.

It’s entirely up to you to decide whether you would prefer a smaller gem with better colour and clarity, or a larger gem with more imperfections. There is no right answer, but always remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Do You Love It?

I would always say that the most important factor when choosing any gemstone is gut feeling. If you love it, and it’s within budget then it’s the gemstone for you. Do your research to ensure you aren’t paying over the odds, and be sure you know exactly what you are getting.

Find your perfect Diamond here.

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