Tuesday, 4 August 2015

How to Buy a Diamond Ring – Diamond Buying Guide

Buying a diamond can be a very long and intimidating process. For most, this will be one of your biggest purchases you will make in your lifetime. In this guide, I will teach you how to select your first diamond ring.

There are many factors when buying a diamond. We can start with preference on the basic 4Cs – Cut, Carat, Color and Clarity. In this guide, I will be mainly focusing on the Cut.
Cut is the most important of all the basic 4Cs. It determines the brilliance of the diamond.  Hence, there is no point in getting a high Color and Clarity grade diamond but poorly cut, as the diamond Light Return, Fire & Scintillation will be compromised.

So how do you analyze the Cut of the diamond? You can follow these easy steps:

Step 1 – Check the diamond’s proportions

Every vendor will have their own set of “Ideal proportions”.
While some may be of tighter criteria, most are not. An easy way to analyze the proportions is by using the HCA Tool. It’s a pretty straightforward where you can key in the parameters listed on the certificate into the calculator and it will give your diamond a score. 

We recommend a diamond to have a score of 0.4 - 1.4.
The HCA tool is fantastic for eliminating poorly cut diamonds but it should not be used as a selection tool. There are several limitations and it only takes into account 17 out of  the 57 facets on a diamond. A poorly cut diamond will still be able to achieve a fantastic HCA score.
An analogy to the HCA tool is similar to food poison checker. It is only able to identify poisonous food (poorly cut diamonds), but it’s unable to tell you how delicious the food is (well cut diamonds). Hence, we only recommend this tool to be used as an initial filtration method.

Note: The HCA tool can only be used on traditional cut 57/58 faceted round diamonds. For other cuts, you will need to follow step 2 – 4.

Step 2 – Check the light performance with the Ideal Scope

The Ideal Scope can be used to analyze the light performance by measuring how much light is returning or leaking out.

Step 3 – Check the light performance with the ASET Scope
The ASET (Angular Spectrum Evaluation Tool) Scope works similarly to the Ideal Cut, but its more of an advance version, where it breaks down the light return of the diamond into ‘strong light return’ and ‘weak light return’. It can be used to analyze a diamond’s Brightness & Contrast, Scintillation and Patterned Scintillation.

Brightness & Contrast


Patterned Scintillation

Step 4 – Check the symmetry with the Hearts & Arrows Scope
The Hearts & Arrows scope is to analyze the symmetry of the diamond.

- 8 equal uniformed symmetrical hearts.
- 8 distinct symmetrical Hearts that separate from the Arrowheads above. If above is correct check the following.
- Check if the hearts are split, measure length of heart then the length of the split.
- Calculate the % of the length split, if it is greater than 8% and there are more than 2 of them, it fails.

- Each arrow (8) must be clearly visible with a shaft and a arrow head.
- The 8 arrows shafts as well as heads have to be straight and in the right position.
- The 8 arrow points must meet the girdle.
- There must be total uniformity and balance.

Once you have found a diamond that manages to pass these 4 steps, congratulations! You have found yourself a truly brilliant diamond.  The next step will be choosing a ring design in your style to complement your extraordinary diamond.