How to Select a High Quality Diamond

Selection of Ritani diamonds

Congratulations, you’ve decided to propose!

Now, you’re faced with a series of complex decisions to start the journey to marry the love of your life, including, but not limited to: budget, selecting the right diamond, setting and band, and finally, planning the perfect proposal. Don’t worry though, we’re here to help you through the process of picking the best diamond you can buy. Our goal is to try to make this process a little easier for you by providing “Pro Tips” from our diamond expert, Josh Marion, who has nearly 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. Read on to find out how to buy a diamond that the love of your life will cherish forever.

Determining Your Budget

The first thing you’ll want to consider is your budget. It’s customary to spend 3 months’ salary, but there are no rules for how much you should spend on an engagement ring; we believe it’s more important to find a ring your sweetheart will adore — one that reflects her personal style and your commitment to each other. Once you’ve selected your budget, it’s time to move on to the bling.

Shape: The Personality of the Diamond

Diamond shape makes the biggest impact on the look of your engagement ring. Shape names typically describe the stone’s profile when viewed from above (round, pear and oval), while some are named for a historical legacy like asscher and marquise. Starting here can help develop the personality of the ring. The most popular shape is round, with fancy shapes like princess and radiant following closely.

Pro Tip: A fancy shaped diamond is a term for any gemstone that is not round. If your partner wants a fancy shaped diamond, then you should focus on the length-to-width ratio of the diamond in addition to its cut. For instance, if you are going for that classic emerald look, you need to make sure you have a length-to-width ratio that is greater than 1:4. A ratio less than 1:4 will make the emerald shaped diamond look stubby. If a cushion shaped stone is what you’re after, it should look more square to accent the faceted cuts of the stone. Above all else, seeing a real picture of a fancy shape diamond or viewing it in person before buying is a must. If you’re unsure, our Virtual Gemologists are happy to help you select the perfect fancy shaped diamond.

The 411 on the 4 C’s

When selecting the highest quality diamond, it is important to determine which attribute of the diamond is the most important to your partner and yourself. Since each diamond is unique, knowing which characteristics are the most important to you will be key in selecting your diamond. Do you want the biggest diamond within your budget, the most sparkle, or the most unique look?

Whatever the case may be, figuring out which aspect of the diamond is the most important to you will make the rest of the decision-making process easy. With that in mind, let’s start with the basics. The 4Cs: Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat.

Cut: How Much Your Diamond Will Sparkle

Regardless of diamond shape, the most important C is cut. The cut, above all else, will be what gives your diamond the sparkle and fire that boasts quality. Cut has the greatest impact on a diamond’s appearance and quality. For a round shaped diamond, always look for either a Very Good or Excellent / Ideal cut. Don’t skimp out on sparkle when it comes to selecting your high quality diamond.

Pro Tip: If you would like a round diamond, focus on excellent cut, excellent polish and excellent symmetry. This is what we call in the industry a “Triple X” and will sparkle more than any other type of diamond.

Carat: How Big Your Diamond Will Be

Carat is a measure of a diamond’s weight, and a rudimentary reflection of its size. Because carat is a record of a diamond’s weight – not its size – two diamonds of slightly different sizes may have the same carat weight.

Pro Tip: Why does size matter? Well, if your budget calls for any diamond that is greater than 1.25 carats, clarity is more important. If you plan to buy a diamond of less than 1.25 carats, color is more important. Why? Well, a possible visible inclusion (SI2) in a 1.25 carat diamond is much easier to see with the unaided eye than it would be with a smaller diamond. This is because the 1.25 (or greater) carat diamond’s table or “top view” is larger, and thus the diamond is exposed to more light. On a smaller stone, the color of the gem is more important, for no matter the size you can tell the difference between a D-colored and J-colored diamond.

Color: How White Your Diamond Will Be

Color actually refers to the lack of color on the grading scale. D, E and F grades are considered to be Colorless and are rarer and more valuable. G through J are considered “Near-Colorless,” with only some color (yellow tones) visible in certain light. It’s important to note here that Ritani only sells diamonds that are rated J through D.

Pro Tip: Are you getting a yellow gold engagement ring setting? If so, you can save money on your diamond by choosing a color in the I to K range, since the yellow hue of the diamond will blend nicely with the setting. A white gold or platinum engagement ring setting would contrast negatively with the lower color grade and may make the yellow tint more noticeable. If you want an engagement ring in platinum or white gold, you will want the diamond to be at least a G on the color scale.

Clarity: How Flawless Your Diamond Will Be

Clarity describes how many natural “inclusions,” or flaws, exist in a diamond, and whether they are visible to the unaided eye. Clarity grades range from Flawless (FL) to Included 3 (I3). A grade of Flawless means there are no imperfections within the diamond or on its surface, even when viewed under 10x magnification. On the other end of the spectrum, a grade of Included 3 means large flaws are obvious to the unaided eye. Ritani offers diamonds ranging from Inclusion grades of Flawless to Slightly Included 2 (SI2).

Pro Tip: A clarity grade of Very Slightly Included 1 (VS1) or higher looks free of inclusions to the unaided eye. However, any diamond with a clarity grade of Very Slightly Included 2 (VS2), Slightly Included 1 (SI1) or Slightly Included 2 (SI2) may appear clean to the eye depending on the kind of inclusion. So, if you are considering a diamond graded VS2, SI1 or SI2, be sure to view a real image or see it in store before purchasing. This will allow you to make sure any inclusions are not overly obvious.

Top Tips for Selecting a High Quality Diamond

  1. Cut gives your diamond the sparkle and fire.
  2. For round shaped diamonds, focus on the “Triple X”: Excellent Cut, Excellent Polish, Excellent Symmetry.
  3. For fancy shaped diamonds, focus on the length-to-width ratio of the diamond.
  4. If the diamond is greater than 1.25 carats, clarity is more important.
  5. If the diamond is less than 1.25 carats, color is more important.
  6. When purchasing yellow gold metal for your ring, save money by choosing a diamond color in the I to K range.
  7. For a platinum or white gold ring setting, the diamond should be at least a G on the color scale.

Now, go forth and search our diamonds!