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Diamonds Buying Guide

When investing in diamonds you want to make sure that you’re getting excellent quality, and here at H.Samuel, you can trust us with your diamond purchases. All of our diamonds are reasonably sourced and we are a member of the RJC (Responsible Jewellery Council) and strictly adhere to The Kimberley Process.

The Kimberley Process is there to certify the legitimate origin of uncut diamonds and we actively support this system in order to safeguard our products’ integrity. All the diamonds we buy are warranted to be sourced from KPCS compliant countries and we require all of our trade suppliers to provide us with a warranty that they do not supply us with conflict diamonds. Find out more about the sourcing of diamonds here.

H.Samuel offer excellent quality diamonds with great sustainability and whether you’re looking for a new ring, earrings or necklace you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together this handy buying guide to make sure you have all the information you need before going ahead with your sparkling purchase.

How diamonds are formed

Diamonds are a timeless choice and are sure to add sparkle to your jewellery. They are one of the most admired stones and have been sought after for thousands of years. The word diamond originates from a Greek word which means unconquerable and, with the right care, your diamond could very well last you a lifetime.

Diamonds are often given as a symbol of love, which is why they’re a highly popular choice for engagement and wedding rings. If you invest in a diamond, you know you’re going to get a stone you will love for years to come and that will always have worth.

Diamonds are forever (formation and durability)

Diamonds are formed 100 miles or so below the surface of the earth where there’s a lot of pressure and high temperatures. It’s this high pressure and temperature that is what is needed to form diamond crystals.

We all know the saying ‘diamonds are forever’, and it really is true. The durability of a diamond is second to none and, as long as they get the right care, they really will last forever. The durability of a diamond refers to its ability to withstand wear, heat and chemicals, consisting of three main properties; hardness, toughness and stability.

The shape of a diamond

The shape of your diamond is what will steal attention as this is the focal point of your jewellery piece. There are a range of diamond shapes to choose from and it’s down to personal preference which you go for. Each diamond shape is cut to different specifications meaning they will each reflect light differently and all have their own brilliance.

Each person will have a preferred shape, so if you’re buying the diamond as a gift for someone we’d recommend finding out what kind of style they like first.

The most popular diamond shapes that we have at H.Samuel include:

The 4 Cs

man cutting diamond

What are the 4 Cs?

Diamonds are often the most significant gemstone you'll ever purchase, usually forming an engagement ring, wedding ring, anniversary gift, or other symbolic pieces of jewellery. The process of buying a diamond can often be a daunting one, as such a wealth of information on this most precious of gemstones can lead to a lot of confusion.

However, it is unlikely that you will ever research a diamond and not come across the term 'The 4 Cs' which refers to what has been agreed as the four key factors that determine the value and quality of a diamond. Below, we have outlined the 4 C's (cut, colour, clarity and carat) in what we hope is the simplest, yet fully informative way possible, to help you with your diamond buying journey.

The cut

A diamonds cut refers to its proportions and finish, influencing the value of a diamond. A skilled professional will work on a diamond stone to give it its cut, transforming it from its natural form, and cutting it into a finished shape that is more familiar. The cut should not be confused with shape as discussed above, which refers to the shape of the finished diamond, such as princess or baguette.

The cut of the diamond can affect the way the light catches the stone, effecting the way it sparkles. The way a diamond is cut affects three important diamond-attributes:

  • Brilliance – the total light reflected from a diamond
  • Fire – the dispersion of light into the colours of the spectrum
  • Scintillation – the flashes of light, or sparkle, when a diamond is moved.

A perfectly cut diamond will allow rays of light from all sides to bend towards the centre of the stone, and be reflected back through the top of the stone in a burst of rainbow coloured light. Diamonds with a poorer cut will allow light to 'leak' or 'escape' through the base or sides of the stone.

The quality and grade given to the cut of the diamond can be measured by the following attributes:

  • Proportion – This refers to the relationship between the table size, crown angel and pavilion depth. This affects how the stone interacts with light (making it sparkle), and there are many proportion combinations available.
  • Symmetry – This refers to the precision of the shape and the placement of the facets, and again affects the stone's relationship with light
  • Polish – This refers to the overall condition of a gem's facet surface, and is the finishing touch put on a newly cut and crafted diamond

The colour

The colour of a diamond is considered one of the key factors in determining the value of the stone. A traditional diamond is considered to be a 'white' stone, although they can actually be found in many colours, such as pink and yellow.

The most desired and precious traditional 'white' diamond should be as colourless as possible. The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) defined and developed a very precise scale of colour grading, and use this to grade diamonds by comparing them to a master stone.

The GIA colour grading scale is the industry standard. The scale runs alphabetically from D to Z+, with D being the highest, best grade possible given to diamonds that are the rarest and most desirable. This is the grade that is classed as colourless. The full scale runs as below:

D-F: colourless

G-J: near colourless

K-M: faint yellow

N-R: very light yellow

S-Z: light yellow

Z+: fancy yellow – a diamond with a distinct colour such as green, pink, blue, purple, yellow, brown, black or red

Z+: Z+ indicates that this type of diamond is what we call a coloured diamond, and so should have a vivid hue of the colour in question

Completely colourless diamonds are exceptionally rare. High quality commercial diamonds are most likely to fall within the G-J grading of 'near colourless'.

The clarity

All diamonds are beautiful, but they all have minute imperfections. This is what makes every individual diamond stone as unique as a fingerprint. However, like colour, the level of imperfections in each diamond can differ hugely, and so clarity refers to the level of flawlessness the diamond has. Imperfections are classed as inclusions (internal flaws), which can make the diamond look cloudy, and blemishes (external marks) such as scratches.

The fewer imperfections a diamond has, the more flawless it is, meaning the diamond is considered to be rarer and more valuable.

The GIA clarity grading scale runs as below:

FL: flawless

IF: internally flawless

VVS1-2: very, very small inclusions

VS1-2: very small inclusions

SI1-2: small inclusions

I 1-3: inclusions may be visible to the naked eye

The IGI scale combines grades FL & IF, grouping them together as the very best clarity available.

The carat

The term 'carat' refers to the weight of a diamond, and not the size. One carat of diamond weighs 200 milligrams or 1/5th of a gram. One carat of diamond can be divided as 100 points of diamond. As such, this can then be divided down, so that 50 points of diamond refers to half a carat of diamond and 25 points refers to a quarter of a carat of diamond, and so on.

Many people consider the carat to be the main factor that determines the value of a diamond, as in many instances the bigger the diamond, the more you'd expect to pay. However, this is not the sole factor in determining a diamond's value, and should not be the only factor taken into account, as the other C's can have a big impact.

Two diamonds of the same carat may differ dramatically in value, if their colour and clarity are extremely different. So it is important to remember to check the other factors alongside the carat, and not just assume that the higher the carat weight, the higher the value of the diamond, as this is not always the case.

Diamond rings

Diamonds are a hugely popular choice in rings, especially engagement and wedding rings. It was way back in 1477 when Archduke Maximillian of Austria commissioned the first diamond engagement ring to his fiance which sparked a trend for diamond rings.

However, they became increasingly popular around 1947 when De Beers, a British company, launched an advertising campaign with the slogan that we all know and love today, ‘A diamond is forever’. From here the popularity of diamond rings shot up.

Diamond ring setting types

A ring setting refers to the ring that you choose to have the diamond set into. The setting can really impact the overall look, minimising or maximising the look of the diamond, and it can also affect how much it is worth. There’s a range of different ring settings you can choose from, we’ve outlined the most popular below.

  • Prong – one of the most popular types of settings that includes claws to hold the diamond in place. Usually containing four or six prongs, they can be flat, round, pointed or V-shaped
  • Bezel – the diamond within this setting will have its sides exposed and have a floating appearance
  • Tension – a minimalistic setting where the diamonds has a ‘floating in mid-air’ appearance within the band of the ring
  • Three-stone – this setting incorporates three stones that are placed next to each other. The centre stone tends to be larger than the other two and each of them are meant to represent the past, the present and the future
  • Halo – the halo setting has a centre diamond within a collection of round pavé diamonds
  • Cluster – this setting involves several diamonds that are set closely together in a cluster formation. Typically there will be a larger diamond in the centre, with smaller diamonds surrounding it

How much does a diamond ring cost?

The cost of diamond rings vary depending on a number of factors. Typically, the more you pay for a diamond ring means you’re paying for a higher quality diamond. Here at H.Samuel our range of diamond rings typically range from around £100 at the lowest, to £12,000 at the most expensive.

As you go higher up the price scale, the clarity and carat of the diamond will be higher so we’d recommend deciding on what you want from your diamond and setting your budget from there.

Shop the occasion

If you are on a budget or price conscious, H.Samuel have a wide range of options that will easily fit into your price limit. Perhaps you’re looking for a diamond ring for a special occasion such as a birthday, anniversary or Christmas, or you may be looking to pop the big question sometime soon. Whether it’s a diamond ring or diamond engagement ring you’re looking for – browse the range here.

Diamond earrings

The cost of diamond earrings will vary depending on the style and the diamonds you go for. Here at H.Samuel the cost of our diamond earrings typically range from around £40 at the lowest, to £2000 at the highest.#

As mentioned previously, the higher the clarity of carat of the diamond, the higher the price will be.

What size diamond earrings should I buy?

The size of the diamond earrings you go for is ultimately down to personal preference. However, we would recommend a smaller size for everyday wear, with a slightly bigger size for an occasion when you want them to stand out more. You should also consider your budget here as the bigger the diamond you go for, the higher price you will pay.

An important thing to note when buying diamond earrings is that the carat size is based on both diamonds together. For example, 1-carat diamonds, will be two 0.5 carat earrings. The carat weight can also vary by the diamond’s size depending on its cut quality.

How to clean diamond earrings

Making sure you frequently clean your diamond earrings will leave them sparkling and shining for longer. Follow the below tips to get the very best out of your diamonds:

  1. Place the diamond earrings in warm, soapy water (use a mild detergent to avoid damaging the diamonds)
  2. Gently swill the earrings in the soapy water to remove any dirt and build-up of oils
  3. For stubborn dirt, use a soft toothbrush to work the soap into the affected areas
  4. Rinse in clean water to remove any soapy residue
  5. Dab dry with a lint-free cloth

Diamond necklaces

Years ago, diamond necklaces were strictly reserved for the high society and royalty. Throughout history, diamonds were highly valued but diamond necklaces weren’t so popular until Napoleon Bonaparte gave his empress a diamond necklace to celebrate the birth of their son. There are also many other famous diamond necklaces throughout history as they have always been considered a sought after treasure.

Diamond necklace types

Diamond necklaces can come in a variety of styles that are ultimately down to personal preference. Here at H.Samuel, we have a number of styles to choose from including pendants, lockets and different shapes such as crosses, hearts and flowers. Each necklace style will have a different number and quality of diamonds, so we would recommend deciding on what you want from your necklace and go from there.

How much does a diamond necklace cost?

The cost of diamond necklaces can vary depending on a number of factors including the style, the cut and carat of diamond you go for. Here at H.Samuel our range of diamond necklaces typically range from around £30 at the lowest, to £1,850 at the most expensive.

Typically, paying more for your necklace means paying for a higher quality diamond.

Continue the journey

Diamond aftercare

Taking care of your diamonds once you’ve purchased them is highly important to ensure they last you a lifetime and to keep them sparkling.

The most important thing to note is not to use harmful solutions, simply soak your diamond in water and mild dish soap, once or twice a week. Once your diamond has finished soaking you should use a soft, clean toothbrush to brush away any of the dirt that is remaining. Toothbrushes are great for getting in places that you can’t necessarily reach, such as the back which naturally collects the most dirt, but be sure to brush gently and avoid scrubbing. Finally, rinse your diamond with warm water and dry clean with a soft cloth.

Buy diamonds on finance

We know diamonds can come with quite a heavy cost but luckily for you, here at H.Samuel, we offer interest-free credit options for up to 3 years so you don’t have to fork out all of the cost in one go.

Please note this is subject to credit status.

Shop diamonds online or in-store

If you’re ready to make your purchase then you can do so online with H.Samuel. Alternatively, if you’d like to see the diamonds in person then you can always pop into your local H.Samuel store. Here you can also book an appointment with us where one of our friendly advisors will offer any advice or answer any questions you may have.