When it comes time to choose the diamond that will go in your ring, there is a lot to consider. Is size most important? Or, would you rather have a smaller diamond that is truly blinding? There is nothing wrong with either option, but sometimes this is one of the tradeoffs that you'll have to consider when it comes time to make a decision and determine your budget.
When people come in and tell us that they want a diamond that is blinding, one that you can see from across the room, the first thing we tell them is to look at diamonds that are well cut. The way a diamond is cut has the single greatest impact on its brilliance and sparkle. If you want the most beautiful diamond in the room, diamond cut is the most important factor out of the Four Cs that you should pay attention to.
How do you know if a diamond is cut well?
Most diamonds are graded by independent diamond labs, like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Once diamonds are sent to these labs, gemologists can objectively grade diamonds on factors such as clarity and color by comparing them against a master set.
Once a diamond is graded, it receives a full report with the different grades and other comments that will help a diamond seller put a price value on the diamond. By making the process as objective as possible, diamonds can easily be compared against one another.
Some labs also evaluate diamond cut and will give diamonds a cut grade. However, this is a recent change. The cut standards are based on the measurements of the diamond and are broad standards relative to the precision of the color and clarity grade. Diamonds that are cut to maximize light return (aka sparkle) will receive an excellent or very good cut grade, while diamonds with less desirable proportions will receive a good or poor grade. Here's a visual of GIA's scale for diamond cut:
To truly evaluate cut grade, we recommend you see multiple diamonds side-by-side in person and get guidance from an expert gemologist to better understand the differences and see the difference in sparkle for yourself. The cut grade on a certificate can point you in the right direction but there is so much more to the sparkle than a letter grade written on a piece of paper.
Why you may want to consider a smaller diamond that is cut well
A lot of people think that the best way to get more for your money when it comes to diamonds is to get a shallow cut diamond so that it takes up more surface area and will look as big as possible. That's fine...if you want a dull diamond.
A diamond that is cut well will reflect light back to your eyes in a way that makes it a beautiful stone. A beautifully cut diamond will reflect light back out of the top of the diamond. If a diamond is cut too shallow, light will leak out of the bottom or if it's cut too deep, light will escape out of the sides of the stone. Both of these poor cuts will produce a much duller diamond that will not be as beautiful as a well cut diamond.
Here's a diagram to illustrate this point:
When deciding on size vs sparkle factor, you'll want to decide if you want a larger-looking stone that may be relatively dull, one that is actually larger but still cut well (higher value), or if you'll want a smaller carat diamond that is truly brilliant.
We always recommend searching for a diamond with a higher cut grade within your budget. This will help create that "wow" factor when people look at your ring. You'll be able to see it sparkling from all the way across the room! We don't see much value in paying for a diamond if cannot get the most beautiful stone possible within your budget.
Understanding some of the tradeoffs associated with buying diamonds is how you can get exactly what you want in a ring. Take a look at some of our suggestions for getting a ring that will make you happy for a lifetime.