It can be a little surreal when you first look into buying a diamond for a custom designed engagement ring for your partner – there are so many similar looking stones, and yet small – almost invisible differences – can change the price by thousands of dollars! However, a little research and understanding will help you to understand those differences, and appreciate just why one stone might cost more or less than another, seemingly similar, stone! Let us go through what you should be on the look-out for.

Cut and Shape

Diamonds are cut to offer fantastic shine and sparkle and they can also be cut into different shapes from a cute heart shape to a minimalistic rectangular emerald cut to the round brilliant design that was perfected in the 1920s to maximize the flood of light through and around the stone to emerge through the table or top of the stone – usually the part most visible when the stone is worn in a ring setting. The shape you choose will have an effect on the sparkle and shine your diamond throws out – emerald cut diamonds, usually wide but flat, do not scintillate in the same way a round brilliant cut diamond does, but this cut is sometimes chosen by those who prefer a more subtle gleam on their finger and the bulkier appearance of the flat broad stones.

Clarity and Color

The clarity of a diamond could more properly be referred to as the stone’s purity as it refers to the level of contaminants and flaws to be found in and on the stone. Inclusions are internal cracks, bubbles and flaws, while occlusions are external fractures and breaks. All-natural diamonds will have some issues with clarity, but a good cutter will remove many and shape the stone in such a way as to minimize the effects of those left in place. These flaws interrupt the flow of light through the stone, and if large enough will create dark patches in the diamond’s radiant halo that make it look asymmetrical and poorly cut.


The color of a good traditional diamond should be as close to completely colorless as possible. When it comes to ratings, A, B, and C are not included, as those letters are used elsewhere in the diamond rating process, so the best color is D. However, once a stone is set into a piece of jewelry you can opt for anything up to about H-color without seeing any visible difference or having any effect on the sparkle of your diamond. This is a good way to save a little money without it impacting on the appearance of the stone you have chosen.


Carats: The More the Better… Right?

While you might think that a five-carat stone will always be a better buy than a three-carat stone, this is not always the case. If the color of the stone is poor, if the cut is less than ideal and the clarity is not good, on the larger stone, you might find that the smaller stone – which has had more imperfection incised from it and therefore is a stronger and more attractive-looking stone – is considerably more expensive than the larger one. The more imperfections a stone is allowed to retain: the weaker it could be, shattering or chipping if bumped, and the less symmetrically it will sparkle. All of which just goes to show that bigger is not always better!

So now you know a little about what to look out for, you can browse here: and understand all the differences between the various stones that are waiting to find their home in your partner’s engagement ring!