buyers guide

Diamond Buyers Guide

‘Diamonds are a girls best friend’ or so the saying goes and it is easy to see why. These exquisite, sparkling gemstones date from 900 million years ago and feature in history throughout the ages. Virtually imperishable and totally beautiful, women are unanimous in their love for this beautiful stone.

It is said that diamonds have the power to protect from evil if worn on the left side and that may be one of the reasons why they are traditionally the gem of choice for engagement rings. They are also the gem of choice because of their sparkling beauty, because they are associated with love and affection and because they are the hardest substance known to man and so can be handed down in almost their original state through the generations. As the song says ‘Diamonds are forever’. Newly engaged brides to be, look forward to the purchase of their diamond engagement ring – unless that is, the bridegroom to be has bought it in advance of the proposal!!

Diamonds are produced in South Africa, Namibia, Tanzanania and Angola. Diamond cutting takes place in Antwerp, New York and Israel. It takes a diamond to cut a diamond as no other substance is hard enough! Diamonds once cut may have any of several different shapes – i.e. round, oval, emerald, square, baguette or triangle. The round cut reflects the maximum amount of light through the stone.

When shopping for diamonds – either in order to give a lifetimes pleasure with a stunning engagement ring or when purchasing that special piece of Jewellery which will enhance any outfit, the value of the diamond will be dependent on ‘The Four C’s’ – carat weight, colour, clarity and cut. Diamonds are considered the most romantic of presents, and a ‘must have’ for the lady wanting to sparkle in any outfit, day or night, who might want to treat herself to something wonderful. The diamond is associated with the 60th wedding anniversary in particular but really can be associated with any anniversary or special occasion.

There are some famous diamonds, such as the Koh-i-nor and the Star of Africa. Few people can aspire to diamonds of that size and beauty, but diamonds come in so many different sizes and settings that although very special, there is a diamond to fit most people’s budget.

Apart from the traditional diamond engagement ring, diamonds can be found in most kinds of Jewellery, such as earrings, pendants, bracelets and brooches. Beautiful just in a lovely setting on their own for simplicity and elegance or simply stunning when combined with other gems such as sapphires for sophistication and colour to offset your eyes or a beautiful dress.

At Glenrays we have the most beautiful and extensive range of Diamond Jewellery. Our engagement rings are legend and our huge choice of all types of exquisite diamond Jewellery guarantees that you or your loved one will fall in love all over again!


When choosing a diamond the standard in considering what diamond to choose and how much to spend is the 4 C’s.

The fours c’s are Carat. Colour, Carat and Cut.

To explain each in turn

The colour of a diamond can be slightly confusing. As many will know diamonds come in all sorts of colours be it blue, pink, black, red, yellow and many many others. As a matter of interest blue is one of the rarest and therefore one of the most expensive colours. However often when talking about colour what is really meant is how white a diamond is and how free from colour it is.

This is represented in various ways. The one many people are familiar with is the GIA scale. The best colour diamond as represented by the Gemological Institute of America is D. In other grading systems it may be Very fine White (Confederation Internationale de la Bijouterie, Joalerie, Orfevferie des diamants, perles, et pierres), Exceptional White (The International Diamond Council), River (an old term) and Blue-White (RAL 560 A5E). A diamond on the GIA colour scale over I/J will be a very attractive addition to any piece of jewellery. It should be said that the as with other parts of the 4’cs there is an element of expert judgment on the part of the grader, a skill which can not be worked out by a machine (to this authors knowledge!).

The Carat of a diamond relates to the weight and not the size of the diamond, although of course the two will invariably link up. Carat weight of a diamond has an interesting historical background. The term derives from the kernel of the carob, bean which is a seed that has a very consistant weight and was used as the weight for gemstones. Since 1907, Europe and the USA have taken the weight of a carat to be 200mg or 0.2g.It is fair to say that the carat weight is objective.

A one carat diamond is divided into 100 points, so a half carat diamond could also be described as a 50 point diamond.

When talking about carat weight and where the diamond weight is stated it means that the diamonds weight will not be less that that stated and unless certified does not guarantee that exact weight. When talking about a piece with more than one diamond it will tend to mean that the total diamond weight of the piece is the weight. Be aware that a single stone, all other things being equal of 1ct will be more valuable than a piece with two or more stones totally one carat because larger stones are of course rarer. Further more, because the bigger a diamond is the rarer it is a 1 carat diamond will not be double the price of a 50 point diamond, but will be more. To demonstrate (and purely for illustration – the prices are not close to accurate). If a half carat diamond costs £100 a one carat diamond of the same quality will not cost £200, but maybe £300 or more.

The clarity of a diamond is in common parlance the thing that excites the public – the idea of a flawless diamond. The individual holding up diamond looking expertly at in the movies and proclaiming it flawless is a popular movie cliché. What does clarity refer to.

Any inclusion in a diamond during the millions of years that it has taken to create a diamond is a flaw and in the jewellery world the clarity of a diamond is determined with the use of a 10x loupe (i.e. a magnifying glass which is 10x). An inclusion may be a carbon mark and air bubble or anything that takes from the purity of the diamond. Whilst it is very desirable to have a better and better diamond what matters is how visible the inclusion is and what it is. A black mark is of course more readily visible that a white mark and therefore less desirable, an inclusion to the side of a diamond is less desirable than an inclusion right in the middle.

Diamond clarity is again graded, but whatever the system the diamond grading is jewellery is through the use of a 10x loupe – inclusions under much higher magnification are irrelevant for the purposes of jewellery. A SI diamond in the GIA scale means that the diamond flaw is not visible to the naked eye, but readily visible when under a 10x loupe. Below that an inclusion may be viable to the naked eye, but even then is not necessarily something to worry about.

The final of the traditional ‘c’s ’ is cut and this again can lead to confusion. We all know about round diamonds, square diamonds and all manor of shape. When talking about the cut in this context it is the quality of the cut that is really being referred to. Mathematically the modern round brilliant diamond is the best and this was developed by amongst others Tolkowsky at the beginning of the 20th Century. A modern round brilliant diamond is the best in the sense and it will disperse the maximum light and gets the most from a diamond in terms of colour and sparkle! It is not to say to avoid non-round stones at all – the Square or princess cut diamond has become very popular in recent times and like the modern round brilliant the square diamond has an ideal in terms of proportions.

The final sometimes mentioned C is confidence. You should have confidence in your jeweller and we at Glenray jewellers have been serving the public since 1967 with our knowledgeable staff and look forward to serving you in one of our shops located in Letchworth or Hitchin or on our website;

Finally it should be said do not be daunted by the world of diamonds, whilst we would all like to own the best, when buying you are buying for your enjoyment and to wear and whether your budget is £100 or many £1000s Glenray Jewellers is bound to have a piece that you will fall in love.