Choose Your Solitaire
We know what you are thinking. Here we go again with the 4 C's of Cut, Clarity Blah Blah Blah. But hang on a second because this article is SO much more than just the basic fundas we already know- we have got the dope on prices, trust factor and what really each of these means.
As we all know there is this one thing that has this magical power of being able to make a woman weak in her knees and a man go down on his! Yes, diamonds are sure a girl's best friend irrespective of their size (although the bigger, the better :p) and when it comes to an engagement ring it should be perfect - after all, it's that one piece of jewellery that she's probably gonna wear forever!
But what to do, money doesn't grow on trees, and diamonds don't come cheap. So how do you decide on which one to give? WMG recommends that you do a little bit of research before you step into that store, so that you know your princess cut apart from an emerald cut! No, we don't expect you to know that before hand, and yes, in all probability, your girlfriend has already dropped some subtle hint about what kind she wants if she sees question being popped in the near future! Just rewind and remember all the 'OMG, that's so pretty' and 'I'd love something like that'!
So first, THE 4C's
Yes, Carat and Cut we all know, but the other two? Colour and Clarity. All these are important things that decide how cheap or expensive the diamond should be. Make one of these factors weak, and the price of the diamond comes down. Now nothing much can be done about the clarity and colour as they are more or less constant. You can work around the cut as well as the carat and get something that suits your pocket!
So how does it work? Well, first off, let us start with Cut.
What are the various cuts of diamonds a girl can be proposed to with?
Here are the cuts or shapes that a diamond can be carved into... there are a total of 10 of them... Apart from round, these are the others...
Some cuts apart from round. We love the Asscher!
Which cut is the most expensive?
Now as far as cut is concerned, the round cut is the most expensive. There can be a lot of price difference in the other cuts as well, but it is the round brilliant is the one that is most precious. Choosing a diamond of the same clarity and carat but in a different shape than round can save you as much as 25%! And which one is the cheapest cut? Let's tell you that in order!
Wow. So which cut is the cheapest?
In terms of price- this is how the price comparison is like starting from most expensive to lease expensive:
Round > Marquise > Heart > Pear > Oval > Princess > Cushion > Asscher > Radiant > Emerald
So if you are on a budget- get an Emerald or Asscher cut which would be cheaper for the same carat, cut and clarity as compared to a round.
How much does a 1 carat diamond cost?
Now coming to carat.. When you want an engagement ring, and you talk about one that is 1 carat, it could be anywhere in the range of say about Rs 80,000 to as much as Rs 5 lakh... depending on the cut, clarity and colour, and of course, in India, who's selling it! A carat has 100 cents in it, and most of the daily-wear diamond rings you see with the little stones in it have diamonds weighing in certain cents.
Okay so thats a big range. Lets say my budget is 1 -1.5 Lakh INR for my engagement ring. What kind of size can I afford?
So this is a common question and there are a few options you could take. You could either take a 1 carat diamond that ddoesn'thave the best color or clarity . We are talking maybe J color with a SI clarity (read on to know what this means) - which would mean a diamond that doesn't shine as brightly and is not as white as others - which may be unnoticeable to the naked eye, but put it next to a good quality diamond and it will literally look like a cheap stone. Alternatively, you could go for an exceptionally high quality 0.60 or 0.70 cent diamond which sprakles like crazy but get an engagement ring setting which makes it look bigger (post on that coming soon). We say, find a middle path of size and quality- a big stone of terrible quality with no sparkle can end up looking very tacky.
Size does matter to me, but the 1 carat I can afford is very poor quality. What to do ?
Here is the thing. People don't realise that if you reduce the size just by a smidgen like instead of a 1 carat diamond , if you take a 0.90 cent diamond - cost reduces SIGNIFICANTLY and the size doesn't seem so different to the naked eye. So while your diamond would look like a 1 carat diamond, it would be much cheaper or it would be much better quality for the same price. So knock off 10 cents without really affecting the appearance so much.
Also, do understand that a 1 carat stone can look huge on delicate hands, but puny on thicker hands. So if you are delicately limbed then congratulations- you can go down in the size department.
Size wise, in centimetres, how big are we talking when we say 1 carat , 2 carat etc?
The sizes above are the ACTUAL sizes of each carat, What you see in the picture is how big each stone in reality is.
Does it make sense to buy solitaires from high end jewellers? What is the price difference like?
WMG spoke to Mayank Satsangi, an Indian Diamond Polisher, who claimed that a diamond that the price at which a diamond is sourced by a small-time jeweller might be half of what he's selling it at... and big jewellery stores jack up the price by as much as 4 times when they sell the same diamond! And we don't mean the price of the entire ring... we mean only the price of the diamond!
How does the price increase as you increase the diamond size?
Another thing to keep in mind is that the price of the diamond goes up exponentially as the carats increase. It doesn't mean that if a 1 carat diamond costs 1 lakh rupees, then a two carat one will cost 2 lakhs.... it will be about 5 lakhs!!
What sort of a color should I look for in an engagement ring? What is the norm in India
Now D-F is the most expensive category, and as you keep moving towards Z the price keeps reducing, as the diamond isn't as clear. As far as India is concerned, we are told by diamond polishers that as you go towards the south, the clarity and colour of the diamond sold becomes better and better, depending upon the average demand by the people. The usual trend is that the K L M N shades are most common in Delhi, and as you move towards Chennai, most jewellers stock D E F shade diamonds, which are better quality. So make sure you ask your jeweller what's the colour category of the diamond that you're paying for!
What about colored diamonds like Pink and Blue?
Now you might think that a transparent or a white diamond is the best and the most expensive... but you're wrong! A pink diamond is more expensive than a transparent one and a blue one is even rarer! So, if a 1 carat colourless diamond costs Rs 1 lakh, the same cut and clarity diamond that's pink in colour will cost about 5 times.. which is Rs 5 lakh... and a blue one? Well, the same one in blue will cost a whopping Rs 20 lakh, which is 20 times!
Pink and blue are the only colours more expensive than a colourless diamond as they are rarer in nature. But brown and yellow diamonds are way more abundant, which means that they are cheaper in comparision to all of them. As far as colourless diamonds go, they too have different shades that determine how clear the diamond is... this is the chart...
Now coming to clarity , which is one of the most important factors. Clarity is the transparency of a diamond, and the more flaws a jeweler sees in it, then the lesser the price of the diamond. Note that clarity is one thing in a diamond that cannot be altered, either a diamond has flaws or not. Here is the chart that depicts the clarity categories of diamonds...
What is the level of Clarity I should look for in an engagement ring?
Again, FL (flawless) IF (internally flawless) is the most expensive and as you go towards the end, the price keeps coming down. In India, the trend is that in Delhi S1 clarity is what is sold the most, and in Chennai, you have IF to VVS that's preferred.
Should a diamond be certified? How important is that?
One thing that you have to keep in mind is the certification while buying a diamond... make sure just like it's best to buy hallmarked gold, the diamond that you're paying for should also be certfied by a proper agency. The two agencies are - GIA (which is the international agency) and then there is the Indian agency. Certification ensures resale value, and you can always trade up your solitaire much more easily if it is ceritified.
My jeweller says my stone is expensive because its certified? Is this true?
Not really. The price of a diamond will depend most on Clarity and Cut followed by of course Carat and Color. You can get an Indian certification by sending your diamond to the Indian Agency and paying approx 5000 Rs to apply for certification. Ofcourse GIA certified diamonds would inherently be good quality which is why they are expensive but its not that certification itself increases the price.