choosing a diamond for your jewelry - closeup of 4c's of diamonds

Choosing a Diamond for Your Heirloom Jewelry: The 4C’s

For centuries, diamonds have been a symbol of love, commitment, and luxury. As a custom jewelry designer, I know that selecting the right diamond to fit your style and needs can be intimidating. With so many options, it’s vital to be informed before purchasing such an important piece. In this article, I’m going to dive into a few of the factors that you should put into consideration when choosing a diamond for your heirloom jewelry. Whether you are looking to design a custom engagement ring in Edmonton or you have something else in mind, I am going to break down: the 4Cs of diamond grading, which of the characteristics is most important when choosing a diamond, and my thoughts on lab-grown diamonds versus natural diamonds in 2023. I hope you’ll find this helpful in your search!

In case we haven’t met yet, allow me to quickly introduce myself. I’m Sonja, the fine art jewelry designer behind Sonja Deklerk. You can learn more about my work with diamonds here. Or, if you are looking for a custom jewelry designer you can learn more about my process here. If you would like to work together (or find out more!), please inquire here. I would love to connect with you within 1-2 business days.

different diamond cuts and styles for jewelry

Breaking Down the 4C’s of Diamond Grading

As you start your diamond search, you likely have at least one of the 4C’s on your mind: cut, clarity, color, or carats. While the names give their characteristics away, I want to break down further what they mean here. I will also share what you should consider when choosing a diamond for your heirloom jewelry.

Cut: Of the 4C’s, cut is the most important to consider. In the GIA Diamond Cut Grading System, the cut of an individual diamond ranges from excellent to poor. If your diamond has an excellent cut, it will catch the light and sparkle like no other gem. While there are certainly no “bad” diamonds, a diamond with a poor cut won’t disperse the light. That may lessen the sparkle, and because of the weight ratio associated with a poor cut, it may actually appear smaller than its carat weight would have you believe.

Clarity: Clarity refers to the absence of any inclusions or blemishes in your stone. Although there are eleven grades of clarity, most diamonds fall under “very slightly included” or “slightly included” which means that inclusions are minor or are only noticeable to a skilled grader under 10x magnification.

Color: The more colorless your diamond is, the higher it will grade under the color element of the GIA Diamond Color Grading System. A truly colorless diamond is rare, but any diamond can fall on the spectrum between D-Z.

Carats: This is likely the one you’ve been thinking about the most, am I right? One carat is roughly equal to 0.2 grams and is essentially the “weight” of the diamond. Precision is key when considering carats. Diamond carats are measured down to the one-hundredth of a carat. Most of the diamonds used in fine jewelry pieces are one carat or less.

Choosing the Right Diamond For You

While the 4Cs of diamond grading can get quite technical, I want to reassure you that your custom jewelry designer will likely want to educate you and assist you in choosing the perfect diamond for you. I work so closely with my bespoke design clients, and the education piece behind what I do is a huge part of the design process.

Now, for the sake of this article about choosing a diamond for your heirloom jewelry, I want to circle back to cut for a second. Cut and shape are often used interchangeably. Today, I want to gently encourage you to consider your lifestyle when choosing the right shape for you.

I’d love to give you an example. Some cuts, like the marquise cut, are more prone to chipping and breakage, making them less desirable for those with an active daily routine. With that in mind, if your heart yearns for a marquise stone, don’t fight it. When designing with a marquise stone, I always ensure it’s set in a design that protects it as much as possible to minimize potential damage. Making an informed choice on the best diamond cut for you is important, but remember, much like love, the perfect stone is ultimately about the feeling it invokes. Sometimes the diamond chooses you!

As for my personal preference, I’m always drawn to an emerald cut when it comes to diamonds. The cut itself emits both a regal and elegant nature, paired with a mirrored effect that’s mesmerizing.

Lab Grown Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds

Last but not least, I want to quickly address the difference between lab grown diamonds and natural diamonds in your search for choosing a diamond for your heirloom jewelry.

Lab-grown diamonds have become increasingly popular in the market of diamond jewelry. They are created using High-Pressure High-Temperature (HPHT) or Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) methods and result in a chemically, physically, and optically identical product as earth mined diamonds.

Lab-grown diamonds have a lower retail cost which can be advantageous for your budget. In fact, they often are 50% less than a traditional diamond. With that in mind, they take an incredible amount of energy to produce. I always encourage people to ensure their diamond is grown using renewable energy sources (like solar or hydro power).

The emergence of lab-grown options also provides consumers with more transparency regarding ethical and sustainable sourcing and production practices. In my opinion, this is definitely needed in the jewelry industry.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide what materials best match your values, aesthetics, budget, and lifestyle. I personally work with both, and you can find more details about diamonds here.

choosing a diamond for your jewelry - closeup of 4c's of diamonds

Choosing a Diamond is Personal

At the end of the day, as a fine jewelry designer and lover of all things beautiful, I think the most important thing is that you love your piece. There are so many beautiful diamonds out there. It would be my honor to help you find your perfect match. To work together to design your custom diamond jewelry (or have another stone in mind), inquire here. If you would like a little more information about the process of designing custom jewelry, head here next. Or, come say hello over on Instagram.

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