Rocky's Road: Bespoke Commissions and the 4Cs

Back in 2014, alongside my 9 to 5, I started taking bespoke commissions from friends and family.  Thankfully, because I’ve always loved jewellery, they sought out my advice – and that’s how the business initially started. 

Our focus now is very much on the collections you see on this site, but we do still take bespoke commissions.   

If you are interested in creating your own piece…read further for a little diamond education.

I am not sure if you remember, or if it was even part of your school journey but I will never forget being on the floor at WH Smith (in a wild panic) with about 9 Bitesize books scattered around me – on maths, English, History.. French – you get the idea. These books were meant to be the holy grail of GCSE information and therefore vital for last minute revision, needless to say I thought they were my lifeline to learning enough to pass.  Turns out, just as your teachers tell you (and parents) only hard work pays off unless you’re someone like Will (Matt Damon) in Good Will Hunting (excellent film if you haven’t see it).

Once again I am sure you are asking yourself ‘where is she going with this one and annoying exams I did however many years ago’... Well. I have decided to write a ‘Bitesize’ guide on you guessed it, Diamonds. What makes them so precious and so sparkly, how to buy them, what to look out for and anything I else I can think of that would be helpful when it comes to investing in diamond jewellery. 

Buying diamond jewellery can be a completely overwhelming experience for a number of reasons, firstly – it’s expensive especially when you are buying an ‘investment’ piece of jewellery – it could be the most money you have spent on an object in your life.  Secondly, where to start when there are so many different choices and options.  The choice is totally overwhelming, there are a lot of people doing the ‘same’ thing but at wildly different price points.

So you may have heard about the all-important 4C’s of Diamonds.  
Here they are:

Colour
Clarity
Cut 
Carat 

Let’s break those down.

Colour.
Bitesize Information
A diamond’s appearance is significantly influenced by it’s colour which ranges from D (colourless) – basically the best to Z (light yellow) – not a colour you want to get busy with.  A diamond’s value is scored by how closely it approaches ‘colourless’, the less colour the higher the value.  A colourless diamond will exude flashes of light in a spectrum of hues (basically a rainbow). When there is colour in a diamond it inhibits it’s ability to reflect light.

A few further notes..
•    A sensible spectrum to consider is an F colour to an I colour. Yes of course, you can go wild and look at D colour and E colour but it’s about balancing the 4 C’s to find a diamond that works within your budget and one that you love the look of.  
•    What is important to note, when you compare stones (un-set) next to one another, you will be able to tell the colour difference – but when you select a stone and then design a setting, you appreciate the individual beauty of the diamond and aren’t so concerned about the stone colour above or below the option you have selected.

Clarity.
Bitesize Information
The Clarity scale contains 11 grades ranging from IF (internally flawless) to I3 (Included 3).
Inclusions are nature’s birthmarks, the characteristics that make each and every diamond unique.  The fewer the visible inclusions and blemishes a diamond has, the better the clarity and the more rare and valuable it is.  Clarity grades are based on the number, size, relief and positions of inclusions under x10 magnification.

A few further notes..
•    A sensible range to consider is VVS1 – SI1 (depending on where exactly the inclusions are on the stone).
•    The clarity grade does not affect the ‘sparkle’ of the ring unless it is very far down the clarity grade scale.  
•    You should take a loop (eye magnifier) and examine the stone for yourself to see if you can see the inclusions.  Your diamond dealer / jeweller can show you how to look at the stone properly.

Cut
Bitesize Information
Cut refers to the geometric proportions of the gem.  A diamond’s cut fuels it’s sparkle and brilliance, precise workmanship is required to cut a diamond so it’s proportions, symmetry and polish maximise its magnificence.  While high grades of colour and clarity contribute to a diamond’s appeal, it’s the cut that determines the symmetry of the stone’s facets, it’s over-all proportions, and it’s ability to reflect brilliance and light.  Of the 4C’s, cut is the most difficult to determin.

A few further notes..
•    You really need an expert to help you with this one, there are a lot of factors that determine whether a stone is well cut, if it isn’t it will be a less expensive (but for good reason). The proportions of the stone are so important in creating it’s overall ‘WOW’ factor.  If the stone is cut too deep or too shallow it won’s sparkle as it should.
•    Proportions are so important here.  There is a real art to cutting a stone to very precise measurements, to achieve a brilliant cut stone.

Carat
Bitesize Information
Carat weight is the measurement of how much a diamond weights.  Since 1913, the weight of diamonds and gemstones has been measured in carats.  1 carat is equal to 0.2 grams.  All else being equal, diamonds of a greater carat weight are exponentially more valuable than diamonds of lower carat weights.

So we are done with the 4C’s. 

There are a few more to things to think about (we are nearly done, I promise).

Shape
Bitesize information
All diamond shapes are very different, unique characteristics that determine quality for each shape.  Each shape specifically caters to an individual or personal taste, each one is also meticulously and mathematically cut to highlight a diamond’s best features.

A few further notes..
•    This really is such a personal decision, and you have to go with what you love.
•    Round cut stones are typically more expensive as there is more rough stone waisted when polishing.
•    Emerald Cuts and Asscher Cuts are less ‘sparkly’ as they have less facets cut into them.  These stones have more of a glass effect.
•    The most popular cuts are Round, Oval, Cushion and Pear.

Certification 
Bitesize information
A diamond certificate or diamond grading report, is a report created by a team of gemologists.  The diamond is evaluated, measured, and scrutinized using trained eyes, using a number of industry tools.  A completed certificate includes an analysis of the diamond’s dimensions, clarity, colour, polish, symmetry and other characteristics.  Many round diamonds will also include a cut grade report.

Ensuring your diamond is certified by one of the leading independent and recognised certification laboratories is essential for an unbiased assessment of the stone’s quality.

There are various grading labs, the most highly regarded is the GIA (Gemology Institute of America).

A few further notes..
•    It is so important that you invest in a stone with a certificate, this firstly tells you everything you need to know about the stone and therefore denotes it’s value.
•    We would typically only work with GIA stones as they are the most respected grading board.

If you got this far.. WELL DONE.  If you scrolled through and are now reading this last bit. Drop us a line and we will do the hard work with you.

Love,

Rocky x