Finding the sweet spot in the four ‘C’s

A smart shopper’s guide to getting the best diamond for your budget

Finding the perfect engagement ring is a daunting task. Getting up to speed with the 4Cs and then deciphering the different qualities of different diamonds relative to their price can be very confusing. Added to this is the pressure of deciphering the shape of the diamond your partner desires, in addition to their preferred ring shape and style.

Of course, there is no single ‘perfect’ diamond, as we all have different preferences of shape, size, colour, and clarity. Some people would prefer paying an absolute premium for a flawless grade stone and would trade the size of the stone for this level of clarity. Others may prefer size above all else and are willing to accept a more included or lower colour diamond as a trade-off.

This article aims to help customers looking to find the largest round brilliant diamond for their budget without compromising too much on quality. If this is you, read on for enlightenment!

First, the mandatories: any diamond you purchase must be certified, and it must be an ‘excellent’ cut.

A diamond grading certificate, ideally GIA, tells you what you are buying. Most modern GIA certificates match with an inscribed certificate number on the girdle of the diamond, giving you an extra layer of security and confidence.  Non-GIA certificates tend to be more generous in their appraisals, so be sure to factor this in when comparing your options (for example, a GIA ‘F’ colour could be graded a higher ‘E’ colour by other certifying laboratories).


Of all the qualities of a diamond, it is the cut that provides the life and brilliance of a diamond. A poorly cut diamond allows light to escape rather than reflect, meaning no sparkle!  A superior diamond in every other respect but cut poorly will not look as good as an inferior diamond that has been cut well.


Our next most important category is clarity.  In this respect, ‘eye clean’ is an important term for you to know.  As it sounds, ‘eye clean’ means the diamond has no inclusions or imperfections to the naked eye.  This quality of diamond usually sits in the ‘SI1’ (and sometimes in the SI2) range of GIA-graded diamonds. The cost difference of diamonds rated ‘Flawless’ versus ‘Slightly Included’ is vast, yet an eye clean stone will present as well as a flawless diamond unless paced under magnification.

Now a word of caution. Many online diamond sales sites offer diamonds at prices lower than what is sold instore. While online diamonds are often good value (we also have an online inventory here), many of the larger sites feature diamonds with strong fluorescence, which can affect the diamond’s brilliance. At most, we’d allow faint fluorescence, and only because these stones can be sold at a slight discount without affecting performance.


The most exquisite diamonds – those in the “D” colour grade – are technically colourless. While there is a large price difference between a D and an F diamond, the actual colour difference to the untrained eye is difficult to pick. A key consideration is the colour of the band in which the diamond is set. For premium colourless diamonds (those in the D, E, or F categories), white gold or platinum are the best choices. Yellow gold reflects colour and therefore a colourless diamond can lose some of that effect when set in yellow gold.”


Finally, carat weight considerations. The industry saying ‘buy shy’ means to avoid round numbers and go for slightly under or ‘odd’ numbers between key milestone weights to maximise your budget. So, instead of a 1ct, consider a .98ct, or instead of a 2ct, perhaps a 1.95ct.  The slight difference in size won’t be noticed but will provide a good saving.

Happy hunting, and for more information or no-obligation advice, feel free to call or email our expert staff on (03) 96869592, or at

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