Preparing for a proposal
is made simple with our
Working with couples to create their dream engagement rings, wedding rings and bridal jewellery is a lovely experience and one that I’m grateful to be apart of. Ring education is an essential element which will help ease you and your partner through this beautiful time. From cut to clarity, colour to carat, diamonds to gemstones, using Matthew Ely’s insight as an award winning jeweller, we’ve created a simple and informative guide with everything you’ll need to help you find the perfect ring for your special moment.
The pieces of jewellery found throughout our collections and those designed on individual request have contributed to a reputation here at the boutique for stunning, luxury pieces that are as unique as the individuals who wear them. A fundamental aspect of finding your dream diamond engagement or wedding ring is deciding on your desired diamond shape. Listed below are some of the shapes available and their defining characteristics.
A diamond’s “cut” actually refers to its proportions, symmetry and polish, and not the shape of the diamond as many are often led to believe. Deciding on the quality of a cut is extremely difficult to analyse and quantify without the assistance of a trained professional. This makes a diamond’s cut a vital aspect when considering a stone’s final beauty and value. One of the most important things when determining a diamond’s cut is how effective its facets are at interacting with light. Fire (which refers to the rainbow spectrum caused by the dispersion of light radiating from a diamond) and scintillation (the flashes of light or “sparkle”) are two additional primary effects on a cut’s appearance. The GIA Diamond Cut Scale is the standard for determining the cut grade of a round diamond. Fancy shape diamonds are not given an overall cut grading, however GIA does provide a symmetry and polish grading for all diamond shapes.
Carat refers to the weight of a diamond; this is one of the major contributors to the price at which a diamond is sold. The term originates from the word “carob” seed, which was the original term, used by diamond merchants and is not to be confused with “karat” which refers to gold’s purity. A carat equates to 0.2 grams today, similar to the weight of a raindrop or paper clip. Diamonds of higher carat weights demand a higher price because they can be few and far between; however it’s important to keep in mind that carat size doesn’t necessarily reflect the physical size of the diamond and that two diamonds of the same carat weight can have different costs based on the quality of other characteristics such as cut, clarity and colour. Carats are usually divided into points, with 100 points equalling 1 carat. Diamond prices are often based off a price-per-carat system.
As diamonds are naturally occurring and formed deep within the earth, each diamond develops its own unique characteristics that influence the quality of the gem. One of the key characteristics that is developed is the varied degree of “inclusions” (inside the diamond) and “blemishes” (on the surface of the diamond). Clarity refers to the degree to which these characteristics present themselves. The occurrence of more flaws (inclusions and blemishes) can affect the brilliance of the diamond as the path of light through the diamond is disturbed. It is important to note however that the majority of these “imperfections” are microscopic and therefore invisible to the naked eye meaning they do not affect the beauty of a diamond to the common observer. There are five main factors that determine a diamond’s clarity: size, number, position, nature and colour (of inclusions and blemishes) – each of which is scrutinized by a professional gemmologist under 10x magnification and rated accordingly. The majority of diamonds are graded using the GIA’s 11-point diamond clarity scale that can be seen below.
When gemmologists refer to a diamond’s colour, they are actually referring to its lack of colour or grading of “whiteness”. As a general rule of thumb, the less colour in a white diamond the higher its value. After cut, colour is considered the second most important characteristic in determining a diamond’s value. The GIA uses a grading system to determine a diamond’s colour, from D (colourless, highest possible) through to Z (light in colour, lowest possible). Fancy coloured diamonds (e.g. pinks, blues, yellows) are graded using a different scale.
A diamond’s certification is the official documentation that details the gemstones authenticity and quality; think of it as the birth certificate for your stone. A diamond certificate (also referred to as a diamond grading report, diamond dossier, or diamond quality document) is issued following an examination of a diamond’s attributes including its carat weight, colour, clarity, symmetry, polish and exact measurements by a team of professional gemmologists. A cut grade is also usually provided for most round diamonds.
During the examination each diamond is individually scrutinised and evaluated to clarify the true value and integrity of the diamond. It’s important to request a certificate when buying a diamond to avoid purchasing an item of lesser quality than advertised and it helps to provide peace of mind in knowing what you are buying. It also helps to determine an accurate insurance figure and it’s a valuable tool when comparing and buying items at a fair price. The most prominent, internationally recognised certificates that we recommend are those issued by the GIA and HRD.
All of the diamonds over a carat weight of 0.30cts used in the jewellery pieces we create and that are sold through our Woollahra boutique can be accompanied by a GIA certificate upon request. With diamonds of a smaller carat size the value of the diamond often rivals the cost of the certification and does not warrant a certificate.
Purchasing any item of jewellery is a highly personal decision, with the piece you walk away with often reflecting personal tastes, characteristics and personality. When selecting an item as intimate as an engagement ring or wedding band, working with a local, Sydney jeweller who is able to channel those personal tastes and characteristics into the finished design can make all the difference.
That’s why, with all our clients, we endeavour to truly get to know each individual and conduct a personal consultation with each client to ensure we can best bring your vision to life.
After contacting us we encourage each client to visit us at our Sydney boutique, located in Woollahra, so that we can meet face-to-face. This way we can introduce you to our range of engagement rings and wedding bands currently available in the boutique or discuss any bespoke work you may wish to undertake.
From there we’ll work with you to select your perfect, custom piece. If it’s one of our pieces currently in the boutique we can tailor it to suit the correct finger size and sometimes even add some small personal touches. Should you wish to undertake custom bespoke work we’ll take the opportunity to begin the process of further discussing your preferences. This is to enable us to better understand what is important to you regarding the design and quality so that we can create a piece to these specifications. We can customise components such as diamond shape, size and quality, material used to make the ring, and of course incorporate any design elements to make it truly unique to you.
Renovating An Existing Piece
If you have an existing piece you would like to customise through the addition of extra elements, materials or stones we can also assist with this. If you are looking to modernise or remodel an item, the team are also able to work with you and provide you with a range of options on how to best achieve this.
The Finishing Touches
Once you have decided on a design you love we then go about ensuring that all elements of the ring are tailored to your individual needs and that the piece fits perfectly. Then, we give the piece a final clean and polish before preparing for it to be boxed and presented to you. On presenting you with your piece we provide each client with a warranty for complimentary cleaning of the ring for the life of your piece at our Sydney boutique. Our team can also assist with worldwide jewellery insurance to cover you against loss, theft or damage.
From there we wish you all the best with your special day and look forward to welcoming you back for your clean and service appointments, along with anything else that we may be able to assist you with in the future.
The diamonds used in the design of your piece are an integral part of the overall look and feel of the ring and is the detail we find clients often pay the most attention to. Diamonds can vary in five key characteristics: shape, cut, colour, clarity and carat, with the last four most commonly referred to as the Four C’s. Each of these characteristics has a range of options that allows you to select a diamond of a particular quality and style to suit your taste and budget.
The shape of a diamond is quite a personal choice and is often selected based on the preferences of the wearer of the ring, the way it feels and looks proportionately and aesthetically on their hand, along with what type of sparkle appeals to them. Traditionally the most popular diamond shape for an engagement ring is the round brilliant cut, due to the fact that it not only looks incredible in most designs, but it is also timeless and considered the most brilliant of all diamond shapes. In recent years however we have found clients to be increasingly drawn to diamonds of different shapes that showcase a uniqueness that they can tailor to their personality. If there is a specific shape you are interested in we have an eye for sourcing incredibly well-proportioned shapes and can work with you to find the perfect stone for your requirements.
The cut of a diamond refers to its proportions, symmetry, and polish, not the shape, which is defined separately. The cut essentially contributes to the sparkle of your diamond and is, therefore, one of the most, if not the most, important of the Four C’s. A diamond’s cut varies on a scale of excellent to poor with the scale determining how effective the stone is at interacting with light. Within each of these levels of grading, there is also a scale, moving from those that just made the grade through to the best in their grade and this should be taken into consideration when reviewing a diamond.
Clarity refers to the number and size of inclusions in a diamond. An inclusion is a naturally occurring flaw, often microscopic, that was developed in the diamond during its creation. Think of it as nature’s fingerprint, with no two diamonds having the same inclusions. Diamonds are graded on their level of clarity and are rated from Flawless to Included. Clarity is another very important factor in determining the value of a diamond and while inclusions are not necessarily visible to the naked eye throughout most of the clarity chart, the number and size of inclusions can affect the brilliance of the stone when rated on the lower end of the scale. This is when they can also become easy to see with the naked eye.
The carat of a diamond is one of the primary influencers in a diamond’s price and refers to the diamond’s weight, not specifically its size. The carat will affect the price of a diamond as larger stones are rarer, however it is worth remembering the value of similar carat diamonds can vary depending on the other characteristics of the diamond like cut, colour and clarity. The combination of all characteristics towards your desired diamond is something you should discuss with your jeweller when selecting your stone.