How to choose a diamond

Do we hear wedding bells? Choosing a diamond may seem slightly daunting, but it really doesn’t have to be. On the contrary – it should be exciting! And we’re here to help you find the most exquisite stone for that special person who makes your heart go boom. As you may know, a diamond or gemstone will usually be the focal point of a ring and will more often than not also be the most expensive part thereof. The clarity, colour, cut and shape will also influence the price of a diamond dramatically, so it’s best to decide on how much you want to spend beforehand, so we can shop for stones that fall within your budget. Our most popular shapes are round, oval, cushion, pear and princess brilliant cut. Once we acquire a selection of stones that meet your specifications, we encourage you to come view them at our studio. At Dear Rae we believe it’s important to choose a diamond that appears perfect to your eye rather than just the microscope’s eye. While two diamonds may seem almost identical on paper, they can actually be very different when placed out in front of you. It’s best to come see for yourself. If you are unable to pop in, we’d be happy to send you images, videos and descriptions.


First you need to choose a cut. We like to split our diamonds into two main categories: ‘Classic’ and ‘Unusual’


The White Brilliant Cut has stood the test of time. It is classic, timeless and a firm favourite amongst diamond admirers worldwide. When choosing a traditional White Brilliant Cut, it is important to keep the 4 C’s in mind:

round brilliant cut

1. Colour

Traditionally, a diamond’s value is determined by the absence of colour. The “whiter” the diamond, the higher the value and rarity. Colour grading starts at D (the “whitest”) and moves up the alphabet, increasing in yellowy hues as it escalates.

Sure, traditionally “whiter” is better. But we also really love working with cognac or champagne and opaque-coloured diamonds – But more on that later.

diamond colour

2. Clarity

Clarity refers to the internal or external inclusions (small imperfections) that are visible in or on the surface of a diamond – kind of like birthmarks. They prove that the diamond was formed naturally over time under great pressure, and are important to note as they will determine the path of light. The less internal inclusions and fractures the diamond contains, the better the light will be refracted.

diamond category and grading


3. Cut

The cut refers to the proportions, symmetry and polish of a diamond. These factors are extremely important in the refraction and the reflection of a diamond.

4. Carat weight

This refers to the actual weight of the diamond and this factor will have the most remarkable influence on the diamond price.


While the “Classic” will always be one of our favourites, we also love working with a variety of unusual cuts, colours and shapes. We believe they embrace a sense of individuality and celebrate the fact that there really is a different style, shape and colour out there for everyone.

1. Unusual Cuts
Rose Cut

This is a very old way of cutting diamonds and gemstones, dating back to the 16th century. Call us old fashioned, but we adore the Rose Cut. If your partner loves antique jewellery or delights in old world charm, this is a truly unique choice for an engagement ring and one that’s bound to make them squeal with delight. It may not refract light quite like the White Brilliant Cut, but it’s larger, triangular facets will display bigger and bolder flashes of light and colour. Available in an array of shapes and colours, Rose Cut diamonds have a flat base and large pavilion with bigger triangular facets. This cut is specifically popular with opaque diamonds, as colour diamonds do not refract light and so the bottom table facet is not really necessary. Having said that however, white and cognac Rose Cut diamonds are spectacular and really something to behold.
They are also available in a spectrum of shapes.

rose cut diamond copy

2. Unusual Colours
Opaque diamonds (includes black diamonds):

Salt and pepper, opaque, coloured or icy diamonds – there is no official term for these unique diamonds, as they are only now starting to gain popularity.

It is important to note that these diamonds are not any less diamond than the traditional white brilliant cut diamond. They are not heat treated and are 100% natural. They form in the inner mantle of the earth under extreme pressure and heat, and were brought up to the earth’s surface through deep source volcanic eruptions. These kinds of volcanic eruptions have not occured again since scientist and gemmologist became aware of them.

What separates opaque diamonds from the more popular white brilliant cut are their intricate composition of internal fractures and inclusions. Trace elements are trapped in these collections of tunnels and this creates the unique colour and qualities. Light is absorbed and not, as with regular diamonds, refracted. In essence, these colour diamonds are messengers from the earth’s inner mantle, bringing us information about elements deep down in the Earth.

While these diamonds are not seen as perfect because of their “flaws,” they are are incredibly unique. Their flaws attribute to their beauty and no two will ever be the same. With these diamonds, your ring will truly be one of a kind. And because diamonds have the most incredible composition, they are eternal – What you see now is how it will stay, forever.


opaque diamonds

Champagne or cognac diamonds:

These gorgeous, antique-looking diamonds have similar qualities to white diamonds and boast their own vibrant brilliance and fire. Cognac diamonds come in different tones ranging from C1, the lightest to C7, the darkest.


cognac colours


Looking for something else? 

Diamonds may be the most popular choice when it comes to engagement rings, but they’re certainly
not for everyone. If you fancy something a little different, not to worry. Have a look at some
other gemstones and their qualities, here.

3. Gemstone shapes

Most diamonds and other gemstones can be found in the following shapes:

Diamond shapes