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The 4Cs of white diamonds

Diamonds have an enduring, universal appeal and have been used in jewellery, including engagement rings, for centuries. Diamonds are a desirable gemstone and often a status symbol signifying their owners' success. Diamond engagement rings have been popularised by the 1947 advertising campaign by De Beers, 'Diamonds Are Forever". Buying diamonds can be a significant investment and there are many factors to consider - the main criteria are the so called 4Cs used to grade diamonds: colour, clarity, cut and carat weight, which have a significant influence on a diamond's price. Here we explore the famous 4Cs.

The 4Cs of white diamonds
Sapphire engagement ring guide

Welcome to our guide on sapphire engagement rings where we look at the provenance, characteristics, colours and value of the sapphire gem, as well as its use in jewellery. Engagement rings are a meaningful, heartfelt expression of a couple's commitment to build a life together and for most people, they are the most significant piece of jewellery purchased in their lifetime. Natural diamonds have been the traditional centre stone of choice for engagement rings (popularised by the 1947 De Beers campaign, A Diamond is Forever), however sapphires, for centuries used in important jewellery such as royal crowns, have been gaining popularity as the engagement ring centre stone due to their beauty, uniqueness, durability and value for money compared to diamonds.

Sapphire engagement ring guide
9k vs 18k gold - what is the difference?

Karats, or carats, refer to the pure gold content in gold alloys, and is a measurement of the ratio of gold to other metals in the alloy. Other metals in alloys can include copper, silver and palladium, with small amounts of zinc and iridium.

9k vs 18k gold - what is the difference?
Precious emeralds in bespoke jewellery

Precious emeralds have been used in bespoke jewellery for centuries. Emerald is part of “top 3” coloured gemstone suite, along with ruby and sapphire. These highly coveted gems are prized for their beauty, exceptional colour and fascinating historical provenance. These highly coveted gems are prized for their beauty, exceptional colour and fascinating historical provenance. Emerald is the most precious green coloured gemstone and a member of the beryl gem family, whose members also include aquamarine, morganite, heliodor and goshenite.

Precious emeralds in bespoke jewellery
Sapphire

Sapphire is the most precious blue gemstone, and blue is sapphire's most well known colour. But sapphires naturally occur in a rainbow of colours beside various shades of blue: teal, black, white, grey, orange, pink, green, purple, yellow and the rare and extremely valuable Padparadscha (pinkish orange). Bi-colour or parti sapphires (stones with two colours in the same crystal, eg yellow and blue) occur in Australia as well as Africa (Madagascar, Tanzania and Nigeria). Due to its durability, varied colour and value, sapphire is a great alternative to diamond for contemporary engagement rings.

Sapphire
Salt and pepper diamonds

Salt and pepper diamonds are a great alternative to the traditional white diamond as engagement ring centre stone. They have become a popular choice in contemporary engagement rings due to their uniqueness. Salt and pepper diamonds are natural diamonds that are heavily included. Each one has distinctive markings, some resembling a pattern of stars in the night sky – these are called galaxy diamonds. These black markings are carbon spots, pieces of the diamond that never crystallised properly. Salt and pepper diamond engagement rings vary greatly in design as well as the shape of the centre stone, and can be anything from classic to asymmetric and non-traditional.

Salt and pepper diamonds
Lab grown diamond engagement rings

Lab grown diamonds are sustainable, totally conflict free and look identical to natural diamonds. Lab grown diamonds are not imitation diamonds, which are made of non-diamond material. The only chemical difference between lab diamonds and natural diamonds is that most natural diamonds contain tiny amounts of nitrogen, and lab diamonds do not, making them sparkle more and shine brighter. Lab grown diamonds cost on average 30-40% less than natural diamonds, allowing couples to choose a bigger diamond for their engagement ring if they wish.

Lab grown diamond engagement rings
White diamonds: beyond the 4Cs

Diamonds are made of carbon – but there’s something almost supernatural about them. Just the word ‘diamond’ invokes luxury, desirability and toughness. Diamond has been the gemstone of choice for contemporary engagement rings, but did you know, that it is not just a sparkly rock? Diamond is the hardest known substance, the greatest conductor of heat, has the highest melting point of any substance (4090°C or 7362°F), and the highest refractive index of any natural mineral, which gives the diamond its 'fire'. Learn more about diamonds from their origins and formation to the 4Cs - carat, colour, clarity and cut, that determine their value.

White diamonds: beyond the 4Cs
Opal

There are two main types of opal – precious and common. Precious opal displays iridescence, or play of colour, due to the diffraction of light off the tiny, closely packed silica spheres in the atomic lattice of the gem. Common opal does not possess iridescence due to its silica spheres being random in shape, size and arrangement.

Opal
Parti Sapphires

Parti sapphire is part of the most important gem family, corundum, which also includes ruby. Sapphires have consistently risen in value and popularity, due to their beauty, durability and versatility. The rarity of parti sapphires makes them valuable, especially bigger stones, and stones with brighter colours. Compared to blue sapphire though, parti sapphire is exceptionally good value. Parti sapphire engagement rings have been rising in popularity due to the gem's exceptional beauty and individuality.

Parti Sapphires
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