How To Choose The Best Diamond

Find guidance straight from our gemmologists during your diamond selection, whether online or in-store. Our experts have put together this guide, filled with simple advice to help you make your most-informed selection. Discover the best diamond grades to consider for an exquisite diamond at great value for money.

Choosing Your Diamond Online

Whether you choose a diamond in-store or online, we are here for you every step of the way, to help you make the best-informed decision. We know that in-store appointments don’t suit everyone’s schedules, so we’ve put together a simple guide on how to choose your diamond on our website.

How To Find Your Diamond

Start by selecting your preferred diamond shape, and entering your desired carat range - this can be fairly vague to start, while you get a grasp on how far your budget will stretch. Begin your search with our automated filters: D to F Colour, VS1 to SI1 Clarity and Excellent Cut.

After a quick browse of the options available, you’ll have a better understanding of how diamonds are priced. Try entering your budget range to see how this alters your search. You may then want to tweak your carat range.

There are plenty more filters to tweak and alter to help narrow down your search, and you can find our experts’ full list of recommended search options further up this page. For now, click on a diamond to expand the diamond’s details, enlarge its image, and play the 360 video of the diamond (if available). You’ll notice a clear breakdown of the diamond’s characteristics, with a link to view its GIA or IGI certification. You can add this diamond to your ring, or continue browsing different options.

We’ll then direct you to all the ring settings that will work with that particular diamond - or, if you’ve already selected your ring design, you can proceed to purchase your perfect diamond and ring combination.

Queensmith Recommends

When browsing our diamonds online, you’ll notice a number of filters - each with an information pop up with our Queensmith Recommends approval of the best grades to look at for aesthetics vs value for money. Take Colour, for example, ranging from D to H, our experts recommend sticking above F for a bright and icy diamond.

Carat Weight

Carat is a measurement of a diamond’s weight, which indicates its size. Diamonds of the same carat can appear different in size depending on their shape, and how well it’s cut. Referred to as ‘ct’, 1ct diamond equates to 0.20g.

Queensmith Recommends prioritising Cut, Colour and entering your budget to guide your Carat search.


As diamonds form, they can pick up trace elements that cause colouration - typically yellow, brown or green tints. The higher the Colour grade, the more colourless the stone. As a very visual aspect of the diamond, it is important to choose a high Colour grade for a bright and icy stone.

Queensmith Recommends D to F for a bright and colourless diamond.


Most diamonds contain small irregularities known as inclusions and blemishes, which form as the diamond grows. A high Clarity grade will drive up price, so consider diamonds that contain inclusions that you won't see with the naked eye, rather than aiming for an extremely high Clarity grade.

Queensmith Recommends VS2 to SI1 for natural diamonds and VVS2 to VS2 for lab diamonds. These provide the best quality to value ratio.

When buying a diamond online, you may prefer to err on the side of caution by choosing VS2 and above. When we show SI1 diamonds in-store, our gemmologists will make sure that any inclusions are not visible to the naked eye, or could be covered by a claw of the ring. This can be trickier for you to discern online, but a VS2 will be guaranteed to be eye clean.


The Cut grade of a diamond outlines how precisely each facet of the diamond has been cut. The better the cut, the crisper, brighter and more intense the sparkle - so it’s an important grade to prioritise. It only applies to round diamonds, so consider high symmetry and polish grades for other shapes.

Queensmith Recommends Excellent Cut for round diamonds with the most sparkle.

We’re here to help

We get it, you’ve never done this before.

That’s why we have diamond and design experts on hand, who are here to guide you through every step - from understanding what carat, color, cut and clarity mean, to designing the perfect ring.

What Are The 4Cs - Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat?

When researching how to choose a diamond, you’ll notice lots of chat around the 4Cs - the four main characteristics that determine a diamond: cut, colour, clarity and carat weight. Cut determines how well a rough diamond has been cut and polished, the more precise and perfectly proportioned each facet, the better the grade and the better the sparkle. A high colour grade means the diamond is colourless, lower grades appear yellow or brownish. Clarity reflects the amount and severity of internal marks and flaws, known as inclusions - the fewer and less visible to the naked eye, the better. Finally, carat weight is an indicator of how big the diamond will appear - the higher the carat, the more expensive the stone.

Choosing a diamond can seem overwhelming - once you’ve got a little knowledge under your belt, it’ll seem a lot easier. Start with the 4Cs and take it from there!

Laura | Senior Gemmologist & Design Expert
Frequently Asked Questions

Choosing A Diamond

Top Tips

Should I sacrifice quality for a bigger diamond?

While size is an attractive feature, the quality of certain diamond characteristics should take a little more priority when it comes to choosing your diamond. Qualities like the diamond’s cut and colour will have a huge impact on the beauty of the stone and the bright, icy sparkle you’ll be searching for. A diamond may look large but have a poor cut grade - meaning, although big, the diamond will appear dull and lacklustre. A poor colour grade will make a diamond appear yellowish or brownish, rather than the bright and colourless diamond's we all know and love.

Learn more about diamonds and choosing the right characteristics here.

Which diamond shape should I choose?

Over three quarters of diamond engagement rings feature a round diamond. The round brilliant emits intense fire and brilliance, and is regarded as the most traditional diamond choice for rings. Versatile, sparkly and timeless, the round diamond is a safe choice for those who seek tradition and enjoy refined design. That said, there’s a plethora of alternative shapes to choose from for your ring - known as ‘fancy diamond shapes’.

Fancy diamond shapes are distinctive, some still more traditional than others, and can retail at much lower prices than round diamonds.

Diamond shapes can be categorised into two groups: step cut and brilliant cut. Like round diamonds, brilliant cuts are designed to offer serious sparkle, while step cuts are designed to show high clarity with more subtle glistens to sparkle.

Learn about diamond shapes and which is right for you.

Why choose a GIA diamond?

At Queensmith, the natural diamonds we hand select are independently certified by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America). The GIA are a nonprofit, independent grading laboratory, recognised as the world’s foremost authority on diamonds and coloured gemstones. The institute provides impartial evaluations of diamonds, with a renowned and highly critical grading system. Their strict and comprehensive grading system means that a GIA diamond will never have been over-generously graded and therefore overpriced; instead GIA diamonds are impartially awarded the grades that best reflect its unique characteristics. Each natural diamond we select is GIA certified, with an identification code inscribed on its girdle (visible only under magnification) and its accompanying GIA certificate.

Learn about GIA diamonds.

Buying A Diamond Online

Should I buy a diamond online?

Yes, you can absolutely buy a diamond online. It is a great way to compare qualities and price points between natural and lab diamonds.

While some people prefer to view diamonds in person before making their purchase, we know this isn’t possible or practical for everyone. We decided to take our services online, making it easier for people to view, compare with 360 diamond videos, and purchase diamonds online, no matter their location or busy schedules.

When you buy a diamond online, it is important to feel confident in your selection, and the company you buy from. At Queensmith, we select each diamond we show you for its credentials, beautiful aesthetics and great value for money - meaning each diamond you see available on our website has already been vetted, so no matter which diamond you choose, you’ll be sure to receive a true beauty.

Queensmith’s commitment is designed to give you peace of mind when buying a diamond or jewellery online - from ethical diamond sourcing, to a no-fuss returns policy and free lifetime aftercare to keep your diamond jeweller looking as good as new.

Check out our other FAQs for tips on finding the best diamonds online, and knowing what to look out for before making your purchase.

Can I view a diamond I find online in-store?

Yes - absolutely! If you find a diamond online that you like the look of, but want to see it in more detail in store, we can make this happen. Just book an appointment, and quote either the GIA or IGI number of the diamond, or let us know its grades.

Our diamond inventory is updated daily, so any diamond you find online should still be available. Please do note that in some instances, the diamond you request to see may have already been sold - in which case, our gemmologists will get to work to find the best alternatives for the same budget.

How will I know the diamond I buy online is the same diamond I receive?

GIA & IGI diamonds are inscribed with a unique, minuscule code on the girdle of the diamond. You’ll see this code along with the details of your diamond when purchasing it online. This code is too small to see with the naked eye, but with 50x magnification you’ll be able to see this unique code, and cross reference with the GIA or IGI certificate you receive. When you come into the Queensmith store, we’ll show this code under a microscope - or if you’re unable to come into our showroom, find a jeweller near you and ask them to show you the diamond under their microscope.

We always advise you to do your research before buying a diamond online, and ensure you are purchasing from a trusted, top reviewed jewellers. If you’re unsure, ask to talk to a real person! Our Customer Care team is available weekdays from 9am to 6.30pm via phone, email and live chat! Contact us for more information.

What should I look out for when buying a diamond online?

First, decide between a natural diamond and a lab grown diamond - and filter your search accordingly. Next, filter by the ideal grades:

  • Cut: Ideal or Excellent to Very Good (only round diamonds receive a cut grade, so apply the same standards to polish and symmetry grades for other shapes)

  • Colour: D to F (or down to G to H for yellow gold rings)

  • Clarity: VS2 to SI1

This will help you filter down beautiful diamonds for the best prices.

Make sure the diamond you select is certified, ideally GIA certified for natural diamonds, or IGI or GIA certified for lab diamonds.

Can I return a diamond or ring I bought online from Queensmith?

Yes - at Queensmith, purchases come with a 40 day returns window. We’re confident in the crafting abilities and knowledge of our experts, but if it isn’t quite right, you’ll have 40 days to return your item - read our returns policy for more information.

Diamond Pricing

How much do diamonds cost?

Diamond price is reflective of size, quality and therefore rarity. The higher cut, colour, clarity and carat weight, the rarer the stone and therefore the greater the value of the diamond. Quality diamonds suitable for engagement rings start from £600, and increase well into the thousands - even the hundreds of thousands.

View our full diamond cost guide.

The best place to start is by setting budget, and working out how much to dedicate to the diamond vs the ring setting.

How much do most people spend on an engagement ring?

Most ring buyers today spend between £1,300 to £7,000 on their engagement rings, with the majority of their budgets dedicated to finding the best diamond they can.

Read about the cost of diamonds with our full guide.

How much of my total ring budget should I spend on the diamond?

The amount of spend on the diamonds vs the ring setting depends on the design you like. Subtracting the cost of the ring design you like from your total budget will give you an idea of how much to spend on the diamond.

  • Solitaire £700

  • Halo £1550 - £1750 (£2000 - £2250 for more complex designs)

  • Trilogy £900

  • Diamond Shoulders £1200 - £1400

Follow our handy guide to setting a budget for your ring.

What determines the cost of a diamond?

A diamond’s value is determined by the combination of grades awarded for its characteristics: cut, colour, clarity and carat weight. Carat weight is the biggest driver of a diamond’s cost.

View our diamond cost guide.

How can I find the best value for a diamond?

There are certain grade parameters you can follow that typically ensure a beautiful, great quality diamond at the best price. Our experts recommend searching for the following diamond grades to find the best diamond for your budget.

  • Cut: Excellent to Very Good (only round diamonds receive a cut grade, so apply the same standards to polish and symmetry grades for other shapes)

  • Colour: D to F (or down to G to H for yellow gold rings)

  • Clarity: VS2 to SI1

Diamond Grades

What are the 4Cs of diamond grading?

Diamonds are graded according to a number of characteristics. The most important to take note of are called the 4Cs:

  • Cut - the precision of the diamond’s cut. A better cut means better sparkle

  • Colour - the lack of trace element colours like yellow or brown. The better the colour, the whiter the diamond

  • Clarity - the severity of natural imperfections called inclusions. The higher the clarity, the clearer the stone

  • Carat - the weight of the diamond, and typically the biggest driver of its price

Learn more about diamonds and the 4Cs with our Diamond Fundamentals guide

What is 'diamond cut'?

The best diamond cut grade, an Excellent cut, is made up of the precise angles, symmetry, proportion, balance of facets and polish that a highly skilled diamond cutter can achieve. Precise diamond cutting will equate to a diamond that reflects light perfectly, so that the radiance, fire and sparkle of the stone is at its absolute best.

See our full Diamond Cut guide.

What is 'diamond colour'?

Colourless diamonds are graded from D, completely colourless, to Z, tinted light yellow-brown. Diamond colour grades between D to F appear bright, white and icy and are regarded as the best choice for engagement rings - although are priced higher due to their rarity.

Diamonds can either be categorised as ‘colourless’ or ‘fancy coloured’. Fancy coloured diamonds, like blue and pink diamonds, are not graded on a colour scale like colourless diamonds are.

Read the full Diamond Colour guide for more.

What is 'diamond clarity'?

Diamond clarity measures the presence and severity of the internal marks, blemishes and flaws found in almost all diamonds. Whether natural or lab grown, it is incredibly rare to find a diamond totally free of such inclusions, but they do exist, and are known as ‘flawless diamonds’. The closer to flawless, the higher the diamond clarity, the rarer it is and greater the cost.

Find our more with our full Diamond Clarity guide.

What is 'diamond carat'?

Carat is a measurement of a diamond’s weight, and is reflective of the size of the stone.

Two diamonds of the same carat weight can appear different sizes depending on the shape and how well the diamond is cut, but generally speaking, carat is a good indicator of a diamond's size.

Referred to in short-form as ‘ct’, carat is a unit of measurement used for diamonds and other precious gemstones, like rubies, sapphires and emeralds, equating to 0.20g.

Discover more about Diamond Carat with our full guide.

Which is the most important diamond grade to prioritise?

Cut is the most important diamond grade, as most gemmologists agree. A diamond’s cut grade indicates how precise, clean, and symmetrical every tiny facet of the diamond is - the better the precision of the cut, the brighter and sparklier the diamond.

Only round diamonds receive a cut grade - but all other shapes receive a polish and symmetry grade - which can be important to consider in the absence of a cut grade. The better the polish and symmetry grades, the better the diamond will appear.

Ideally, aim for diamonds with Excellent cut, polish and symmetry grades - or at the least, Very Good.

What’s the best combination of the 4Cs when buying a diamond?

As a rule of thumb, look for diamonds with Excellent cut, D to F colour and VS2 to SI1 clarity.

You may find Very Good cut and G to H colour sufficient, but we don’t recommend looking any lower than SI1 clarity.

A higher clarity grade than VS2 will increase the price of the diamond, but you probably won’t be able to tell the difference with the naked eye. This is because inclusions between VS2 and SI1 are typically only visible with magnification - so, is it worth paying a premium for something you can’t see?

Diamond Certification

What is a certified diamond?

A certified diamond is a diamond that has undergone professional analysis to determine grades for a number of characteristics, including cut, colour, clarity, carat weight, symmetry, polish and fluorescence. There are a number of diamond grading laboratories across the world that officiate diamond certification - the GIA is globally recognised as the best for natural diamonds, and the IGI for lab diamonds.

Why are diamonds certified?

Diamonds are certified to give diamond sellers and buyers an accurate indication of a diamond’s quality, to determine its value. Four main characteristics are graded: cut, colour, clarity and carat, known at the 4Cs. The higher each of the 4Cs is graded, the rarer the diamond, and the higher the value of the diamond.

Diamond certification allows diamond buyers to gain intricate knowledge of what they’re buying, to compare different qualities and decide what’s right for them. Buying a certified diamond is a sure-fire way to know you’re getting the quality diamond you pay for! Gemmologists always advise buying a GIA natural or lab diamond, or IGI lab diamond.

Are all diamonds certified?

No, not all diamonds are certified, but every diamond we sell at Queensmith is independently certified by the GIA for natural diamonds, and IGI or GIA for lab diamonds.

Some jewellers will sell uncertified diamonds as this enables them to grade the stone in-house, which can be dangerous for the buyer. Diamonds graded in-house may be over-generously graded to increase the jeweller’s profit margins. Even with the best intentions, the jeweller may inaccurately grade the stone as it is not their expertise - organisations like the GIA are run by the industry’s best graders, who twice-grade each stone to a strict set of standards. As a non-profit organization, the GIA has nothing to gain from over-grading. Buying a certified diamond is a far more reliable way to ensure you receive the quality diamond you pay for.

Learn about GIA Graded Diamonds with our full guide.

Which are the best diamond certifications?

When it comes to natural diamond certification, GIA certified diamonds are globally recognised as the best. The GIA are a non-profit organisation, and abide by strict standards when grading diamonds. Both GIA and IGI are recognised as the top laboratories for grading lab diamonds.

Customer Support

Do you have additional questions? No problem, let us help you through the process

Need help choosing the perfect ring?

Get in touch with our experts - we’re on hand to help.

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