Forget about waiting for a man to buy you that special piece of jewellery and join the growing number of women who are buying luxurious, fine jewels for themselves. Unlike your favourite shoes, a piece of fine jewellery, if taken care of properly, will last a lifetime and can be easily passed down to your family members as a precious heirloom. Plus, diamonds, gemstones and pearls will never not be valuable, so they’ll get to enjoy the benefits of your investment too.
Sarah Louise Jordan, Jewellery specialist and editor of Professional Jeweller, explains exactly what you should be looking for…
The 4 C’s
If you’re buying diamonds the most important aspect is the four Cs – cut, clarity, colour and carat. They’re all important but cut is something to really look out for. Baguette and emerald- cut diamonds can make hands look elongated and slender, but they are less sparkly and will make even the smallest of imperfections within a stone look more obvious, emphasizing its colour and clarity. Rose cuts pose similar challenges.
Round and cushion- cut diamonds have plenty of fire and sparkle but can emphasize lower quality colour (hints of yellow and grey) and make it more prominent.
Oval and marquise- cut are great for masking small inclusions (blemishes inside the stone) and can give more sparkle for your pound.
Buying the right piece
If your budget doesn’t stretch to the whitest diamond available, yellow gold can help to mask tinges of yellow in stones.
A halo setting or swirling array of smaller stones set closely together can give the illusion of much higher carat weights without the price tag.
Size matters – a one-carat diamond can look out of proportion on a delicate hand – focusing on smaller sizes with an excellent cut, great clarity and fantastic colour can result in a better investment.
Fancy coloured diamonds are more rare than white diamonds and their value increases with its depth in colour. Coloured diamonds are exceptionally difficult to value, but pink, blue and yellow are the most valuable in terms of colour especially in vibrant hues and can garner incredibly high prices. Diamonds that might traditionally be seen as lesser in quality like cloudy hints of grey, brown and orange have been renamed to be more appealing and they can look fantastic. Same with polki diamonds, or those with lots of inclusions giving a rustic vintage feel to them.
Canary yellow is very expensive, but a brown off yellow can be cheaper. Blue, pink and yellow diamonds increased in value by 167% between 2005 and 2014.
Care for your heirlooms
Diamonds are exceptionally hard but that doesn’t mean they are completely resistant to damage. To avoid disrupting a stone over time avoid picking up your jewellery by the setting and instead pick a less delicate area, like the main body of the ring or the back of an earring.
Avoid putting your diamond jewels next to softer gems, like opals, coloured gemstones or pearls, which are more likely to get scratches. Little velvet pouches are perfect, but most brands will present you with a lovely box to keep your pieces in. You’ll probably never want to take your jewellery off but things like hairspray, strong perfumes, chlorinated water and bleach can do lasting damage, while manual activities like gardening and heavy lifting can lead to chips. If in doubt, take it off!