White Diamonds: The Definitive Guide to Selection and Designs

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White diamonds are among the most popular of diamonds, and they make wonderful additions and focal points to any piece of jewellery. Whether you’re looking for an engagement ring, wedding ring, necklace, or bracelet — a high quality white diamond adds a touch of sophistication and to the jewellery. Before choosing your ring or necklace, make sure you understand the diamond basics and popular design options.

1. Diamond basics

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To choose the right diamond, start with the four Cs, or the four top considerations: cut, colour, carat, and clarity. These give you an indication of not only the size and appearance but also the price of the diamond.

(i) Cut

Diamonds come in eight basic cuts. The right option for you depends on your preference and the context or purpose. The facet of a diamond refers to the flat surfaces that are cut into it.

  • Round brilliant cut – The round brilliant cut is the most popular and best-selling shape for diamonds. It’s often used for engagement and eternity rings, as the circular design represents constancy. Brilliant cut usually means there are 58 facets on the diamond.
  • Princess cut – The princess cut is another popular cut that’s typically used for engagement rings. It features pointed corners and a square or rectangular shape.
  • Cushion cut – Cushion-cut diamonds are square cuts with rounded corners. This type of cut has an ‘antique’, classic feel that gives it a novel and unique appeal.
  • Oval cut – Oval cuts offer an elegant alternative to the brilliant cut while providing a similar look.

Other cuts to be aware of include the emerald cut, radiant cut, heart cut, marquise cut, pear cut, and Asscher cut. Learn more about terminology and types of cuts in our detailed guide to diamond cuts.

(ii) Colour

The clearer the diamond, the more valuable it’s considered to be. A white diamond with a yellow tint lowers the grade, because the more colourless a diamond, the more sparkle it has. White diamonds are charted in a colour scale that runs from D, or completely colourless, to N-Z, where the colour is exceptionally noticeable.

After D is E-F, which means hints of colour undetectable to anyone but an experienced gemmologist. At G-H on the scale, the diamond is almost colourless but can be spotted if the diamond is set next to a diamond of a higher grade. At I-J, there’s a hint of colour, and at K-M, the colour is easily noticeable.

In contrast, with coloured diamonds, the brighter and more saturated the colour, the more desirable and expensive it will be. Coloured diamonds are judged by hue, tone, and saturation, and the most well-known are brown, light yellow, and pink diamonds.

Find out more about diamond colours in our detailed diamond colour guide.

(iii) Carat

While you might think of carat as the size of the diamond, the term carat refers to the weight of the gem. The higher the number of carats, the more expensive the piece of jewellery. One carat is equivalent to 0.2 grams and the number of carats is calculated according to a points system, with 100 points equivalent to one carat. If a ring has more than one diamond, the total weight of the diamonds is used.

The size of the diamond doesn’t increase exponentially with the carat weight, and a one-carat diamond is valuable only if it’s cut correctly. Additionally, keep in mind the carat measurement is only one of the four Cs; colour, cut, and clarity should be considered to be equally important, along with the setting.

Learn more about diamond carat weights in our detailed guide here.

(iv) Clarity

Inclusions (under the surface) and blemishes (on the surface) are some of the flaws that affect the clarity of a diamond. The greater the clarity, the higher the grade and value of a diamond. When assessing clarity, a gemologist looks at the number, size, position, and characteristics of the inclusions and blemishes. Cutters try to reduce the visibility of any of flaws when shaping the diamond.

Professionals use the GIA Diamond Clarity Scale to rate the clarity of diamonds. This scales has six categories and five subcategories, for a total of 11 grades. FL or Flawless means expert graders can’t detect any flaws even under 10x magnification. At the other end of the scale, Included (I1, I2 and I3), inclusions are obvious under magnification.

For a diamond with few imperfections, choose one that’s rated VVS2 or higher, which gives you a diamond within the top 10% in terms of clarity. However, a VSI1-VSI2 diamond will appear to be flawless to the untrained eye, with the benefit of a much lower price.

Read more about clarity in our guide to understanding diamond clarity.

2. Why are white diamonds so special?

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White diamonds are the most common of the different types of diamonds. These diamonds are almost colourless, although they’re categorised in various ways: colourless, nearly colourless, and tinted. The popularity of white diamonds probably reflects the fact they tend to have few imperfections or impurities, and today, white diamonds have come to represent love and commitment to marriage.

  • The substance of diamonds -Diamonds are one of the concentrated forms of pure carbon on the planet, and they’re also the strongest mineral in known existence.
  • Formation – Diamonds form over a long time – over a billion years – deep under the earth, in extreme pressure and heat. When deep-source volcanic eruptions occur, this pushes the diamonds closer to the surface where they can be mined.
  • Discovery – The earliest diamonds might have been discovered in India, back in 400 BC. Around 100 years later, people started trading diamonds in Europe. Later, with the rise of industrialisation, people started finding diamonds in places beyond India.
  • Synthetic diamonds – Synthetic diamonds are made in labs today, and they’re created by subjecting carbon to very high heat and pressure. Synthetic diamonds are much cheaper than natural diamonds, but they’re indistinguishable to the mined gems by the naked eye.

White diamonds are rare because they’re so popular but the world’s diamond deposits may soon reach full depletion. Fewer diamonds are to be found and even fewer of the pure white diamonds so highly regarded by jewellers and consumers alike are now available to be mined. What’s mined today usually has impurities, making these diamonds less valuable. Unless undiscovered deposits can be found, it may only be a matter of time before we reach full depletion.

One of the rarest white diamonds in history was auctioned off in early 2018 at Sotheby’s and it weighed over 102 carats and was given the highest grades in every criteria by the Gemological Institute of America.

Read more about the history of white diamonds in this history guide and in this guide on their creation and formation.

3. Things to know — is your diamond is genuine?

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As you look for the perfect diamond necklace, ring, or other jewellery piece, remember to check whether the precious stone is a genuine one. Learning more about diamonds and the importance of a certificate will support your search.

(i) Vital things you need to know about white diamonds and carats

As mentioned above the four Cs are important factors to consider when evaluating diamonds. White diamonds aren’t actually white or colourless; you can see hints and hues of colours of the rainbow when you look at a diamond. Diamonds take eons to form – some diamonds are more than three billions old – and that’s probably why they’re so rare and valuable.

As the hardest natural substance, diamonds have lots of industrial applications, including cutting, grinding, drilling, and polishing. While they were originally mined mostly in India, they were later found in Brazil and southern Africa. Today they’re found all over the world.

Learn more about the vital things you need to know about white diamonds and carats in our detailed guide here.

(ii) Why you want your diamond to come with a certificate

Ensure your diamond comes with a certificate to demonstrate its authenticity. Diamond grading and certification not only shows the diamond is a genuine one; it can help you understand the characteristics of the diamond you’re buying, including the four Cs. Two of the most renowned diamond-grading labs are the GIA and the HRD.

  • GIA – The Gemological Institute of America has one of the most reputable diamond grading labs in the world. It offers the Diamond Grading Report, for diamonds one carat and above, and the Diamond Dossier, for diamonds below one carat.
  • HRD – The HRD, owned by the Antwerp World Diamond Center, offers reliable and accurate diamond grading reports and certificates. HRD uses the same diamond grading standards set by the International Diamond Council (IDC), and their reports are highly accurate and reliable.

Other programs and labs to be aware of include the CanadaMark program, and the AGS, GCAL, IGI, GSI, and PGS diamond grading labs. Find out more about grading systems and labs in our guide here.

4. Styling and design with white diamonds

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Having learned about diamonds, grading, and certification, you’re ready to consider style and design. White diamonds are elegant precious stones that go with any type of jewellery, so what are your options?

(i) Jewellery with diamonds

Jewellery featuring white diamonds, like rings, earrings, pendant necklaces, and bracelets complement any outfit. White diamonds are timeless and enduring, so the jewellery can be passed down the generations. White diamonds are perfect for engagement rings, which can be designed to pair with your wedding ring, whether you have a diamond solitaire design, three diamonds, or some other design.

White diamonds also work perfectly for eternity rings, rings that feature a continuous line of diamonds along the band to symbolise everlasting love. They work beautifully in stud earrings as well as hoop earrings, and they can be featured in one-stone pendants or three-stone pendants. A tennis bracelet is also a perfect way to set off stunning white diamonds, or you could opt for a bangle bracelet with diamonds set in the metal.

When it comes to metals, white metals such as white gold or platinum complement high-quality white diamonds. If the white diamond has more impurities and inclusions, it will tend to have a duller appearance and may be better off paired with a warm metal such as yellow gold.

Read about the top timeless pieces of jewellery in our guide here, and find out more about metals to go with diamonds in this guide.

(ii) Design: diamond ring setting and stacking

Different setting options can enhance your choice of white diamond in varying ways. Depending on the cut, shape, and quality of the diamond, you might want to choose one setting option over the others. The type of metal and the context (engagement, marriage, or some other purpose) are also relevant when choosing a setting.

The ring setting refers to how the diamond is placed and attached to the band, and this has a major impact on how the ring looks. Solitaire ring settings are the most popular type of setting, helping draw the eye to the focal point – the precious stone itself. On the other hand, a channel setting features side diamonds embedded side by side in the band, and is a great choice for a wedding band to match the engagement ring. Pave settings are a variation on the channel setting but the stones are paved closely together to make it look like the entire band is made from diamonds.

Other setting options include sidestone, bezel, cathedral, and tension. Read more about additional setting options for your white diamond ring in our guide here.

Stacking your engagement and/or wedding rings helps make a powerful statement for a striking look. You might design your rings to stack in a pair or even have up to four rings stacked together on the same finger.

  • Two stacks – With two stacks, you’ll usually have one ring with a stone and one without. For example, you can have an engagement ring with a diamond pave band and another ring with a pave band but no centre stone. You can then add a classic wedding band below or above your engagement rings.
  • Threestacks – With the three stack design, you can wear three rings with stones of different shapes. The bands are of the same size, style, and colour, but the stones one each ring are of different shapes. The diamonds might overlap your bands so it appears as though you’re wearing one ring.
  • Three eternity rings – For a novel, delicate look, wear three diamond-studded eternity rings that feature different milgrain detailing. This sparkling, intricate design produces a timeless, ‘royal’ look to the piece.

Other stacking options include round stone ring nestled between two tiara bands and solitaire ring with two different types of bands. Read more about stacking options for your rings in our guide on creative ways to stack your rings.

When it comes to finding the perfect diamond for a piece of jewellery, consider your options and keep the four Cs at top of mind: cut, colour, carat, and clarity. You’ll want to make sure your diamond is a genuine one and be aware of your options in styling and design.

Choosing the perfect diamond to match your budget and preferences doesn’t have to be a stressful experience as long as you work with a diamond expert who can advise you on the basics as well as on authenticity and design options. Australian Diamond Brokers are one of Australia’s leading providers of diamonds in Sydney. For great advice about your jewellery requirements, speak to one of Australian Diamond Brokers’ diamond experts by contacting us today.