Buying a diamond can be a minefield, it is very difficult to know who you can trust, where you should buy, and whether or not you should opt for a natural diamond or something lab-grown. Then there are all these letters and numbers, it can seem like learning a secret code, but it really is fairly simple.Diamonds have four characteristics that determine its quality and ultimately its price, these have become known as the 4c’s and are Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat. We will talk very briefly about each of these C’s before moving on to the differences between farmed and mined diamonds.

Anatomy of a Diamond

CROWN - This refers the the section of the stone from the girdle up to the table.

CULET - The culet or keel of the diamond is the point at the very bottom of the gem.

GIRDLE - The girdle runs around the perimeter of the diamond and can sometimes vary in thickness.

TABLE - The table of a diamond is the flat facet on the top of the stone that forms a window into the gem.

PAVILION - The pavilion of a diamond is the section between the girdle and the culet or keel.


In our opinion this is the most important of all the C’s. A diamonds cut not only governs the shape of the polished gem but the quality of the cut determines how sparkly the finished diamond will be - and lets face it - that’s what it is all about. Any diamond that makes its way into a piece of Emily Burlington jewellery has to meet our exacting standards. We hand select only diamonds that have been beautifully cut and finished optimising the dazzling fire and sparkle that we all love.


Diamonds come in every shade and colour imaginable. While white diamonds are graded for their lack of colour, fancy coloured diamonds are graded for their saturation. The whiteness of a diamond given a letter grading, beginning at D (for the most colourless) working their way down the alphabet all the way to Z, the lower the letter the more brown or yellowish the diamond appears. It is only when they pass Z that diamonds becomes a fancy colour and then the more saturated they are, the rarer and more expensive they become. There is no right or wrong when it comes to colour, it is all personal preference, some people like the brilliant white of a D colour while other prefer the warmer tone you get with a K colour, it really is the wearers choice. We like white diamonds to appear white and so, unless stated otherwise, our diamond will sit in the colour range of D-H.


Diamonds are graded for the lack of blemishes or inclusions, the clearer they are the rarer and more expensive they are. Clarity is where most people get confused, with all the VVS, VS and SI terms, it can seem extremely daunting, but these are just abbreviations. The term SI means Slightly Included while VS is Very Slightly included and, you guessed it, VVS is Very Very Slightly included. The difference in all cases between 1 and 2 is the size, location and number of inclusions, with 1 being ever-so slightly better than 2. It is crucial to understand that majority of the worlds diamonds exhibit some form of microscopic impurity, at Emily Burlington, we call these nature’s birthmarks. All diamonds that go through our selection process must be completely clean to the naked eye, meaning that these birthmarks are not at all visible.


Carat is the unit given for the weight of all gems, each carat is split into 100 parts, called points. So a diamond that weighs 25 points is the same as a 0.25ct diamond or quarter of a carat. The weight of a stone is the biggest contributing factor to its price, with the cost per carat increasing exponentially, so two half carat diamonds are far cheaper than a single one carat diamond of the same quality. Irrespective of the size of your stones, we will not compromise on our standards.Now you have an understanding of how the grading system works, its time to chose your diamond. Where you make your compromises is completely up to you. Some people want the D colour diamond that is completely flawless and has an excellent cut and they are happy to compromise the size in order for that diamond to meet their budget. Others want to maximise the carat and are happy with an SI2 and don’t mind if its slightly tinted as long as it is bigger than their friends. There is no right answer, just what is right for you.

Lab Grown or Mined?

Now time to understand the difference between lab-grown diamonds and natural diamonds, in essence, both are diamonds, both are made from carbon atoms arranged in a crystalline structure and both have the same sparkle and scintillation. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.Natural diamonds are grown slowly over millennia, they are rare and difficult to cultivate and because of this they are more expensive than the equivalent lab-grown diamond meaning that if you have a set budget, you will get a smaller natural diamond than you would a lab-grown diamond. The fact that they are so rare and because there are limited resources means that they will hold their value or even increase in price over time.Lab-grown or diamonds are farmed in laboratories in months they are a lot cheaper than natural stones and are becoming less expensive every week. They are not mined and so are more sustainable, but because there is no shortage of engineered diamonds and the technology is becoming more affordable, they will not hold their price. If you buy a lab-grown diamond today, you will save money, but if you want to sell the same diamond tomorrow it will not have any value, in short, they make economic sense - at least initially. 


Emily Burlington

Boîte postale 426
IG10 9HY

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