Maria Doulton: Buying a diamond is a big and important decision, so I hope to explain to you what's behind the famous four Cs. It's all about cut, clarity, colour and carats, and where better to come than Graff Diamonds, which has handled some of the most important diamonds of our time, as well as offering an array and choice like very few others can?
The first 'C' to think about when choosing a diamond is the cut. Now, the cut determines the shape of the diamond as well as its brilliance because different cuts have differing numbers of facets, and it's these facets that give the diamond its sparkle. Think of facets like reflective surfaces that shine light through the diamond.
There are many different diamond cuts to choose from, so I'll tell you the most important points for each one. The round brilliant cut is the most popular cut for engagement rings, and I think you can see why; it's because it gives a nice shape on the hand, and it has an awful lot of brilliance as well, thanks to its 57 facets.
The oval shape is in fact a variant of the brilliant cut, so it's got lots of brilliance and sparkle, but it suits petite hands a little bit better.
The pear shape is a really feminine cut I think, and it works beautifully on petite hands. Because it's got the pointed end, it has the effect of elongating the fingers.
The antique style of the cushion cut has gained favour in the past few years, and I think it's because it's that nice combination of a very precise, modern cut, but with a sort of old-fashioned air about it.
My favourite has to be the emerald cut, because it's very, very traditional. It's got these long, clean lines, which make it have a sort of deep shine as opposed to a brighter sparkle, and the emerald cut suits hands like mine, which are quite large and with long fingers, so that's the one for me.
Once you've decided the cut of the diamond, it's really important that you make sure that you buy a good-quality cut, because it's the precision of the cut that determines how much brilliance you will get from a diamond. Now, Graff will only sell cuts that are from excellent to good, which means that you are making the very most of that investment.