Shiels Diamond Buyers Guide

Diamond jewellery is available in a variety of forms and at Shiels we have a different piece to suit any occasion. A diamond engagement ring, wedding band set or some other form of bridal jewellery are traditional jewellery pieces for engagements and weddings. However we also offer gorgeous trend-driven diamond dress rings to suit any occasion.

Shiels doesn’t just have rings, we also stock matching diamond earrings, pendants and bracelets. Lastly, consideration should be given to when and how the jewellery will be worn to ensure that any piece of diamond jewellery can be worn in the way in which it was intended..

What is a diamond?

Diamonds are made of pure carbon and crystallised deep in the earth due to intense pressure and heat, over billions of years. Diamonds, by pure miracle, are brought closer to the Earth’s surface through volcanic eruptions. Diamonds are the hardest, most imperishable, and the most brilliant of the gemstones. It is important to understand the physical properties of a diamond, as this gives an insight into understanding the awe and value given to this gemstone. The event that awakened the world's appreciation of diamond jewellery was the 15th century wedding of Maxmilla of Austria to Mary of Burgundy, where the groom gave the bride a brilliant diamond engagement ring. Today, diamonds suggest emotional themes of commitment, durability and beauty commonly associated with romantic relationships. Becoming more popular is the idea of owning a diamond ‘just because’, to spoil yourself or anyone you love. Forged by nature’s intensity and eons of time, Diamonds from the ancient Greek αδάμας – adámas "unbreakable” are the ultimate symbol of promise, love and celebration. Understandably picking the right diamond is as important to us as it is to you and your story.

What Type?

Picking the right piece is not as simple as what many might assume. With the abundance of different styles, differing budgets, not to mention personal tastes, it's no wonder that diamond jewellery shoppers can feel overwhelmed when trying to find that perfect piece. Lucky Shiels has something special for everyone and every budget. We have compiled the following Diamond Buyers Guide to give you a complete understanding of what to look for when making a purchase.

After all, buying diamond jewellery should be the happiest time in your life! But if in doubt, please see our friendly staff for advice, they have been trained to help you find exactly what you need or contact us here with your queries.

What's My Budget?

Selecting a budget for buying diamond jewellery is deceptively easy; simply evaluate your finances before starting the shopping process to determine the amount that can be comfortably spent. Today, there are no stringent rules on what amount should be spent on particular purchases, forget the old tradition of having to commit a certain amount of salary to a purchase.

Shiels has a gorgeous piece for any budget and don’t forget if you see something you love, there is always our very own NO INTEREST EVER Finance, or ask about our applied finance options. Talk to our friendly staff for details.

What Style?

Shiels has Diamond jewellery in an almost unlimited number of styles, so after determining your desired jewellery type, occasion and budget, let’s figure out what styles you prefer. Shopping for yourself is easy, but for those buying diamond jewellery as a gift it can be much more difficult. Here are a few questions to consider that should help uncover jewellery preferences:

  • What Types of Jewellery do They Currently Have?
  • What Would Look Good With Their Current Style?
  • Are There Friends and Family Who Can Offer advice?

Knowing these details about the preferred style and related characteristics will always help when shopping for the perfect piece of diamond jewellery.

What Size?

Although most commonly associated with the purchase of engagement rings knowing the correct jewellery size is helpful regardless of the type. Rings require an exact measurement and should be taken earlier in the day before any swelling or irritation of the fingers.  Shiels make it easier with our own Ring Sizer. Use our Ring sizer here. Shiels also has fantastic CARE PLANS and resizing is an option for changes in size after your initial purchase. If you get the size wrong, don’t worry Shiels can help you with resizing. Ask our staff about the process and associated costs.

Diamond Quality & The Five Cs

There are traditional ways in assessing the qualities of diamonds. Commonly known as the 4Cs, the diamond grading scale focuses on the comparison of a diamond to a comparably sized perfect example. Buying a diamond is all about finding a balance between these four most commonly assessed characteristics. The fifth C is the Shiels confidence in knowing only the best diamonds will be set in Shiels jewellery.

Diamond Colour

A diamond’s colour is one of the important factors in determining its value. Each diamond is graded using a scale created by one of the leading gemological industry organizations. The nearer a diamond is to being absolutely colourless, the more valuable it will be. Most diamonds used in jewellery will appear to be white or colourless but very few are totally colourless, the majority of stones possess some form of colour. The graduations in colour are so subtle that the only way to pinpoint a diamond’s true colour is to place it next to another diamond that has been previously graded.

While white diamonds are valued for their lack of colour, other diamonds are valued for their depth of colour. These diamonds will have a strong distinct colour such as yellow, brown, green, blue or pink. Coloured diamonds are known as ‘fancies’. Shiels is proud to stock white diamonds but also yellow diamonds our Sunshine Diamond Collection set with white and yellow diamonds. Shiels was also the first jeweller to release an Australian Diamond range including Cognac and Champagne diamonds.

Australian Diamonds – Cognac & Champagne

Coloured diamonds are the world’s most rare, expensive and highly sought-after diamonds. At Shiels, we stock a large variety of cognac and champagne diamonds. These diamonds reflect a beautiful spectrum of uniquely Australian colours. Champagne and cognac diamonds are predominantly mined in Western Australia. They come from the world’s most prestigious diamond producing mine and the beautiful hues of these diamonds perfectly reflect the landscape in which they were born. Shiels is proud to stock a large range of Australian diamonds, especially because we are still an Australian owned and operated company.

Yellow Diamonds (Sunshine Collection)

Yellow diamonds like those featured in the Sunshine Collection are rare, beautiful and sought-after. What makes a yellow diamond different from your traditional white diamond is the amount of nitrogen present. The higher concentration of nitrogen present in the formation period of the diamond, the deeper the yellow colouring. The sunshine yellow brilliance and scintillation of yellow diamonds is only intensified when they are set alongside fine white diamonds.

Traditionally, diamonds are symbolic of love and commitment, but a yellow stone has quite a deeper meaning. Yellow colours are often associated with sunlight and happiness, as well as joy and prosperity. In Imperial China, yellow was only ever worn by royalty due to the sheer cost of producing yellow silk. In modern China, the yellow diamond is growing every popular because of its rarity and is now considered a symbol of wealth and status.

Diamond Carat

The size of a diamond can dramatically affect the value of the stone and the diamond jewellery in which it's used. Generally the larger the stone the greater value, however other important factors also affect value too.

The weight of a diamond is measured in ‘carats’ (sometimes referred to as ‘ct’). It is an ancient measuring unit derived from the seeds of the carob tree. One carat is divided into 100points. Diamonds of less than one carat in weight are known as ‘pointers’.

A diamond is usually priced on a per carat basis, according to its size and quality.



1 carat


¾ carat


½ carat


¼ carat


Diamond Clarity

Nature is rarely perfect and as diamonds are formed in the earth over billions of years, there will inevitably be imperfections as carbon crystallises to become a diamond. These imperfections of crystallisation, which occur in the diamond, are known as ‘inclusions’.

The presence of imperfections, or a stone's clarity, is a large component of assessing the value of diamonds. While diamond jewellery buyers can see imperfections that appear as small cracks or miniscule flecks of black carbon with an eye scope, these blemishes often can't be seen with the naked eye.

There are many types of inclusions that can occur within a diamond. A ‘Feather’ is an inclusion that gives the impression that part of the internal gem is ‘chipped’. This is also known as a ‘Beauty Spot’. There may also be black dots and lines throughout the diamond, which is simply uncrystallised carbon. These are known as ‘Specks’ and ‘Hair Lines’.

The type, number, size and position of the inclusions determine the clarity of a diamond and as long as they do not affect the passage of light through the diamond inclusions often will not detract from its beauty. Often the subtle location of an inclusion can mean that it will have no effect on the look of a diamond at all.

A ‘flawless’ diamond is not necessarily a perfect diamond. It only means that no imperfections are visible to a trained eye, using 10 x magnifications in good light. The chart below is used to grade a diamond based on its imperfection.

Diamond Cut

A diamond cut is a style or design guide used when shaping a diamond for polishing and doesn't actually refer to the shape. Normally most consider the actual shape and appearance of the stone itself, rather than its ability to shine, but the Cut refers to the symmetry, proportioning and polish of a diamond and impacts its brilliance; this means if it is cut poorly, it will be less luminous.

We now know that nature is responsible for a diamond’s size, colour and clarity, yet the cut of a diamond is the work and artistry of an individual. When a diamond is cut precisely to the right proportion, light is reflected from facet to facet until it is bounced back outside the diamond through the top of the stone. For example, if two identical diamonds are placed side by side and one is less brilliant and fiery than the other, the fault lies in the cutting. A careful examination of the duller stone will show that its facet angles and proportions do not match those of a perfectly cut diamond and therefore cannot demand as high a price. Perfect master cutting is no better demonstrated than in Shiels Flawless Cut Collection!

The Flawless Cut Difference

With over 68 years of experience in diamond design, we have perfected the art of elegance and exquisitely crafted diamond jewellery.
We noticed a demand for a diamond that exclusively caters for perfectionists of quality jewellery, using only perfectly cut and polished stones the “flawless cut” – The Flawless Cut brand was born and has grown in demand due to the fact that even an inexperienced eye can easily spot the difference . Our striking Flawless Cut collection is enhanced by the brilliance and performance of the diamond.
We use only the highest of manufacturing standards to ensure each stone is cut to perfection, each and every time. A perfectly cut diamond creates a visual pattern of Hearts and Arrows and each Flawless Cut diamond displays the 8 symmetrical Hearts and 8 symmetrical Arrows – the ultimate expression of love. Each Flawless Cut ring features a diamond set on the inside of the band, symbolising a promise that is as rare as Flawless Cut diamonds.

With a strong focus on attention to detail, we endeavour to enhance the romance of each perfect piece of jewellery for that perfect moment. Each Flawless Cut piece is unique as one’s enduring beauty, in exchange, each piece comes with its very own identity number engraved on the mounting of the piece -no number is ever the same.

Each piece is certified and comes with a customer care pack that includes the certificate relating to your Flawless Cut piece. The customer care pack also boasts a diamond viewer to view the Hearts & Arrows pattern in your perfectly cut diamond, cleaning cloth to keep your diamond looking beautiful and personalised letter. Flawless cut is the best quality and value diamond money can buy.

At Shiels we hope to continue to be part of your life story. View the most gorgeous diamond collection exclusive to Shiels Jewellers here.

The fifth C is the Shiels Confidence

Confidence is the knowledge that you have bought an amazing piece from Shiels, a jeweller that only selects the best pieces for our customers. Our Certified diamonds all come with a certificate and we in no way stock ‘blood diamonds’. Our staff are all trained to help you find the best piece to commemorate your special memories. 

Other considerations when picking a diamond


The brilliance of a diamond is simply the intensity of white light that is reflected by the gem. Due to the fact that diamonds have a great power of refraction, a diamond will always seem to attract light.


Dispersion of fire

Dispersion of fire is manner in which a diamond breaks up a ray of white light into the colours of the spectrum. When a ray of light leaves the top surface of a diamond, it is separated into many colours. When we see this, it is easy to understand why this effect is called the ‘dispersion of fire’.



The flashing and twinkling sparkle of a diamond is called ‘scintillation’. A diamond will always be more beautiful in motion, because its scintillation depends upon the number of facets visible to the eye when the diamond moves.

Diamond Glossary

Blemish: A clarity attribute that transpires on the surface of a diamond. Though some blemishes are natural to the original rough diamond, most are the result of the environment the diamond has experienced since it was unearthed.

Brilliance: The brightness that appears to come from the heart of a diamond. With a level that is unique to diamonds, other gemstones possess lesser levels and don't have the ability to equal the extent of diamond's light-reflecting power. Brilliance is produced primarily when light makes its way into the table, reaches the pavilion facets, and is then reflected back out through the table, where the light is most visible to your eye.

Brilliant Cut: One of three variations of faceting layouts. In this type of arrangement, all facets appear to radiate out from the center of the diamond toward its external edges. It's called a brilliant cut because it is designed to maximize brilliance. There are a number of brilliant cuts like round diamonds, ovals, radiants, princesses and more.

Carat: The unit of weight by which a diamond is measured. One carat equals 200 milligrams, or 0.2 grams originating from the use of carob beans to measure the weight of gemstones.

Carbon Spots: This term refers to imperfections called included crystals that have a dark appearance, rather than a white or transparent appearance, when viewed under a microscope.

Cleavage: The propensity of crystalline minerals, such as diamond, to split in one or more directions either along or parallel to certain planes, when struck by a blow. Cleavage is one of the two methods used by diamond cutters to split rough diamond crystals in preparation for the cutting process (sawing is the other method).

Clouds: A grouping of a number of tiny inclusions that is too small to be distinguishable from one another, even under magnification. Not visible by the naked eye, they look like a soft, transparent cloud under a microscope.

Colour Grading: A system of grading diamond colour based on their colourlessness (for white diamonds) or their spectral hue, depth of colour and purity of colour (for fancy colour diamonds).

Crown: The upper portion of a cut gemstone, which lies above the girdle. The crown consists of a table facet surrounded by either star and bezel facets (on round diamonds and most fancy cuts) or concentric rows of facets reaching from the table to the girdle (on emerald cuts and other step cuts).

Crown angle: The angle at which a diamond's bezel facets intersect the girdle plane. This gentle slope of the facets that surround the table is what helps to create the dispersion, or fire, in a diamond.

Culet: A very small flat facet that diamond cutters commonly add at the base of a diamond's pavilion. Its purpose is to protect the tip of the pavilion from being chipped or damaged.

Cut: This refers both to the proportions and finish of a polished diamond. As one of "the Four Cs" of diamond value, it is the only man-made contribution to a diamond's beauty and value.

Depth: The height of a diamond from the culet to the table.

Depth Percentage: On a diamond grading report, you will see two different measurements of the diamond's depth-the actual depth in millimeters (under "measurements" at the top of the report) and the depth percentage, which expresses how deep the diamond is in comparison to how wide it is. This depth percentage of a diamond is important to its brilliance and value; where that depth lies can be equally important.

Diamond: A crystal made up of 99.95% pure carbon atoms arranged in an isometric crystal arrangement. Diamonds are made of pure carbon and crystallised deep in the earth due to intense pressure and heat, over billions of years. Diamonds, by pure miracle, are brought closer to the Earth’s surface through volcanic eruptions.

Diamonds are the hardest, most imperishable, and the most brilliant of the gemstones

Diamond Cutting: The method by which a rough diamond that has been mined from the earth and shaped into a finished, faceted stone.

Diamond Gauge: An instrument used to measure a diamond's length, width and depth in millimeters.

Dispersion: Also known as "fire" it the manner in which the light is broken and reflected. Components of light are broken into spectral colours (for example, red, blue and green and appears as a play of small flashes of colour across the surface of the diamond as it is tilted.

Emerald Cut: A square or rectangular-shaped diamond with cut corners.

Eye-Clean: A jewellery industry term to describe a diamond with no blemishes or inclusions that are visible to the naked eye.

Facet: The smooth, flat faces on the surface of a diamond. They allow light to both enter a diamond and reflect off its surface at different angles, creating the wonderful play of colour and light for which diamonds are famous.

Fancy Shape: Any diamond shape other than round.

Feathers: These are small fractures in a diamond.

Finish: This term refers to the qualities imparted to a diamond by the skill of the diamond cutter. The term "finish" covers every aspect of a diamond's appearance that is not a result of the diamond's inherent nature when it comes out of the ground.

Fluorescence: An effect that is seen in some gem-quality diamonds when they are exposed to long-wave ultraviolet light.

Gemological Institute of America (GIA): Founded in 1931 by Roger Shipley, this non- profit organization upholds the standards for grading diamonds and is one of the most-respected and well-regarded gemological laboratories in the world.

Girdle: The outer edge, or outline, of the diamond's shape.

Heart-shape Cut: A type of fancy diamond cut, which is cut to resemble the popular Valentine's Day shape.

Inclusion: A clarity characteristic found within a diamond. Most inclusions were created when the gem first formed in the earth.

Laser-Drill Holes: One of the few man-made inclusions that can occur inside a diamond. An intentionally created inclusion can actually raise its clarity grade.

Length-to-Width Ratio: A comparison of how much longer a diamond is than it is wide. It is used to analyze the outline of fancy shapes only; it is never applied to round diamonds.

Marquise Cut: A type of fancy shape diamond which is elongated with points at each end.

Naturals: Small parts of the original rough diamond's surface which are left on the polished diamond, frequently on or near the girdle.

Oval Cut: A type of fancy shape diamond which is essentially an elongated version of a round cut.

Pavé: A style of jewellery setting in which numerous small diamonds are mounted close together to create a glistening diamond crust that covers the whole piece of jewellery and obscures the metal under it.

Pavilion: The lower portion of the diamond, below the girdle.

Pear Cut: A type of fancy shape diamond that resembles a teardrop.

Point: A unit of measurement used to describe the weight of diamonds. One point is equivalent to one-hundredth of a carat.

Polish: Refers to any blemishes on the surface of the diamond which are not significant enough to affect the clarity grade of the diamond.

Princess Cut: A type of brilliant cut fancy shape that can be either square or rectangular.

Radiant Cut: A type of brilliant cut fancy shape that resembles a square or rectangle with the corners cut off.

Ratio: A comparison of how much longer a diamond is than it is wide.

Semi-Mount: A jewellery setting that has the side stones already mounted, but which contains an empty set of prongs which are intended to mount a diamond center stone that the customer selects separately.

Single-Cut: A very small round diamond with only 16 or 17 facets, instead of the normal 57 or 58 facets of a full cut round brilliant.

Step Cut: One of three styles of faceting arrangements.

Symmetry: Refers to variations in a diamond's symmetry. The small variations can include misalignment of facets or facets that fail to point correctly to the girdle (this misalignment is completely undetectable to the naked eye). Symmetry is regarded as a quality indicator of a diamond's cut; it is graded as Ideal, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair or Poor.

Table: The flat facet on the top of the diamond. It is the largest facet on a cut diamond.

Table percentage: The value which represents how the diameter of the table facet compares to the diameter of the entire diamond.

Trilliant Cut: A type of brilliant fancy shape that is triangular.

The beauty of a diamond comes from the light that passes through it, or that is reflected from it. As a ray of light enters the diamond, it changes direction according to the refractive index. This means the ray of light will strike and bounces off every facet within the diamond. The unique beauty of a diamond is due to the combination of three separate elements;

  • brilliance
  • dispersion of fire
  • scintillation