Diamond Education

Cut

Cut expresses the diamond’s natural sparkle and has the biggest impact on your diamond’s appearance and beauty. That’s why we suggest you invest in a quality cut and proportioned diamond first and foremost. We’re not saying that carat, clarity and color are unimportant, but sacrificing sparkle for a larger diamond, or one that’s color can only be distinguished under magnification isn’t always the best choice.

In spite of the importance of cut, there weren’t any standardized criteria for cut grading before the mid-20th century. When criteria were finally standardized, it included brightness, fire, scintillation, weight ratio, durability, polish and symmetry. A diamond cutter is trying to maximize each of these to make the diamond more rare and valuable. Needless to say, it takes a master level of craftsmanship to achieve maximum sparkle.

So what’s best? A diamond that has been cut to reflect more light out of the top, resulting in higher levels of fire and brilliance. If the diamond has not been cut to maximize the reflection, then the light is allowed to escape out the bottom and sides, resulting in a dull, dark appearance.

In short, try to pick the diamonds with the best proportions you can to maximize the diamond’s sparkle and beauty.

Color

Just because a diamond looks white doesn’t mean it’s colorless. In fact, the white diamond spectrum ranges from totally colorless to light yellow.  The amount of color in a diamond is signified with a special lettering system that ranges from D to Z.  The letter D is awarded only to rare, totally colorless diamonds.  In other words, the more colorless a white diamond is, the greater its beauty and value.

  • A colorless diamond can be graded D, E or F
  • A near colorless diamond can be graded, G, H, I or J

Colored diamonds, such as pink, blue, chocolate or bright yellow, are also available, but they are rated on a different scale than white diamonds.

Colorless

D
E
F

Near Colorless

G
H
I
J

Faint Yellow

K
L
M

Very Light Yellow

N
O
P
Q
R

Light Yellow

S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z
See the Scale

Clarity

Part of the wonder of diamonds is the fact that they are created by incredible natural forces. In fact, natural diamonds are formed by tremendous heat and pressure deep within the earth. Understandably, the powerful process can result in internal “inclusions” and external “blemishes.” These are simply fancy words for imperfections, or characteristics, as we like to call them.

A diamond’s clarity is determined by the number, size, nature and position of its inclusions and blemishes. No diamond is perfect, but the closer it comes to perfection, the higher its value. A “flawless” diamond is rare. Inclusions seldom affect a diamond’s beauty, although they do affect price.

Internally Flawless

FL
IF

Very Very Slight Inclusions

VVS1
VVS2

Very Slight Inclusions

VS1
VS2

Slight Inclusions

SI1
SI2

Imperfect

I1
I2
I3
See the Scale

Carat Weight

Carat weight is a measure of a diamond’s weight, and a reflection of its size. So two diamonds of slightly different sizes may have the same carat weight.  Size also depends on how evenly weight is distributed and the quality of the cut.  So two diamonds with the same carat weight can vary greatly in value, depending on the color, clarity and most importantly, the cut. It’s really a matter of deciding what matters most to you and then finding the best combination of size, color and clarity for your budget.

Diamond Certification

Most fine diamonds are carefully evaluated by an independent gemological lab, prior to being set. They receive a diamond grading report, or “certificate” that certifies the diamond as genuine and provides information such as color grade, clarity grade, carat weight, cutting and proportioning, etc.  All loose diamonds should be accompanied by a grading certificate or report from a leading independent gemological lab such as: Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Gem Trade Laboratory, European Gemological Laboratory (EGLUSA) or American Gem Society (AGS.) You will receive the original certificate or report with your diamond order.