Whether it’s your first time buying a diamond or you’ve got a jewel box that’s full of sparkles, building a foundation of knowledge is important.
- Cut -
The cut of the diamond is very important and can have an impact on not only the value, but the diamond’s ability to sparkle.
The Ideal cut is a round brilliant diamond that has been cut to the exact mathematical proportions that give it the most luster, brilliance, and overall beauty.
The Premium cut is similar to the ideal cut. Although the mathematical proportions are slightly different than the ideal cut, it still strikes a fine balance between carat weight, luster and brilliance.
The Inferior cut can vary greatly in proportions. Often it’s too deep or too shallow. When there are errors or shortcuts in fashioning the finished gem, the diamond doesn’t sparkle.
- Shape -
Round Brilliants are the most common cut for diamonds. When a diamond is cut into a round it takes full advantage of its ability to sparkle and shine. Other shapes are most often not as optically efficient as a well cut, modern round brilliant.
Any other diamond shape is called a fancy cut.
Fancies, when well cut, have character and charm–and they all sell at a discount to Round Brilliants. Some are rare, such as the Asscher cut, and others, like the Princess are very popular.
- Color -
When referring to color in white diamonds, diamond graders are looking for the lack of color. Diamonds appear colorless, but most have a tint of yellow, brown or grey. The grading scale for diamond color as developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) begins at D color (colorless) and ends at Z.
[D-E-F] – Colorless
[G-H-I-J] – Near colorless
[K-L-M] – Faint yellow
[N-O-P-Q-R] – Very light yellow
[S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z] – Light yellow
- Clarity -
Most diamonds contain some sort of internal characteristics, known as inclusions or blemishes, which are on the outer surface of a diamond. Imperfections can come in many different forms, from thin lines, black dots, or white specks or even missing chunks of crystal. The size, placement, color, relief and number of imperfections in a diamond determine its clarity grade.
The GIA’s clarity grading scale is as follows:
[FL-IF] – Flawless, Internally Flawless. No visible (to an expert grader) inclusions under 10x magnification.
[VVS1-VVS2] – Very Very Slight inclusions. Very minute, very difficult to see the inclusions under 10x magnification.
[VS1-VS2] – Very Slight inclusions. Minor inclusions, difficult to locate under 10x magnification.
[SI1-SI2] – Small inclusions. Relatively easy to locate, noticeable under 10x magnification.
[I1-I2] – Imperfect. The inclusions are obvious, and are more likely to be visible to the naked eye.
Keep in mind that imperfections are allowed to increase in proportion to the size of the diamond: it’s possible that a VS clarity three-carat diamond to have an eye visible flaw…and if that diamond is a step cut (Asscher or Emerald Cut), flaws are more visible, regardless of carat weight.
- Carat Weight -
Carat weight is subjective. Put the diamond on a special, sensitive scale.
It is a common misconception that the greater the carat weight, the more a diamond is worth. In fact, a smaller diamond with a better cut, color, and clarity can be worth far more than a larger stone with lower cut, color, and clarity.
- Need more guidance? –
Check out these links on choosing the right metal, shape, and fit for your needs and lifestyle.