- COLOR - CLARITY
Before you start diamond shopping, you want to have an understanding
of what you're buying. This guide simplifies the four Cs of
diamonds cut, color, clarity, and carat weight, so you can
select your diamond based on the same criteria jewelers use
to grade them.
After reading through this guide, you'll be ready to choose the diamond that's right for you.
The cut of a diamond has the most effect on its sparkle, or brilliance. Even if the diamond has perfect color and clarity, a poor cut can make a diamond look dull. We carry only the highest grades of diamond cut, for the most sparkle. Learn how to choose the right diamond cut with the most brilliance for your budget.
The cut of a diamond — its roundness, its depth and width, the uniformity of the facets — all determine a diamond's brilliance. Many gemologists consider cut the most important diamond characteristic because even if a diamond has perfect color and clarity, a diamond with a poor cut will have dulled brilliance.
The width and depth have the greatest effect on how light travels within the diamond, and how it exits in the form of brilliance.
Too Shallow: Light is lost out the bottom causing the diamond to lose brilliance.
Too Deep: Light escapes out the sides causing the diamond to appear dark and dull.
Cut Determines Brilliance
The diamond's proportions, specifically the depth compared to the diameter, and the diameter of the table compared to the diameter of the diamond, determine how well light will reflect and refract within the diamond
- Diameter: The width of the diamond as measured through the girdle.
- Table: The largest facet of a gemstone.
- Crown: The top portion of a diamond extending from the girdle to the table.
- Girdle: The narrow band around the widest part of a diamond.
- Pavilion: The bottom portion of a diamond, extending from the girdle to the culet.
- Culet: The facet at the tip of a gemstone. The preferred culet is not visible with the unaided eye (graded "small" or "none").
- Depth: The height of a gemstone measured from the culet to the table.
Polish & Symmetry Affect Sparkle
Polish and symmetry are two important aspects of the cutting process. The polish grade describes the smoothness of the diamond's facets, and the symmetry grade refers to alignment of the facets. With poor polish, the surface of a facet can be dulled, and may create blurred or dulled sparkle. With poor symmetry, light can be misdirected as it enters and exits the diamond. The polish and symmetry grades are clearly listed within the AGSL or GIA diamond grading report. For the most beautiful diamond, look for a symmetry grade of ideal (ID), excellent (EX), very good (VG), or good (G) for an AGSL graded diamond, and excellent (EX), very good (VG), or good (G) for a GIA graded diamond. Avoid diamonds with symmetry grades of fair (F) or poor (P), as the alignment of their facets may misdirect light so severely that it affects the brilliance of the diamond.
Diamond measurements are calculated and applied to a cut grading scale that makes it easy to understand how well each reflect light :
- Ideal cut: Represents roughly the top 3% of diamond quality based on cut. Reflects nearly all light that enters the diamond. An exquisite and rare cut
- Very good cut: Represents roughly the top 15% of diamond quality based on cut. Reflects nearly as much light as the ideal cut, but for a lower price.
- Good cut: Represents roughly the top 25% of diamond quality based on cut. Reflects most light that enters. Much less expensive than a very good cut.
- Fair cut: Represents roughly the top 35% of diamond quality based on cut. Still a quality diamond, but a fair cut will not be as brilliant as a good cut.
- Poor cut: This includes all diamonds that do not meet the proportion standards of a fair cut. These diamonds are deep and narrow or shallow and wide and tend to lose most of the light out the sides and bottom.
Which Cut Grade is Best?
For a diamond with the best cut, that will look exceptional even when viewed under a microscope, look to the Ideal Cut diamonds. These diamonds reflect the most brilliance because they are cut to the most exacting proportions, and have the highest polish and symmetry grades for round diamonds, and have either excellent or very good for princess-cut, emerald-cut, and asscher-cut diamonds .
For the best value in a brilliant diamond, choose a diamond with a cut grade of good or very good, and polish and symmetry grades of very good or good.
In an ideal- or very-good cut diamond with very good or good polish and symmetry, consider less expensive grades of color and clarity — look for a diamond with G or H color and SI1 or SI2 clarity.
Diamonds with very little color are the most highly valued
and are priced accordingly. A little color can diminish a
diamond's brilliance. To help you choose the most brilliant
diamond, we offer diamonds with the highest grades of color.
Learn how to choose a diamond with no color noticeable to
the unaided eye.
Acting as a prism, a diamond can divide light into a spectrum of colors and reflect this light as colorful flashes called fire. Just as when looking through colored glass, color in a diamond will act as a filter, and will diminish the spectrum of color emitted. The less color in a diamond, the more colorful the fire, and the better the color grade.
Diamonds graded better than J are colorless or near-colorless — their color is typically undetectable to the unaided eye.
The color in diamonds graded K-Z detracts from the beauty of a diamond. It's especially noticeable set in platinum or white gold.
A Note About Fluorescence
Some people seek diamonds that produce this unique effect, while others definitely avoid it. The visible effects of fluorescence grades of faint, inert, negligible, and medium, can only be detected by a trained gemologist. A fluorescence grade of strong or very strong can make a diamond with a near-colorless grade look even whiter yet in some instances give the diamond a slight hazy or oily appearance. Diamonds with a strong or very strong fluorescence are priced slightly lower than other diamonds.
What Color Grade is Best?
- For the purist, look for a colorless diamond with a grade of D-F and a fluorescence rating of faint, inert, none, or negligible.
- For an excellent value in a diamond with no noticeable color to the unaided eye, look for a near-colorless grade of G-I, and a fluorescence grade of medium or strong blue
- Or, if you'd rather not compromise on color but would like to stay on budget, choose a diamond with a good cut, SI1–SI2 clarity, and consider going with a strong fluorescence. It will still be beautiful to the unaided eye and you may prefer the unique effect of a strong fluorescence.
Diamonds with few flaws, or inclusions, are very rare and highly valued. Clarity is graded based on the number, location, size, and type of the inclusions found in a diamond. Learn how to choose the right grade of clarity for your diamond.
Diamonds that are absolutely clear are the most sought-after and therefore the most expensive. But many diamonds have inclusions — scratches, trace minerals or other tiny characteristics that can detract from the pure beauty of the diamond. The GIA and AGSL use a detailed system of rules and standards to summarize the number, location, size, and type of inclusions present in a diamond.
FL, IF Diamonds:
Flawless: No internal or external flaws. Internally Flawless: No internal flaws. Very rare and beautiful diamonds.
VVS1, VVS2 Diamonds:
Very, Very Slightly Included: Very difficult to see inclusions under 10x magnification. An excellent quality diamond.
VS1, VS2 Diamonds:
Very Slightly Included: Inclusions are not typically visible to the unaided eye. Less expensive than the VVS1 or VVS2 grades.
SI1, SI2 Diamonds:
Slightly Included: Inclusions are visible under 10x magnification, and may be visible with the unaided eye. A good diamond value.
I1, I2, I3 Diamonds:
Included: visable buy an unaided eye.
What Clarity Grade is Best?
We recommend that you select an "eye-clean" diamond — one that has no inclusions visible to the unaided eye. An excellent value, diamonds of this clarity are much less expensive than IF- or FL-grade diamonds and typically do not contain visible inclusions that detract from the beauty of the diamond. But, if you'd rather not compromise on clarity yet are budget conscious, choose a diamond with a good cut and G or H color.
The weight of a diamond is measured in carats. Since larger
diamonds are more rare than smaller diamonds, diamond value
tends to rise exponentially with carat weight. Read more about
carat weight and learn how to balance diamond quality with
the size of your diamond.
When diamonds are mined, large gems are discovered much less frequently than small ones, which makes large diamonds much more valuable. In fact, diamond prices rise exponentially with carat weight. So, a 2-carat diamond of a given quality is always worth more than two 1-carat diamonds of the same quality.
What Size is Best?
To choose the best carat weight of diamond, consider her style, the size of her finger, the size of your setting, and your budget.
If you have a set budget, explore all your options and you'll find that there is a wide range of diamond carat weights and qualities available in your price range.
If your recipient is very active or not used to wearing jewelry, she may find herself bumping or nicking her new ring. Consider a smaller size diamond or a setting that protects a larger diamond from getting knocked against doors and counters.
Also keep in mind that the smaller the finger, the larger the diamond will appear. A 1½-carat diamond solitaire looks much larger on a size 4 finger than a size 8.
But the best way to determine what size is best is by getting an idea of what she is expecting. If you plan carefully, you can get some answers without even raising her suspicions.
Many people think diamonds are indestructible, but they do require care. Read how to keep your diamond sparkling, and securely set in your ring.
Diamonds are the hardest substance on earth. They are uniquely resistant to damage by heat or scratching, and can be cut or polished only by another diamond — but an extremely hard blow to the girdle can cause a diamond to chip. By having your diamond set in a relatively protective setting, and remaining conscious of it on your finger, you can keep your diamond intact for a lifetime. Exposure during ordinary wear to perspiration and household chemicals, like chlorine and hairspray, can cause buildup that dulls the surface of a diamond. We suggest periodic cleanings to keep the diamond brilliant and refractive.
Cleaning Your Diamonds
A solution of one part ammonia and six parts water can be used to clean diamond jewelry at home. If cleaning by hand, gentle scrubbing with a soft brush should loosen most dirt and greatly increase the brilliance of the diamond, but be careful not to scratch the metal of your setting. Once a year, it is a good idea to have your diamond cleaned and have the security of the setting checked .
Storing Your Diamond Jewelry
We recommend that all diamond jewelry is stored individually in soft cloth pouches when not being worn to prevent the diamond or diamonds from scratching or dulling other jewelry.