Diamond Education Center

Finding the Right Diamond

We understand how important finding just the right diamond for that special occasion is to you. 

Click on the headings below for valuable information that will help make choosing a diamond that much easier.

Buying a Diamond

Buying your first diamond is one of the most important purchases you’ll ever make. The diamond industry offers many websites that can provide you with the necessary information to make your best decision. After giving yourself this foundation, you’re ready for the next step: come to see us.

As important as the information-gathering process is, selecting the right jewelry professional is even more important. Compare prices from internet sites so, when shopping in our jewelry store, you will know that we offer lower or competitive prices.

Finally, always remember to compare stones from similar qualities and grading laboratories. GIA, EGL, and AGS are the most widely recognized.

Always compare apples with apples. They may seem the same, but one may be rotten. That’s why the prices may be very different.

Buying a Diamond Online

The internet provides a wealth of information to today’s consumer, usually in an unbiased environment, and has made many industries more price-competitive. This is certainly true of the diamond industry. However, most people prefer working with a professional jeweler they trust when making this important purchase.

When shopping for a diamond, it is important to become as educated as possible about diamonds and available pricing. The internet can be a useful resource during this process. However, when it is time to buy, we recommend asking friends and family members for a referral to a jeweler you can trust.

Conflict Free Diamonds (The Kimberley Process)

The Kimberley Process (KP) is a joint government, industry and civil society initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds – rough diamonds used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments. The trade in these illicit stones has fuelled decades of devastating conflicts in countries such as Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone.

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) imposes extensive requirements on its members to enable them to certify shipments of rough diamonds as ‘conflict-free’. As of September 2007, the KP has 48 members, representing 74 countries, with the European Community and its Member States counting as an individual participant.

We, as wholesale diamond suppliers, also obey by this rule and supply a guarantee not to deal with conflict diamonds. We require all of our suppliers to provide an official written warranty that their diamonds come from Kimberley-certified sources and thus are not involved in funding conflict.

The Warranty Statement reads:

The diamonds herein invoiced have been purchased from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict and in compliance with United Nations Resolutions. The seller hereby guarantees that these diamonds are conflict free, based on personal knowledge and/or written guarantees provided by the supplier of these diamonds.

Understanding the 4 C’s of Diamonds Shopping

 The four categories that we use to evaluate the price of a diamond: 

Carat, Clarity, Color and Cut

Carat (Size)

“How many carats?” or “How big is it?” are usually the questions people ask about a diamond, especially engagement rings. Carat is the measurement of diamond weight and is often confused with the size.

A bigger diamond is not always the best advice when selecting a diamond, since there are many other factors that are equally important. A stone may weigh more in carats but look smaller than it should, an illusion caused by the cut of the stone. For example, a properly cut round brilliant diamond that weighs one carat should be approximately 6.5 mm across. However, a stone weighing much less than that could be cut too shallow to make it appear as large as the properly-proportioned stone. Some jewelers may try to put a higher price on this stone, because it appears to be larger than it really is. The opposite can also occur when a stone is cut too deeply, but weighs the same as a properly cut stone. In both cases, the poorly cut stones cost the jeweler less, but are sometimes not discounted to the public accordingly.

This is a very good reason to always buy certified stones graded by independent laboratories. The stone is evaluated by a third party that is not financially invested in the quality or size of the stone. This means you get an unbiased evaluation.

There are certain points as a diamond’s size increases where the price jumps even more. For example, going up two to four points doesn’t usually have a great impact on the price of a diamond. However, if that increase crosses size categories, the price will change dramatically. Also, diamonds weighing in the oversize range may trade at 5%-10% premiums over similar quality straight sizes. Below you will find the size categories and oversize ranges.

Diamond Sizing Descriptions

Size Category Oversize Range
0.50 – 0.69 0.60 – 0.69
0.70 – 0.89 0.80 – 0.89
0.90 – 0.99 0.96 – 0.99
1.00 – 1.49 1.30 – 1.49
1.50 – 1.99 1.75 – 1.99
2.00 – 2.99 2.50+
3.00 – 3.99 3.50+

Clarity

The number, size, type and location of imperfections in a diamond determine its clarity. These imperfections come in many forms: black piques, feathers and clouds to name a few.

The importance of clarity, as with all of the four C’s, is subjective. Some people value clarity over color or carat, while others may put carat above anything else. It all comes down to individual preference. The non-subjective importance of clarity lies in whether the imperfections affect the appearance of the stone.

Diamonds with a clarity grade of VS and above are not greatly affected by the imperfections because they can only be seen with magnification. Imperfections do not affect the “sparkle” of a diamond unless they are large enough to obstruct light within the stone.

Below is the rating system used for diamond clarity:

Click for Diamond Clarity Descriptions

IF: Flawless, Internally Flawless

VVS: Very, Very Slightly Included (1, 2)

VS: Very Slightly Included (1, 2)

SI: Slightly Included (1, 2)

I: Included (1, 2, 3)

GIA Grade Description

GIA Grade Description

Color

Letters are used to grade the color of diamonds. The letter D is used as the highest or whitest rating. As you move down through the alphabet, the color becomes darker, moving to yellow.

The Gemological Institute of America has provided the industry with the most comprehensive system for evaluating the different color grades. Those colors range from D-Z in the alphabet and then move into the “fancy yellow” grades.

Click for Diamond Color Descriptions

D-F. Colorless

G-J: Near Colorless

K-M: Faint Yellow

N-R: Very Faint Yellow

S-Z: Light Yellow

GIA Grade Description

GIA Grade Description

Cut

Cut is perhaps the most important of the four C’s. It is the cut of a diamond that releases its brilliance. A well-cut H, SI stone will look better than a poorly cut E, VVS stone when they are placed together. The facets are what create the sparkle and scintillation of a diamond.

Just as color and clarity have a grading system, so does cut. In 1919, Marcel Tolkowsky calculated proportions that have become the benchmark for cutting round, brilliant diamonds called the “Ideal Cut” or “American Cut Ideal Brilliant.”

The most widely recognized grading laboratories have developed their own terminologies in evaluating cut. Some are: excellent ideal cut, Tolkowsky ideal cut, AGS 000 and premium cut. All of these terms represent proportions ranging from poor to fair to good to very good to excellent.

Click for Diamond Cut Descriptions

Brightness: Internal and external white light reflected from a diamond

Fire: The scattering of white light into all the colors of the rainbow

Scintillation: The amount of sparkle a diamond produces, and the pattern of light and dark areas caused by reflections within the diamond

When a round brilliant diamond has been cut to “Ideal” proportions by a master cutter, it is a splendor to behold.    

The Ideal Cut Diamond describes a round brilliant diamond that has been cut to exact and mathematically proven proportions.  Its symmetry, with 58 exactly placed facets, produces the ultimate in luster and beauty.

When a diamond is cut to the ideal proportions, all of the light entering from any direction is totally reflected through the top and is dispersed into a display of sparkling flashes and rainbow colors.

Ideal Cut Proportions

Ideal Cut Proportions

 

Light Off the Ideal Cut

Light Off the Ideal Cut

A Premium Cut diamond demonstrates subtle variations from the Ideal Cut. 

Although dimensional differences affect a diamond’s reflection of light, a Premium Cut still achieves a harmonious balance between its proportions and the display of brilliance.  

Premium Cut Proportions

Premium Cut Proportions

Most diamonds are “spread” in their cutting to retain maximum weight from the original rough.  A heavier diamond will result, but at a dramatic sacrifice of potential fire and brilliance.

Ideal Cut

Light entering the diamond reflects internally from facet to facet and is reflected back through the top ONLY, creating maximum brilliance.

Too Deep

When a diamond is cut too deep, light leaks out of the bottom, brilliance is lost and the center of the diamond will appear to be dark. 

Too Shallow

When a diamond is cut too shallow, light leaks out of the bottom, brilliance is lost and the diamond appears watery, glassy, and dark.

Click to Learn Even More from GIA!