Before you begin shopping a good understanding of diamond is necessary. Our guide gives you the basics: cut, clarity, color, carat weight and shapes.
A diamond’s cut is how effectively the stone can return light back to the viewer’s eye. A good cut gives a diamond its brilliance, while more poorly cut stones can appear dark and lifeless, regardless of color or clarity. Because cut is so important, several grading methods have been developed to help customers determine the cut of a diamond. These grades are: excellent, very good, good, fair & poor.
The clarity of a diamond has a huge impact on the value of the stone. The clarity rating refers to inclusions (internal flaws) and blemishes (external flaws). For clarity grades F through SI inclusions are not visible to the naked eye.
Diamonds occur in a variety of colors: blue, yellow, orange, red, green, pink, brown and black, virtually in every color of the rainbow. These diamonds are rare and expensive. Diamond color is one of four major characteristics that are considered when determining a diamond’s quality and value. A color grade of D is the highest possible, while Z is the lowest.
This is a unit of measure used to specify a diamond’s weight. A carat is a small unit of measurement equal to 200 milligrams. One carat can also be divided in 100 points. A .50 carat diamond in the same as 50 points or ½ carat diamond. Don’t confuse ‘carat weight’ with ‘karat’, the method of determining the purity of gold.
Diamonds are cut into a variety of shapes. The most popular are round, princess, marquise, pear, emerald and oval. Fancy shapes can be more expensive because they are more difficult to cut.