Diamond education is the understanding of the 4 C’s of diamonds (color, cut, carat, clarity) and the factors that impact diamond quality and price.
Buying a diamond is an experience, but that doesn’t mean it should be overwhelming. Understanding a diamond’s quality characteristics is simple.
Our diamond education is designed to answer all your questions. It explains a diamond’s characteristics, how those characteristics influence appearance, and which are more important than others. In just a few minutes you’ll know everything you need to know to find your perfect diamond.
The 4Cs of Diamonds
As the name suggests, shape (round, princess, radiant, etc.) describes a diamond’s form, primarily as viewed from above. All diamond shapes have different attributes, but overall the beauty of the individual shapes is a matter of personal taste.
Choose Your Diamond Shape
Since all diamond cut styles are very different, unique characteristics determine quality for each shape. Select your preferred shape below and learn how to recognize the most beautiful diamond in that shape.
The round brilliant cut is the most popular diamond shape used in jewelry today. Diamond cutters have been using the physics of light behavior and mathematics to optimize fire (flashes of colored light reflected back from the diamond) and brilliance (light reflected up from the surface of the diamond) in a round diamond. To get a good balance of brilliance and fire of a round brilliant diamond select one of the two highest cut grades (Excellent or Very Good).
This is the most popular non-round diamond. Its unique cut makes it popular in engagement rings. The princess cut has pointed corners and is traditionally square in shape. When selecting a color grade, with lower color grades the color may be slightly visible in its corners.
The pavilion (bottom portion of the diamond) makes this shape different. It is cut with rectangular facets. It has a larger open table and hereby highlights the clarity of the diamond. To optimize appearance it is advisable to choose an emerald cut with a higher clarity grade (above SI). If you prefer an emerald cut with a squared outline, look at the Asscher cut diamond.
This shape is very similar to the emerald cut, except that it is square. The Asscher cut also has a pavilion (bottom portion of the diamond) that is cut with rectangular facets in the same way as the emerald cut. To optimize appearance it is advisable to choose an emerald cut with a higher clarity grade such as VS. When selecting a color grade, with lower color grades the color may be slightly visible in its corners.
The shape of a marquise diamond allows cutters to maximize carat weight, giving a much larger-looking diamond. When selecting a color grade, with lower color grades the color may be slightly visible in the points of the marquise. This style of cut looks beautiful set with round or pear-shaped side stones and the length of the marquise makes fingers appear long and slender.
Oval diamonds have brilliance similar to a round diamond. They are very popular as their length can accentuate long, slender fingers.
Trimmed corners are the unique feature of this style of cut. They help make the radiant cut versatile for use in jewelry. Radiant cuts look most stunning when set with either baguette or round side diamonds. Radiant cuts vary in their degree of rectangularity.
This style of cut is also called a teardrop because of its single point and rounded end. The look of the pear shape makes it very popular in diamond jewelry. When selecting a color grade, with lower color grades the color may be slightly visible in the point of the pear. If you choose an elongated pear shape, the length of the diamond can create a slimming illusion on the fingers.
The heart is a symbol of love and this makes it a popular choice for use in jewelry. When selecting a color grade, with lower color grades the color may be slightly visible in the point of the heart and corners.
Cushion cut diamonds are also known as pillow cut diamonds, they have rounded corners and larger facets. The larger facets highlight the diamond’s clarity and therefore to optimize its appearance it is advisable to choose a cushion cut with a higher clarity grade (above SI).
GIA Diamond Certification
The GIA’s mission is to increase consumers’ trust in diamonds and jewelry by upholding the highest standards of integrity, academics, science, and professionalism. They work toward this goal by providing jeweler and consumer education, conducting meticulous research, and developing state-of-the-art laboratory instruments for diamond inspections.
GIA Diamond Grading Standards
GIA diamonds are examined by a minimum of four highly trained diamond graders and gemologists. At each step of a diamond’s evaluation, a more senior staff member independently grades the stone. To ensure impartial evaluations, the distribution of diamonds to graders is a completely random process.
after a diamond’s carat weight is determined, its measurements, depth, table, angles, culet, and girdle thickness are recorded.
a diamond’s color is graded on a scale ranging from d (colorless) to z (light yellow) by comparing it to master stones of a predetermined color.
clarity is assessed on a scale ranging from fl (flawless) to is (included) based on an examination of the stone under a binocular microscope of 10x magnification. the stone’s characteristics are plotted on a diamond diagram.
DIAMOND CUT GRADE
the cut grade is established for brilliant round-cut diamonds based on the analysis of the stone’s craftsmanship and light interaction. the level of a diamond’s craftsmanship is determined by evaluating its polish, symmetry, and proportions. the stone’s light interaction is based on its brightness, scintillation, and fire. the GIA designates the quality of a cut on a grading scale ranging from excellent to poor.
POLISH & SYMMETRY
a diamond is evaluated for polish and symmetry on a grading scale ranging from excellent to poor. the grade is based on an inspection of the diamond’s craftsmanship.
a diamond’s fluorescence is determined as none, faint, medium, or strong based on its reaction to ultraviolet light.
for added security and identification, a diamond’s girdle can be laser inscribed with its gia report number. the gia offers laser inscription services for all of the loose diamonds they grade.
GIA Diamond Grading
The GIA Diamond Grading Report is issued for diamonds that fall in the D-Z color range. This detailed report a full quality analysis of shape and cutting style, measurements, carat weight, color grade, clarity grade, cut grade (for brilliant round-cut diamonds), polish and symmetry assessments, and fluorescence. The report also includes a plotted diagram indicating the relative size and location of clarity characteristics, a proportion diagram, and GIA grading scales.
Independent Diamond Certification
What is diamond certification, and how are diamonds independently certified? Independent certification is your assurance that you’re getting a quality diamond that is accurately graded without bias.
Before being purchased, many diamonds are sent to a third-party laboratory for comprehensive evaluation; this process is known in the industry as diamond certification. A respectable laboratory is one staffed by professional gemmologists who specialise in diamond grading. The diamond’s clarity, color, cut and weight is measured using a jeweler’s loupe, microscope, and other industry tools.
Laboratory certification provides an impartial judgement of the quality and characteristics of each diamond. The certificate (called a grading report or dossier) gives the purchaser added confidence that the diamond received is as described by the seller. The certificate is also valuable for insurance purposes, as it provides a professional and independent evaluation of the diamond.
It must be understood that a diamond certificate is not a valuation or appraisal. A valuation or appraisal will establish the value on an item (usually for insurance purposes). A diamond certificate does not assess the diamonds market value, only its characteristics and quality. However, a diamond certificate from a reputable laboratory is very helpful to produce an accurate valuation or appraisal.
Engagement Ring Guide
An engagement diamond ring may be the biggest purchase you’ve ever made. And with the right information, you’ll be able to spend your budget on the diamond qualities and material that are most important to you. Use our guide to help you choose the perfect engagement ring for your bride-to-be.
Choosing the Right Metal for Your Engagement Ring
It’s time to buy an engagement ring — and there are so many factors to consider. Choosing the metal alone is a more complex decision than it used to be. Where it once was a simple choice between yellow and white, now you have a whole range of possibilities to consider, including:
- What’s the difference between white gold and platinum?
- What exactly is rose gold?
- How do newer, alternative metals popular in men’s wedding rings, like titanium and tungsten carbide, complement gold and platinum in engagement rings?
Take it one step at a time — starting with the type of metal — and you’ll end up with a ring that suits her style and that she’ll cherish forever. Use this as your guide to the different types of metals available for ring settings.
Gold jewelry usually comes in these colors:
Classic yet fashionable, yellow gold achieves its warm patina from the red of copper and the green hue of silver. Yellow gold lost favor to white gold for a while, but has recently regained popularity.
More contemporary than yellow gold, white gold gets its silvery white character from combining yellow gold with copper, zinc and nickel (or palladium). It’s plated with a hard element called rhodium (a platinum group metal), which costs about four times as much as platinum, resists scratches and tarnishing, and gives white gold a reflective appearance. However, it may wear away over time, requiring a quick trip to your jeweler for re-plating.
Unique and romantic, rose gold has a warm, pink hue created by combining yellow gold with a copper alloy. The overall percentages of metal alloys are the same for rose gold as they are for yellow or white; it’s just a different mixture of alloys used.
Platinum is a naturally white metal with a cool luster that showcases the brilliance and sparkle of diamonds beautifully. It’s a popular choice for engagement rings and wedding bands, and is considered the most precious of all jewelry metals.
Compared to gold, platinum is five times as rare and purer when used in jewelry. Platinum is durable, making it a good option if your fiancée leads an active lifestyle — its density provides a secure setting for diamonds or gemstones. Platinum is also naturally hypoallergenic, so so it’s a great choice for those with sensitive skin.
Tips for Prong Options
The biggest tips for buyers considering different prong options is to think about their everyday lifestyle. It is much more important to find a ring that is added seamlessly than a ring that is beautiful but requires special treatment. Whether the buyers choose a claw prong engagement ring, a heart prong engagement ring, a high prong engagement ring, or a shared prong engagement ring, they still have to consider the choice of metal and the number of prongs in order to find a ring that is perfect for them.
Choose Your Diamond Shape
To start, find out what shape she likes. Popular diamond shapes include round, oval, princess-cut, emerald-cut, Ascher-cut, marquise-cut, radiant-cut, pear-shaped, and heart-shaped diamonds. The majority of diamond engagement rings today are set with a round diamond. And most of the remaining rings are set with princess-cut diamonds.