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About Diamonds

Diamond Cut

A diamond's cut is not only refers to its shape, but also how effectively the stone can return light back to the viewer's eye. A well-cut diamond will appear very brilliant and fiery, while a poorly cut stones can appear dark and lifeless, regardless of its color or clarity.

Not only do well-cut diamonds appear more brilliant, they also generally appear larger than other stones of the same carat weight. An “ideal” stone has both increased brilliance as well as an increased diameter relative to more deeply cut diamonds.

Anatomy of a Diamond

  • Diameter: Width of a polished stone, measured from edge to edge.
  • Table: Largest polished facet located on the top of the diamond.
  • Crown: The top part of a diamond extending from the table to the girdle.
  • Girdle: The very edge of the diamond where the crown and pavilion meet.
  • Pavilion: The bottom part of a diamond extending from the girdle down to the culet.
  • Depth: The total height of a diamond measured from the table to the culet.
  • Culet: The small or pointed facet at the very bottom of a polished stone.

Well–proportioned diamonds exhibit three different properties: brilliance, dispersion and scintillation. As light strikes a diamond's surface, it will either reflect off the table of a polished stone or enter the diamond. The light that is reflected is known as the diamond's brilliance —the flash of white light one will see when looking at a stone. As light travels through a stone, some of the light rays are separated into flashes of color. This is known as dispersion. The result of dispersion—the separation of white light into its spectral colors— is known as fire. Scintillation is flashes of color that are viewable as an observer moves a diamond back and forth.

Diamond Color

When shopping for a diamond, it is generally preferred to choose a stone with the least amount of color possible. Diamond color is divided into five broad categories.

Colorless Diamonds (D-F):

Diamonds within the colorless range are the most rare and valuable of all those on the color scale. D/E color stones display virtually no color, whereas F colored diamonds will display a nearly undetected amount of color when viewed face down by agemologist.

Near Colorless Diamonds (G-J):

Diamonds within the near colorless range appear colorless in the face up position, but do display a slight amount of color when viewed face down against a perfectly white background. This trace amount of color will be undetectable to an untrained eye once the diamond has been mounted. Near colorless diamonds offer a tremendous value for their price.

Diamond Clarity

Clarity refers to the presence (or absence) of impurities, blemishes or other identifying characteristics within a diamond. Clarity characteristics are what make each diamond unique, since there are no two diamonds that will have the same exact inclusions in the same location(s). There are five factors that determine how a major laboratory like GIA or AGSL assigns a clarity grade to a specific diamond.

GIA Clarity Grades

  • GIA has provided us with a universally understood method of describing clarity grades for diamonds. There are five main clarity grades that can be found on your GIA or AGSL report:
  • FL/IF Diamonds: Flawless: No inclusions under 10x magnification.
  • Internally Flawless: No or only insignificant surface blemishes and no inclusions when examined under 10x magnification. Normally, most blemishes can be removed by minor polishing. Very rare, beautiful and expensive diamonds.
  • VVS1/VVS2 Diamonds: Very Very Slightly Included: Contain minute inclusions that are extremely difficult for an experienced grader to locate under 10x magnification. VVS diamonds are considered very rare and beautiful.
  • VS1/VS2 Diamonds: Very Slightly Included: Contain minor inclusions that range from difficult to somewhat easy to see under 10x magnification. Typical VS inclusions are small crystals, feathers or distinct clouds. In some rare cases, a VS stone can contain an eye–visible inclusion. Excellent quality diamonds.
  • SI1/SI2 Diamonds: Slightly Included: Inclusions are easily visible under 10x magnification to an experienced gemologist and may be visible with the unaided eye. A great value.
  • I1/I2/I3 Diamonds: Included: Diamonds with significant inclusions.

Carat Weight

Carat is a term that refers to the weight of a diamond. Prior to the twentieth century, diamonds were measured using carob seeds, which were small and uniform and served as a perfect counter weight to the diamond. The word "carob” is the origin of the word "carat" that we use today.

Diamond Size and Diamond Carat Weight

The size of a diamond is proportional to its carat weight. When rough diamonds are cut and polished into finished diamonds, as much as 2/3 of the total carat weight may be lost. Since larger rough gems of high quality are found less frequently than smaller rough gems of high quality, a single two carat diamond will be more expensive than two one –carat diamonds of the same quality.

In the United States, the majority of diamonds used in jewelry and sold as loose diamonds are one carat or less in weight. The average engagement ring diamond sold in the U.S. is less than 1/2 carat in weight.

A diamond will increase in weight much faster than it increases in actual "face-up" diameter. For example, while an ideal cut one–carat diamond measures approximately 6.5mm in width, a diamond of twice its weight measures only 8.2mm wide—less than a 30% increase.

Diamond Certification?

A certificate is a blue print of a loose diamond. Wholesalers, retailers and consumers know a certificate as either a diamond grading report or a diamond dossier. A certificate reports a diamond's exact measurements, weight, cut and overall quality. A certificate points out a diamond's individual characteristics and is a very useful tool for identifying a stone. When shopping for a loose diamond, keep in mind that stones that have a grading report will help you make an informed decision on the diamond that is right for you.

GIA Certified Diamonds

GIA is the top-rated and foremost authority on diamonds and colored stones in the world. Diamonds submitted to the GIA receive reliable and consistent grading by 3-6 separate gemologists, who individually grade each and every diamond for an accurate final grade. GIA grading reports are considered to be a hallmark of integrity throughout the diamond world. GIA issues two separate types of reports. One of the more common reports is the full issued GIA document, which contains the full description of the diamond as well as a plotting of the grade, setting and clarity characteristics of that stone. This report is generally used for diamonds one carat and above. The second type of report issued through GIA is the Dossier, which is typically issued for diamonds under one carat. The GIA Dossier contains the full details of each diamond graded. In the Dossier, the plotting which is normally seen on a report has been replaced by a laser inscription registry number, however. This number has been laser inscribed on the diamond's girdle allowing for verification of the stone without a mapping of inclusions. This practice has allowed the GIA to save time and money on issuing full reports on smaller diamonds.

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