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Choose your Stone

Carat - A carat is a measurement used to signify the weight of the diamond. It is the most precise of the four C’s.

Diamonds are weighed in metric carats; one carat equals 1/5 gram or approximately 0.007 ounces. It takes a little over 142 carats to equal 1 ounce. Every carat is divided into 100 points. Therefore, a 50-point diamond is also called a ½ carat.

Diamond weight is so precise that polished diamonds are weighed to a thousandth of a carat and then rounded off to the nearest hundredth (point). Diamonds weighing less than 20 points are often called melee. Another term often used is the term grain, or grainer.

A grain equals one-quarter (0.25) of a carat. For example, a 75-point diamond would be called in the trade a three grainer and a one-carat stone may be called a four grainer. Loose stones are weighed directly on a scale but mounted stones can only be estimated by plugging their measurements into a mathematical equation. Another quick way of estimating mounted round diamonds is by measuring the diameter of the diamond and comparing it to a size chart.

Color - Diamond color refers to the absence of color. The D-Z diamond color scale is essentially a measurement of the saturation of yellow.

Here is GIA’s definition of diamond color: “The diamond color evaluation of most gem-quality diamonds is based on the absence of color. A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue, like a drop of pure water, and consequently, a higher value. GIA’s D-to-Z diamond color-grading system measures the degree of colorlessness by comparing a stone under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions to masterstones stones of established color value. GIA’s diamond D-to-Z color-grading scale is the industry’s most widely accepted grading system. The scale begins with the letter D, representing colorless, and continues, with increasing presence of color, to the letter Z. Many of these color distinctions are so subtle that they are invisible to the untrained eye; however, these distinctions make a very big difference in diamond quality and price.”

Clarity – Diamond clarity is an important characteristic to consider when shopping for diamonds.

Here is GIA’s definition of diamond clarity - “Natural diamonds are the result of carbon exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep in the earth. This process can result in a variety of internal characteristics called ‘inclusions’ and external characteristics called ‘blemishes.’ Evaluating diamond clarity involves determining the number, size, relief, nature, and position of these characteristics, as well as how these affect the overall appearance of the stone. While no diamond is perfectly pure, the closer it comes, the higher its value.”

There are six categories (11 specific grades) for diamond clarity

  1. Flawless (FL): Using a 10x magnification loupe, there are no inclusions or blemishes visible.
  2. Internally Flawless (IF): No inclusions visible.
  3. Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 & VVS2): Using a 10x magnification loupe, inclusions and blemishes are extremely difficult for a skilled diamond grader to see.
  4. Very Slightly Included (VS1 & VS2): Using a 10x magnification loupe, inclusions and blemishes can be detected, but are classified as minor.
  5. Slightly Included (SI1 & SI2): Inclusions can be detected using a 10x magnification loupe.
  6. Included (I1, I2, & I3): Inclusions are apparent, usually without the aid of a 10x magnification loupe.

Here is a great example of a diamond with several inclusions (as indicated by the red arrows):

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As you can see from the above image, a diamond with several inclusions is not desirable and can often affect the overall appearance of an otherwise perfectly cut diamond.  Here is a diamond with considerably fewer inclusions:

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For many stones the inclusions and blemishes are too small to be seen by anyone other than a trained diamond grader. To the naked eye, a VS1 and an SI2 diamond may look exactly the same, but it’s important to view diamonds in person to make a final decision.  Set up your diamond viewing appointment today to see the differences in person!

Cut – Cut is the human contribution to a diamond’s beauty, brilliance, and fire. The way a diamond is cut can affect all of the other C’s. A well-cut diamond will allow light to enter the stone, bounce off the internal facets and be reflected back through the top, creating the brilliance and fire only a diamond can.

Today’s designs are the result of hundreds of years of experience. In the 1920′s a Russian mathematician by the name of Marcel Tolkowsky began calculating the proportions of the facets in a round diamond to measure what the ideal balance between brilliance and dispersion. Today diamond grading laboratories such as GIA have continued to research the optimal cut proportions for each diamond shape.