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How to Choose a Diamond

For many people, a diamond is the largest purchase of their life. With that consideration, we recognize the importance of understanding exactly what you are buying. This guide simplifies the four Cs — cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. After reading this guide, you will be better prepared to choose the diamond that is right for you.

Shape

Shape refers to the overall outline of the diamond when viewed from the top. Below are the most common diamond shapes.

Round Cut DiamondsPrincess-Cut DiamondsEmerald-Cut DiamondsAsscher-Cut DiamondsMarquise-Cut DiamondsOval Cut DiamondsRadiant-Cut DiamondsPear-Shaped DiamondsHeart-Shaped DiamondsCushion-Cut Diamonds

Cut

The better the proportions of a diamond are the more fire, sparkle, scintillation, and brilliance it will have. This also directly affects the price of the diamond. Ideal cut diamonds are rarer and cost more. Ideal cut diamonds have a table % between 52 and 57%. There is no dimension on depth but most people prefer the depth to be between 59 and 62.5%.

There is also another train of thought that believes that the perfect diamond has a 60-60 make. That means that the depth should be as close to 60% as possible with a few degrees variance either way and the table should be as close to 60% with a couple of degrees variance either way being acceptable. If you stay within these parameters, you should end up with a very beautiful diamond. You can stray one or two degrees outside of these parameters, but the farther away from ideal you go, the more it starts to affect the beauty of the diamond. If the diamond is too deep or two shallow, the light will leak out of the diamond through the bottom instead of shining brightly back up into your eyes.

Color

The highest, rarest and most expensive color is D and goes down in alphabetical order. D,E and F are considered colorless. G, H and I are considered Near colorless. J, K and L are faint yellow and M, N, O are light yellow. The color and the price keeps going down until you reach fancy yellow and then it starts to go up again.

Clarity

The better the diamonds clarity, the more rare and valuable it is. All diamonds have inclusions, even internally flawless diamonds. You just need more magnification to see them. Diamonds are graded with a 10x magnification loupe. There are several grades of clarity but they all fit into one of two categories… diamonds with eye visible inclusions and diamonds with no eye visible inclusions.

Diamonds that show eye visible inclusions are I Clarity, either I1, I2 or I3. I1 diamonds have one or two very tiny eye visible inclusions. I2 have more and I3 are heavily included.

Diamonds that are completely eye clean are most desirable. SI2 and better diamonds are completely Eye Clean. SI2 and better diamonds require a 10x loupe to see the difference. An SI2 will look exactly like an IF to the naked eye. Flawless “FL” and Internally Flawless “IF” are the rarest and most expensive diamonds. The next grade is VVS1 and VVS2. This stands for “Very Very Small” Inclusions. Then Very Small inclusions, VS1 and VS2 and Finally Small Inclusions SI1, SI2 and SI3.

Carat Weight

Diamonds are measured in carat weight. One carat is 100 points. Ex: A 75 point diamond = 3/4 carat or 0.75ct. carat is expressed as “carat” or “ct”.

The larger the diamond, the more rare and valuable it becomes. Diamond prices rise exponentially with carat weight. So, a 1-carat diamond of a given quality is always worth more than two 1/2-carat diamonds of the same quality.

Cost

Some people consider Cost to be a fifth C. We can help you with this C by educating you about diamonds, so that you can make an informed decision about which diamond to buy. The more you know about diamonds, the more pleasant your buying experience will be.

Care

Diamonds should be periodically cleaned to keep the diamond brilliant and refractive. A solution of one part ammonia and six parts water can be used to clean diamond jewelry at home. If cleaning by hand, gentle scrubbing with a soft brush should loosen most dirt and greatly increase the brilliance of the diamond, but be careful not to scratch the metal of your setting.

Once a year, it is a good idea to have your diamond cleaned and have the security of the setting checked.

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