Carat is the unit in which a diamond is weighed. One carat equals to 0.2 grams or 200 milligrams. Carat weight is the prime factor that determines the weight of a diamond. Larger diamonds are undoubtedly costlier. Carat makes expressing diamond weight easier as compared to milligrams. Instead of giving three labels to diamonds weighing 20 milligrams, 211 milligrams and 220 milligrams, carat offers a category for fitting the diamonds in a one category, placing these diamonds in one-carat range.
One should not forget that high carat weight does not necessarily mean a larger looking diamond. Even diamonds of the same weight can differ on a basis of other factors, especially cut that influences perceived size. Large diamonds are rare to find and much in demand as compared to small diamonds even of the same quality. The price of a one-carat solitaire diamond ring is more than a ring with smaller diamonds making up the same carat weight. Diamond comparison is not effective until you compare the diamonds of similar features and qualities. While comparing the value of different diamonds, divide cost of every diamond in accordance with the carat weight and then calculate its price per carat.
While the jeweler talks about the diamonds color, he is referring to the absence and presence of the color in the diamond. Color of a diamond is a result of diamond's composition and does not change with time. Colorless diamonds allow light to travel through them as compared to the colored diamonds. These diamonds also emit more fire and sparkle. The process through which a diamond is formed is the deciding factor of its color. The whiter the diamond is, the higher value it will have.
For grading the color of diamonds, jewelers refer to GIA's color scale that starts the rating with D for the colorless diamonds and grows up to Z as the traces of light yellow or brown color are found in the diamond. Diamonds graded from D to F are amongst the most desirable and valuable stones. These diamonds are a delight for diamond lovers. Nevertheless, if you have a lower budget, you can also find good diamonds with lower grades. These diamonds are not exactly colorless, but show no color to the untrained eye.
Consider the setting of the diamond before choosing the grade of a diamond. If the setting for your diamond is platinum or white gold, go for high color grades, if you want to get it fitted in yellow gold, slightly low grade diamonds can also look great. While you will find faint yellow hint in the diamonds that are graded from J to M, the color can be camouflaged by choosing the right setting for the stone. Many people prefer the warm glow given by low color diamonds.
Fluorescence is found in diamonds while they are exposed to ultraviolet light with long waves. Under most lighting conditions, this effect cannot be seen by the naked eye. Some people prefer diamonds without this effect while others look for it. It is all about the aesthetics.
Diamond clarity refers to the characteristics of the diamond, including the blemishes and inclusions. If you consider the natural pressure that a diamond is under when created, and that diamonds are not produced in sterile laboratories, you will not be surprised to find that most diamonds are not free of flaws.
Usually there are two kinds of flaws found in diamonds - blemishes and inclusions. Inclusions are naturally occurring internal flaws that are found in diamonds including cracks, air bubbles, and mineral. However, most blemishes occur during the cutting process. Diamonds that have less blemishes and inclusions are considered more valuable than diamonds with more blemishes and inclusions.
On a basis of clarity, grades are given to diamonds under loupe magnification. These grades vary from diamonds that do not have blemishes or inclusions to those that do. The range of clarity grades include: F, IF, VVS1-VVS2, SI1-SI2, and I1-I2-I3. The diamond’s clarity grade is proof of the diamond’s identity.
GIA certificates consist of a diamonds inclusion plot, as there is no similarity between two diamonds. The plot of the GIA certificate ensures the worth of the diamond you are planning to buy. It lets you have the assurance that the diamond you are receiving is the one you have paid for. If you are in a fix about what clarity grade you should choose, flawless is the best and rarest clarity grade.
Diamonds that are VS and VVS grades are great in terms of appearance and value. You can also invest in less expensive options that include SI2 and SI1 where inclusions can also not be seen by the naked eye.
People often confuse diamond shape with diamond cut. Shape of the diamond is the outward appearance. When the diamond jewelers use the word cut, they are referring to reflective qualities of the diamond not their shape. Quality of diamond cut is a crucial part of 4Cs of diamonds. A great cut provides brilliance to the diamond. Finish and angles of all the diamonds lets you determine the diamond's ability to handle light that results in its brilliance.
When a diamond has a good cut, light travels through it easily, adding to its spark. The light that is passed through the diamond because of its cut is solely responsible for making the diamond shine and increase its desirability. If a diamond is not cut properly, light enters through the table and after reaching the facets, the light leaks out from the bottom or the sides, cutting down the diamond’s brilliance.
Many gemologists believe that the best diamond cuts are made after following a formula calculated for maximizing brilliance. The formula is in the proportions of the diamond, especially in the context of how depth compares to diameter. If you are buying diamonds without GIA certificates, invest some time finding certified diamonds and gain some knowledge for identifying better cuts.
Variance in proportions to poor cut and ideal cut is difficult to find out by the casual observer. As cut is important, you can make use of different grading methods for determining the cut of a specific diamond. Selection of grade cut is based on a person's preference. For making the best selection, one needs to be acquainted with different grades.
Ideal diamond cut has maximum brilliance and the small table size of these diamonds work in the best possible way to create fire or dispersion. With ideal cut diamonds, you can be sure of having the finest return on money invested. This category is just for round shaped diamonds. Premium cuts are also equivalent to ideal cuts in round diamonds but the price is slightly lower. Very Good diamond cuts reflect maximum light entered in, providing fair amount of brilliance to the diamonds.
Good Cut diamonds reflect most of the light that passes through them. The proportion of these diamonds is outside the preferred range. Diamonds that fall under this category will allow you to save money without compromising on the beauty and quality of the diamond. Fair and Poor quality diamonds reflect a very little proportion of light that is entered through them. These diamonds are cut in order to increase carat weight above all other considerations.
The width of the diamond as measured through the girdle.Table:
The 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 edge of the diamond where the crown and pavilion meet.Pavilion:
The bottom part of a diamond that extends from the girdle down to the culet.Culet:
The small or pointed facet at the very bottom of a diamond.Depth:
The height of the diamond as measured from the table to the culet.
-Round – Round brilliant cut diamonds are by far the most popular and most in demand of all diamond shapes. Approximately 70-80% of engagement ring purchases are round brilliant cuts. With 58 facets, they are crafted in a way that maximizes the light that is reflected through the top of the diamond. These precise dimensions are set in a way that optimizes the fire and brilliance of the diamond, helping to make round diamonds the timeless classics they are. The “excellent” cut diamond has the mathematical proportions to allow for optimal light return. This is the only shape that GIA will designate a cut grade for. If you are looking for the most sparkle and the most scintillating, the round brilliant cut is the classic shape we recommend. You also have much more flexibility when it comes to choosing color and clarity.
Fancy Cut Diamonds:
Fancies are all diamonds that have outline shapes other than round:
-Princess – Formally known as Square Modified Brilliant diamonds, princess cuts represent the most popular diamond shape after round cuts. Princess cuts have a distinct square shape and dimensions that optimize the diamond’s brilliance. Princess cuts are also very versatile, pairing easily with most settings. You can get very good value for your money with princess shaped diamonds. Ideally, you want a perfect square when buying a princess cut, in the length to width ratio range of 1 to 1.05, but you can also find a princess that is more rectangular in shape. We recommend making sure the diamond is set with prongs on all four corners to reduce damages to the stone.
-Oval – Oval diamonds are modified from round brilliant cuts but are elongated, giving off a larger size. Like all other fancy shaped diamonds, ovals are a less expensive option compared to the more in demand round shape. The dimensions of oval diamonds allow for a similar fire and brilliance as round cuts, but again, at a lower price. In fact, ovals have the same number of facets as a round brilliant diamond -58- but have a larger table. Another benefit of ovals is the elongated shape can make your finger appear slimmer.
-Cushion – Cushion shaped diamonds are also a timeless piece. Cushions are similar to round cuts but they are more square shaped with rounded corners, as well as have larger facets to capture the brilliance and accentuate the fire. The shape, which is derived from an old mine cut, resembles a pillow, giving it a very romantic feel. Cushions have been around for over 100 years, and there are multiple variations, including cushion brilliant cuts and modified cushion brilliant cuts, and the shapes can range from square to rectangular. It’s also important to pay attention to clarity when purchasing cushion cuts due to the larger facets.
-Emerald – Emeralds cut diamonds are rectangular in shape, with cut corners, giving the diamond its prominent look. Emerald cuts are unique in that they are step cut. While other shapes have more depth allowing the light to bounce around to create their brilliance, emerald cut diamonds are crafted in a way where most of the carat weight is at the top of the stone, creating a more elegant look as well as making the diamond look larger than other shapes of the same carat weight. This also puts an emphasis on the clarity of the stone because of the larger table. When buying emeralds, pay careful attention to the clarity, to make sure there are no visible inclusions to the naked eye.
-Asscher – A vintage style diamond, the Asscher cut is similar to the emerald cut in that it is a step cut diamond, though it is square shaped as opposed to the rectangular emerald. The mirrored staircase effect of the step cut highlights the clarity of the diamond, placing an emphasis on purchasing Asscher cuts of a higher clarity grade. If you want a more mature or classical look, we would recommend an Asscher cut.
-Radiant – Formally known as Cut Cornered Square Modified Brilliant, radiant cut diamonds are younger than most of their diamond shape counterparts, having been created in the 1970’s. Radiant cuts are hybrids of round cuts and emerald cuts, combining the fire and brilliance of the round with the silhouette of the emerald, as well the brilliant facets of a round and the cut corners of a step cut. The result is a non-traditional, unique diamond shape that is able to mask certain inclusions and color issues.
-Pear – Also known as a tear drop diamond, the pear shape is also a hybrid of two other diamond shapes, the ever-popular round cut and the unique marquise shape. The result is an elegant shape that has a round top and a pointed edge on the opposite end. While you must pay careful attention to the dimension and symmetry when choosing a pear cut, you will enjoy the slimming impact it creates on your finger.
-Heart – Heart shaped diamonds can be very romantic, as the heart is the symbol of love and what would be more appropriate for an engagement ring? However you must be very careful when purchasing a heart shaped diamond. To get the full effect of this romantic shape, you want a larger stone, which will obviously be more expensive. Further, this is in turn means you need a diamond higher on the color scale, as the larger stone will show its color more clearly. Lastly, symmetry is crucial here as the heart is by nature a symmetrical shape, so a poor cut will lead to an awkward looking diamond. Ultimately, if you go with a heart shape, make sure you do it right!
-Marquise- Another classic, unique shape, marquise cut diamonds are known for maximizing the carat weight, making the diamond look bigger than it is. The distinct shape has pointed ends on the top and bottom and curved edges on the side. Like the oval shape, this diamond is very flattering on the fingers. It also gives you a great bang for your buck. However, with marquise cut diamonds, you must pay attention to color and clarity as well as try to avoid a bow tie in the middle.