This section describes the key characteristics of a diamond along with tips for its care. Understanding these characteristics, will enable you to shop with confidence.
A diamond's cut is the most important property to enhance its beauty because a well-cut diamond reflects light to maximize the stone's brilliance. A diamond with perfect color and clarity could have poor brilliance if it is not well cut.
After proper cutting, the size of the stone may reduce by half, but its market value may increase more than four times for its brilliance and sparkle. Diamonds have a unique ability to manipulate light efficiently. This exceptional ability can be realized and maximized only by cutting and polishing the diamond with an extremely high level of accuracy.
It is very essential to know diamond anatomy before understanding cut.
The cut of a diamond establishes how it reflects light, which is responsible for its sparkle or brilliance. Cut has following three components:
Diamond Cut by Shape
A diamond cut by shape describes the outline of the stone and pattern of the facet arrangement. A stone can be cut in various shapes like Round, Princess, Heart, Oval, Pear etc. We will further explore various diamond Shapes in the Shape section.
Diamond Cut by Depth
A diamond cut by depth is the ultimate feature for its brilliance and fire.
The quality of a diamond's cut can be determined on the basis of its power to reflect light. The cuts can be broadly characterized as Ideal, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair or Poor. Ideal or Excellent cuts release the inner brilliance of the stone and project maximum amount of fire and sparkle. Very Good, Good and Fair cuts lose some light that enters the diamond. A poor cut loses most of its light from the diamond sides / bottom and it may even have some "dead" spots inside.
Diamond Polish and Symmetry
Polish and symmetry are two important aspects of the cutting process. The diamond polish shows the smoothness of the diamond's facets, whereas the symmetry refers to alignment of the facets. A poor diamond polish, or rough facets, can diminish a diamond's brilliance, as well as its value.
Diamonds are found in all colors of the rainbow, from colorless and transparent stones to ink black ones. Varying degrees of yellow or brown color is common in most of the diamonds and a slight difference in color can make a substantial difference in value. A truly colorless diamond is extremely rare and considered the most valuable. It allows the most light to pass through the stone and create the most brilliance.
During the formation of diamond from carbon, certain chemicals may have been drawn into the mix and result in added tinges of color in the transparent stone.
Most diamonds appear white to the naked eye, but they all include trace amounts of yellow or brown color. The color scale goes from D to Z, with D being the most white and Z being the most yellow. The best way to see the true color of a diamond is by looking at it against a white surface.
Diamond Color Grade Table
Fancy Colored Diamonds
Although majority of diamonds come in shades of white, there are also "Fancy" natural intensely colored diamonds available in colors like yellow, pink, greens, brown, red, orange, blue etc. These intensely colored diamonds are very rare, attractive and desirable. A deeply colored diamond can cost more than its colorless counterpart. These intensely colored diamonds are known as "Fancy" colored or "Fancies". Fancy colored diamonds are graded in two ways. The first factor is the basic hue, such as pink, yellow, blue, green, etc. The second is the intensity. Both color characteristics form the basis for determining a fancy colored diamond's worth. In fancy colored diamonds, a Z+ grade is used for their color grading. Usually, the more intense the color, the rare and expensive the diamond will be. For example, a fancy light pink diamond costs less than a fancy vivid pink diamond of equal size, shape and clarity. Though fancy colored diamonds rarely occur in nature, laboratories can easily create them through irradiation and heating. This process can permanently turn a natural colorless diamond into a fancy colored diamond. Treatments have also been developed to make lower-color white diamonds whiter. Irradiated colored diamonds have a significantly lower value than natural fancy diamonds and can be detected in a gem laboratory.
Fluorescence is a form of illumination that is created when a diamond is exposed to low or high wave ultraviolet radiation. Fluorescence up to some extent is common in the majority of diamonds. Faint or medium fluorescence will rarely affect a diamond's appearance. Usually fluorescence remains unnoticed by human eyes in ordinary light.
Clarity is a term used to describe the absence or presence of flaws inside or on the surface of a diamond. In other words, the clarity of a diamond refers to a diamond's clearness or purity.
When these flaws / marks occur internally, they are called inclusions. The most common types of inclusions include crystals, (tiny bubbles representing small minerals that were absorbed into the diamond while it was growing), internal graining, needles, knots, chips, cavities, cleavage, feathers, and clouds. On the contrary, when these flaws / marks occur on the surface, they are known as blemishes. The most common types of blemishes include polish lines, naturals, scratches, nicks, pits, transparent stress lines that appear on a diamond's surface, surface graining, and extra facets. Blemishes are usually cut to remove a near-surface inclusion to raise the clarity grade of a stone. Most diamonds have these imperfections in them. Although many of these flaws are not visible to the naked eye, but under magnification, tiny featherlike shapes, crystals, bubbles and dark flecks become noticeable. These slight flaws make every diamond quite unique but they also affect the beauty and value of the diamond.
A diamond's clarity is based on the number, size, nature, and location of imperfections on the finished stone. A diamond with higher clarity is more valuable in comparison to a diamond that contains numerous inclusions because it is less brilliant, as the inclusions interfere with light passing through it.
Diamond Clarity Grading Scale Table
The term "Carat" refers to the weight of a diamond. It is derived from the carob seeds, which are remarkably consistent in weight and shape and so were the favored scale balances in ancient times. This weight scale was standardized in 1907 and after that 1 carat became 0.2 grams or 1/142 of an ounce. Furthermore, each carat is divided into 100 points. Therefore, a ¼ carat diamond is 25 points and ½ carat diamond is 50 points and so on. This term ''Carat'' is different from the term ''Karat'' which is used to describe gold's fineness or purity. When we consider all four Cs that determine the value of a diamond, we can find Carat weight most accurately and easily by using a delicately balanced scale capable of weighing extremely small stones.
Diamond's Carat Weight Scale
There is one significant fact about diamonds' weight and price. When diamonds are mined, large diamonds are discovered rarely in comparison of small ones, which make large diamonds much more valuable. For that reason, the price of a diamond rises exponentially with its size. So, a 2 carat diamond of a given quality is always worth much more than two 1 carat diamonds of equal quality. Although larger stones are often more highly valued, size should not be the only consideration. High brilliance, which varies according to clarity, cut, and color grade, is highly desirable in a diamond.
A diamond cut by shape describes the outline of the stone and pattern of the facet arrangement. Diamonds are available in various shapes like Round, Princess, Heart, Oval, Pear etc., but when most people think of diamonds, what comes to mind is the modern round brilliant cut because in the jewelry industry, this shape represents more than 75% of all sales. All other non-round shapes are called fancy shapes and these different diamond shapes reflect an individual's style and personality.
The most popular and stylish shapes are defined below:
Round Brilliant Cut
The Round Brilliant Cut diamond is the most traditional and popular of all the diamond shapes. Many experts consider this shape ideal for a diamond because it maximizes its sparkle. It has 58 facets which offer great brilliance and stability. This shape of diamond is most commonly used in solitaire diamond engagement rings.
The Princess Cut is the most popular non-round diamond. It's beautiful brilliance and unique cut makes it a favorite for engagement rings. The princess has pointed corners and is traditionally square in shape. The ideal princess cut will have a length to width ratio is as close to 1.00:1.00 as possible, as princess cut diamonds can range from this perfect square to almost rectangular.
The Emerald Cut diamond is a square or rectangular shaped stone with cut corners. This is also known as a Step Cut because it has rows of facets, usually 48 to 50, that resemble a staircase. Due to its larger, more open table, this shape highlights the clarity of a diamond, but with fewer facets has less brilliance than the other shapes.
The Oval Cut is also a beautiful shape and provides great brilliance and fire through its 56 facets. A well cut Oval shaped diamond can be almost as bright as a well cut Round Brilliant shaped diamond.
The Marquise Cut is a traditional shape, having elongated ends at both edges. The pointed ends make this shape the most fragile and the most expensive of brilliant style cuts. It has a total of 56 facets, the construction of which requires a lot of experience, as the delicacy of its sharp points demands the utmost skill and precaution. This shape is very popular for engagement rings.
The Pear Cut diamond is often called a teardrop due to its single point and rounded end with 56 to 58 facets. This shape is popular for its uniqueness and brilliance. A Pear Shape diamond is used in pendants and is also a good choice for a hand with smaller fingers.
The Asscher Cut is a modified version of the Emerald Cut. This shape is named after Joseph Asscher of Holland who was an eminent diamond cutter. In 1902, his company, Asscher Diamond Co., developed and patented the Asscher Cut, a squarer step cut with an almost octagonal outline. This new cut enhances the fire and light of the stone; it has a small table, a high crown, wide step facets, a deep pavilion and a square culet.
The Radiant Cut is a rectangular or square stone with cut corners. This shape comes with 62 to 70 facets and offers the elegance of the emerald shape with the brilliance of the princess shape. Trimmed corners are the signature of this shape, and help to make the radiant cut a popular and versatile choice for jewelry. Diamonds with the radiant shape look very good when adorned with baguettes or round side stones.
The human heart is the ultimate symbol of love and the Heart Cut is regarded as the most romantic of all the shapes. The Heart shaped diamond is essentially a pear-shaped diamond with a cleft at the top and typically contains 59 facets. Due to the complexity of the shape, skilled cutting is necessary to maintain the diamond's brilliance. Generally, people prefer a heart shape diamond for sentimental purposes. This shape is mostly used in pendants, but also suitable for most jewelry items.
Cushion Cut diamonds are also known as "pillow cut" diamonds. This shape ranges from square to rectangular and it has rounded corners and larger facets to increase its brilliance. These larger facets also highlight the diamond's clarity.
The Baguette Cut diamonds are generally used to fill in channels or stable grooved tracks around a gemstone centerpiece. This shape is similar to emerald shape.
The Trilliant Cut is one of the more unusual cuts and a diamond with this shape displays a very sharp brilliance or fire. This triangular shaped diamond may either have pointed corners or more rounded corners.
Acquisition of a diamond or diamond jewelry is an important expression of love or accomplishment but it can also represent a major investment of money. It is essential for you to know the credentials of the diamond and enable confidence in the integrity and quality of what you have acquired.
A Diamond Certificate or Diamond Grading Report is a statement, issued by an independent Gemological Laboratory. At the time of evaluation, the diamond in question has been examined, measured, and scrutinized by experienced Diamond Graders, using various gemological instruments, and determined to contain the characteristics as stated in the Certificate or Report.
In other words, a diamond certificate can be accurately described as the blueprint of a diamond. This Certificate or Report includes an analysis of the diamond's characteristics in an easy to understand format. Generally, a certificate or report covers the following characteristics of a diamond along with the laboratory and certificate details:
This certificate doesn't state the monetary value of a diamond.
There are many laboratories available throughout the world for diamond certification but the below mentioned laboratories are considered the most respected ones in the industry, for their consistency and unbiased diamond grading systems. Securing a certificate will provide you much-needed peace of mind knowing that you are getting your money's worth. Here are some reasons to buy a diamond along with its certificate:
A diamond certificate gives you the exact details of the stone and on the basis of this information you will be able to do some comparison-shopping before doing the actual purchase. A diamond certificate allows you to purchase on the basis of a stone's characteristics.
If you resell the diamond along with its certificate, you will get better price for the diamond. To get insurance for your diamond, you also need to produce a diamond certificate.
The Gemological Institute of America was established in 1931 in Los Angeles. The GIA created and introduced the international grading system. Headquarters are still located in Los Angeles.
The Diamond High Council is the officially recognized representative of the Belgium diamond trade and industry. HRD headquarters are located in Antwerp, Belgium, in the World Diamond Center.
The American Gem Society Laboratories (AGSL) was established in 1934 in Las Vegas, Nevada by Robert M. Shipley, who also established the GIA.
It is standard practice in the diamond industry, to ask for a diamond's certificate or grading report from the jeweler before the purchase of it.
Diamonds are 'forever' as they are the hardest known substances on earth. But due to our day-to-day activities, it is inevitable that our precious diamond pieces get dirty and soiled. Even diamonds can be scratched, chipped or dulled if not handled correctly. With proper care, they can last a lifetime and can even be handed down as heirlooms to future generations without losing their shine and sparkle. Here are some tips that will help you to preserve the life and beauty of your diamond:
Cleaning of Diamond Jewelry
Regular cleaning of Diamond Jewelry is essential to maintain the shine and brilliance of diamonds. As you wear them, they get dirty as you use various skin and body care regimen such as soaps, lotions and even our skin's natural oils. Even when you are not wearing them, they collect dust. If you are cleaning your diamond jewelry on your own, it will take a few minutes but before cleaning, you should be aware of both the cleaning at home and cleaning by a professional jeweler:
Storing of Diamond Jewelry
The storing of diamond jewelry is also important as a diamond can scratch another diamond, as well as other jewelry pieces. Below are some tips relative to the storage of diamond jewelry:
Precautions for Wearing Diamond Jewelry
If you follow the above mentioned care tips then your diamond jewelry will always shine and sparkle like new.
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