Diamond and Gem Stone Basics

Buying diamonds and gems can be confusing. If you are interested in learning one-on-one (as opposed to reading), please contact me, and we can setup a time.

 

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Shape-Cut- Clarity-Color-Carat Weight


Shape


Cut of a Diamond or Gem Stone

This diagram of a polished round brilliant diamond is labeled with the names of every part.

This diagram of a polished round brilliant diamond is labeled with the names of every part.

Cut does not just refer to the shape of the diamond but also its proportions and facets, each of which affect the amount of sparkle a diamond has. A properly cut diamond will catch the light, reflect it, and return that light to the top creating the brillance. Diamonds cut too shallow will allow light to escape through the bottom,. Similarly, diamonds cut too deep will let light escape through the sides.

How light reflects through a diamond cut too shallow, too deep, and ideally.

How light reflects through a diamond cut too shallow, too deep, and ideally.


Clarity

Scale of diamond clarities and example of them in a diamond.

Scale of diamond clarities and example of them in a diamond.

Clarity measures how many and how noticeable inclusions are in a diamond. The scale begins at FL or flawless and goes to I. Only the diamonds with a grade of I have imperfections noticeable to the naked eye. If a jeweler has selected diamonds carefully, clarity has the least impact on a diamond's appearance. Clarity simply refers to the tiny, natural imperfections that occur in all but the highest clarity grades. Diamonds with the least and smallest imperfections receive the highest clarity grades. Because these imperfections tend to be microscopic, they do not generally affect a diamond's beauty in any discernible way. The exception is when a flaw is in a position to disperse or alter the path of light entering the diamond.


Color

Scale of color naturally occurring in diamonds

Scale of color naturally occurring in diamonds

Color can affect the value and appearance of a diamond. More valuable diamonds tend to have less color except fancy-colored ones. D is colorless and scale goes to Z+, which are fancy colors.  In my opinion, a top color grade to make a beautiful diamond. The cost of diamonds is greatly affected by the color grade. If a stone is cut ideally, the color grade can be lower and the appearance of the diamond can be very appealing. In order to determine your preference for color, it is best to view many diamonds in person.


Carat Weight or Size

Size chart of diamonds ranging from 0.25 to 1.50 carats

Size chart of diamonds ranging from 0.25 to 1.50 carats

Size chart of diamonds ranging from 1.75 to 4.00 carats

Size chart of diamonds ranging from 1.75 to 4.00 carats