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Learn About Diamonds

Color

The color scale below reflects how closely a diamond approaches the colorless range. Although most people recognize diamond as colorless, true colorless diamonds are quite rare. The absolute finest white diamond carries a “D” color grade. These exceptionally white diamonds make up a small fraction of all mined diamonds; therefore most jewelry is made using diamonds in the near-colorless range. When comparing different color grades, most people will be unable to see a difference in color, although there can be a significant difference in price.

Surprising to learn, diamonds are also available in a variety of colors including red, purple, pink, green, orange, yellow, blue, brown and black. These extremely rare and unique diamonds are termed “Fancy Colors” and are graded based on the hue, tone and saturation of their color. The more intense the color, the higher the rarity factor. The rarest of the fancy colors is red.

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Though radically rare, there are a few diamonds that have had their color whitened by a technologically sophisticated process developed by General Electric. The process is permanent, undetectable, and irreversible.

Clarity

The clarity grade is the degree to which the diamond is free of inclusions and blemishes. Nature produces very few things that are absolutely perfect. Most diamonds have internal birthmarks, known as inclusions, and external characteristics called blemishes. These clarity characteristics are evaluated under 10X magnification, by trained diamond graders, based on the number, nature, size, location and color of each characteristic. Clarity characteristics are also used to distinguish one diamond from another. A diamond’s inclusions are like a fingerprint, making each diamond one-of-a-kind. Flawless diamonds are extremely rare and command the highest prices, but finding a diamond with minute inclusions can reduce the cost of the stone without detracting from its beauty or durability.

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Carat

Diamonds are weighed on a scale of metric carats, abbreviated “ct.” It is equal to approximately 1/5 of a gram. A carat is broken down into 100 points, just like a dollar is broken down into 100 pennies. When you see a diamond weight of 1.45ct, that means one carat and 45 points.

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The larger a diamond is the rarer it is. Diamonds are bought and sold on a pricing concept known as “per carat.” As diamonds get larger, the price per carat increases due to the rarity factor, so a diamond that weighs 2ct. will be worth more than twice as much as a 1ct. diamond.

Cut

Cut is the only human contribution to the diamond’s beauty; however, it is one of the most important. The term “cut” can mean many things. In the jewelry industry, it is used to describe the shape, cutting style, proportions and finish of a diamond. Diamonds can be cut into almost any shape. The most popular shapes are pictured below.

From Left: Round, Heart, Marquise, Oval, Pear, Princess, & Emerald

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Depending on how well the diamond is cut will determine its ability to reflect natural light. Although there are no determined grades for cut, there are a few terms you should be familiar with:

Ideal (Round Brilliants) Diamonds that have been cut to specific proportions are often referred to as “ideal.” These diamonds are said to maximize brilliance but usually yield a much higher premium due to extra weight loss during cutting. The proportions for the “ideal cut” were founded mathematically by Marcel Tolkowsky in 1919:

Table:53%
Crown Angle:34.50
Girdle Thickness:thin – medium – slightly thick
Pavilion Depth:43.1%
Culet Size:none – very small
Total Depth:60% – 61%
Polish:very good – excellent
Symmetry:very good – excellent

The different facets of a standard round brilliant cut diamond

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