Diamond Education Guide

This guide defines the most essential characteristics of a diamond along with tips for its care. By understanding these characteristics, you'll be able to shop with confidence.

  • Cut
  • Color
  • Clarity
  • Carat
  • Shape
  • Certification
  • Care
  • Cut

Diamond Cut is the most important property to increase its beauty because a well-cut diamond reflects light to maximize the stone's brilliance. A diamond with perfect color and clarity could nevertheless have poor brilliance if it is not well cut.

After a proper cutting, 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 revealed and maximized only by cutting and polishing the diamond to an extremely high level of accuracy.

It is very essential to know Diamond Anatomy before understanding Cut.


Diamond Anatomy

  • Diameter: Width of a diamond measured through the Girdle.
  • Table: Largest facet of a gemstone.
  • Crown: Top portion of a diamond extending from the Girdle to the Table.
  • Girdle: Intersection of the Crown and Pavilion which defines the perimeter of the diamond.
  • Pavilion: Bottom portion of a diamond, extending from the Girdle to the Culet.
  • Culet: Facet at the tip of a gemstone. The preferred Culet is not visible with an unaided eye (graded "none" or "small").
  • Depth: Height of a gemstone measured from the Culet to the Table.

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 understand various diamond shapes in Shape part.


Diamond Cut by Depth

A Diamond Cut by Depth is the ultimate feature for its brilliance and fire.

  • Shallow Cut: Shallow Cut will let light lost through a diamond's bottom causing it to appear dull.
  • Deep Cut: Deep Cut will allow light to be lost through a diamond's sides causing it to appear dark.
  • Ideal Cut: Ideal Cut is considered as the best cut and it will reflect most or all of the light that enters the diamond back to the eyes.

Quality of a diamond's cut can be determined on the basis of its power to reflect light. They 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 where as 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 expresses the smoothness of the diamond's facets where as the Symmetry refers to the alignment of the facets. A poor Diamond Polish, or rough facets, can diminish a diamond's brilliance, as well as its value.

Color

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 most light to pass through the stone and create the most brilliance.

During formation of Diamond from carbon, certain chemicals may have been drawn into the mix and result in an added tinge 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 (no diamond of color grade A, B or C has ever been found), 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

Color Grade Description On Unaided Eye Inspection
Colorless Colorless Stone looks absolutely clear and transparent, with no hint of color.
Near Colorless Near Colorless Stone looks clear and transparent. Color will be noticeable by experts = only when compared to diamonds of better grades.
Faint yellow Faint yellow Color slightly detectable and will be noticeable by experts only.
Very Light yellow Very Light yellow Stone shows an increasing yellow tint, even to an untrained eye.
Light yellow Light yellow Stone appears yellow, even to an untrained eye.
Fancy Fancy Bright, remarkable color - usually blue, pink, yellow, Red etc.

Fancy Colored Diamonds

Although the 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, Z+ grade is used for their color grading. Usually, the more intense the color, the rarer and more 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.


Fluorescent Diamonds

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 the ordinary light.

Clarity

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 and 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 and 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, that 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 do affect the beauty and value of the diamond.

Diamond's clarity is based on the number, size, nature, and location of imperfections on the finished stone. Diamond with higher clarity is more valuable in comparison to diamond that contains numerous inclusions because it is less brilliant due to inclusions interfering with light passing through it.

Diamond's Carat Weight Scale

There is one significant fact about diamond's 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 the equal quality. Although larger stones are often more highly valued, but size should not be the only consideration. High brilliance, which varies according to clarity, cut, and color grade, is highly desirable in a diamond.

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