10 Quick Diamond Facts

Modified: October 2018

by Claire Scragg, FGA, DGA

1. Diamonds are graded according to the four C's: carat weight, clarity, color and cut.

2. Carats describe the actual weight of a stone, not the size. Due to differences in density, some stones weigh more than others, so two stones can both be 1 carat but appear different sizes.

3. Clarity is determined by the stone's inclusions and blemishes, as viewed by a microscope or 10x loupe. Inclusions occur within the stone and blemishes are on the stone's surface.

4. Clarity makes a significant impact on the price of the stone but does not affect diamond brilliance. Most people cannot discern the visible difference between the grades of "Flawless" through "Slightly Included".

5. Color grading ranges from D (colorless) to Z (heavily colored, usually yellow). Colorless (D, E and F) and near colorless (G, H, I and J) stones command the highest prices.

6. A diamond's setting can affect the appearance of color. A white gold or platinum setting will enhance the whiteness of a colorless stone. If the stone has a yellowish tint, a yellow gold setting may help mask the yellow tint, making the stone appear whiter.

7. The beauty of a diamond comes from a combination of the rainbow flash from within, known as fire, and a burst of sparkling light, known as brilliance. Both are a direct result of the cut.

8. Diamonds are cut to maximize the play of light within the stone. If a stone is poorly cut, light is lost through the bottom or sides, reducing the liveliness and overall beauty of the stone.

9. Cut is more than just the shape or visible form of the diamond; it also refers to the faceting as well as the symmetry, proportion, and finish (or "make").

10. Different people have different preferences for styles and shapes. The main point to remember when shopping for diamonds is choosing a stone that looks beautiful to you.

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