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Cut Diamonds

Diamond Shapes

Diamonds are cut in many different popular “shapes” (sometimes referred to as their cut). 95% of the diamonds we, and other quality jewelry sources, sell are of a Round shape. Of the remaining 5%, 2% are Princess Shape, 2% are Marquise shape and all the other shapes combined make up the last 1%.

There will always be “trendy” new diamond shapes being promoted and advertised.

A Caution Regarding Princess Cuts

Please note: The dimensions for what is termed a “Princess cut Diamond” can vary. Most people prefer a Princess cut that is more “square” than “rectangular”. On the independent 3rd party rating “Certificate” (explained later on this page), you will find the dimensions listed in millimeters for the Princess cut diamond (as well as other non-round shapes). A Princess certificate dimension listed as 4.41 X 4 .28 X 2.87 will be closer to square looking, but one listed as 4.56 X 3.98 X 3.32 will be more rectangular. An Emerald cut diamond is definitely a rectangular cut and may have a dimension listed on its certificate such as 8.97 X 4.43 X 2.87.

Please take into consideration the dimensions of your Princess cut selection before making your purchase!

The higher the quality of a certified diamond the higher the value. It is that simple. Jewelers use a term, “the 4Cs,” to determine a certified diamond’s uniqueness to equate its value/price. The 4Cs are- cut, clarity, color and carat. To the untrained eye (without magnification) two diamonds may look almost identical, yet they could be vastly different in value. Just like fingerprints, no two diamonds are alike. But, like fingerprints, there are methods to evaluate one versus the other. So, please take time to understand the “basics” of the 4Cs. Remember, we stand behind our diamond quality. If you can find a diamond ring at a lower price, at the same or higher quality somewhere else, we will be very happy for you. We doubt you will be able to! Be forewarned of phrases like “trusting your eyes and heart” in making an important lifelong purchase.

Note: Most explanations of the 4Cs start with Cut. But you most likely are not a jeweler, and you need some benchmarks to compare one diamond versus another. Cut is VERY important, but it will be hard for you to evaluate. The other 3Cs Clarity, Color and Carat are determined for each and every individual stone by organizations or master diamond-smiths that are certified to evaluate them. These are three values that we or any other jeweler determines themselves. So use them to make comparisons for your purchase.

CLARITY

A diamond is formed by a crystallization of the element carbon under pressure. In most diamonds not all the carbon crystallizes, so small traces of non-crystallized carbon remain. These traces of leftover carbon are called “inclusions”. The degree of how free a diamond is of these “inclusions” determines its clarity rating. In most cases, before these inclusions become apparent to the eye, they often require magnification under a powerful 10X jeweler’s magnification lens. The fewer and smaller the inclusions, [a] the rarer (and more valuable) the stone, [b] the less likely the inclusions will interfere with the passage of light through the diamond, and [c] the more beautiful the “brilliance” resulting from the light passing through and out of your diamond!

Every stone is evaluated and graded in the scale listed below. A trained specialist uses a 10x magnification lens and “grades” every diamond prior to a jeweler, like us, purchasing it.

The buyer should be aware. Know the quality of a diamond before comparing any ring purchase from different sources. A vehicle can look great on the outside, but on closer inspection there might be 200,000 miles on the odometer. Without magnification you might not see the imperfections, but the “ratings” tell all! So ask for the quality rating of a diamond. The higher the rating the more costly it is.

IF Internally Flawless
No inclusions

V V S1 Very Very Slightly Included 1
Extremely difficult to see with 10X

V VS2 Very Very Slightly Included 2
Very difficult to see with 10X

VS1 Very Slightly Included 1 Difficult to see with 10X

VS2 Very Slightly Included 2 Somewhat difficult to see with 10X

SI1 Slightly Included 1 Visible with a 10X

SI2 Slightly Included 2 Easily Visible with a 10X

I1 Included 1 I1, I2 & I3 contain inclusions that are obvious and may affect transparency and brilliance.

I2 Included 2

I3 Included 3

COLOR

Again, here is a factor of comparison not necessarily easily determinable by the naked eye. That is why diamonds are rated in color by specialists. Diamond color can be subjective of the 4Cs. While most diamonds appear white, virtually all display barely perceptible tints of color. Evaluating a diamond’s color for grading purposes is done by measuring the degree to which a diamond approaches colorlessness.

The rating of the color of diamonds uses a letter scale where Z has a yellowish color moving to D which is colorless. Diamonds rated D, E and F color grades are more expensive. Conversely, the diamonds rated I and J will be less expensive. We only purchase diamonds having a J rating or higher to make your purchase comparison decision simpler and much easier.

D E F Colorless Sometimes referred to as Blue White

G H I J Near Colorless White

K L M Faint Yellow

N O P Q R Very Light Yellow

S T U V W Light Yellow

X Y Z Yellow

Note: One word of Color caution.

Even though the Color grades of I and J are described as “Near Colorless White”, they can occasionally have a very slight yellowish tint. Therefore, we recommend refraining from purchasing diamonds in the Color grades of I or J for your White Gold or Platinum mountings. When an I or a J Color graded diamond is used in your 14K or 18K Yellow Gold mountings, you most likely will not notice ANY slight tint at all.

Florescence

Diamonds that fluoresce in ordinary daylight do so because the carbon atoms are “excited” due to the U/V light in sunlight as well as artificial U/V light (black light); the energy that is created by the excited atoms “glow”. The color blue often shows as either bluish or white in natural sunlight, but when observed by artificial light, the true body color of the diamond may be seen as colorless, light yellow, or light brown.

Unless the fluorescence is so strong that it imparts a cloudy or oily quality to the body of the diamond, it is an asset rather than a liability. Fluorescence is neither a defect nor an unfavorable quality; it is distinctively favorable. The value of a blue fluorescing diamond can be as much as 10% above non-fluorescing diamonds-if properly balanced. Blue fluorescent diamonds are more desirable because they are of superior quality in daylight-especially so in or near sunlight-if the body color is naturally a light yellow or light brown. In very rare cases, some diamonds can fluoresce pink, green, even yellow colors. 99.9% have blue fluorescence.

Color Versus Fluorescence

As a reminder, if you are considering your ring to be either 14k White Gold or Platinum (i.e. white metal), we recommend picking diamonds with the colors H and higher (up to D) to be sure there is no yellow tint. In our several thousand diamonds fulfilled so far, we have not had one diamond color I or J that was not white to the eye. But, just a precaution to guarantee the whiteness you want, when setting your diamond in what will be a white metal (White Gold or Platinum), go H up to D and you will not be dissatisfied.

But here is an exception for colors G, H, I and J for our database that could save you some money.

Colors G, H, I and J (and any colors from another source with a color K, L, M, N, etc or lower designation.

If the diamond your are considering has Florescence, that tends to mask out any of the yellow potential in the diamond for colors H, I, and J. Years ago when skilled craftsman used to spray paint refrigerators (they didn’t just go get a new one like we tend to do today), they would mix a little blue paint in with the white to make their finished product look “whiter” to the human eye. So if your diamond is H, I, or J, Florescence can be a good thing!

Colors D, E, and F

Unless you want the visual effect Fluorescence emits (and lots of people do), look for “none” or “light” Fluorescence on the Diamond’s Certificate.

CARAT

Carat refers to the weight and, for your purchasing comparison purposes, it provides a relative measure for comparison. Carat weight refers to the weight of the diamond, not the size of your diamond. By definition 1.0 carat is exactly 200 milligrams, although in past centuries this has varied. Since carats are measured by a scale, not a ruler, a round cut diamond with a 6.0mm diameter (all precious stones are measured in mm, not in inches), will weigh 8 times more than a 3.0mm round cut diamond.

Note the spelling of carat. It is not spelled karat, which is a measuring unit for the purity of gold. Pure gold is 24 karats. 1k would 1/24th gold content, therefore, 14k gold is 14/24 pure. Purity of gold for jewelry varies from 9kt to 18kt, depending on the style, usage and country standards.

Also, since other precious gemstones are measured in carats, and the density between all of the minerals varies, a 1 carat diamond will look a different size then a 1 carat Sapphire. Let’s say you have four 2.5mm round cut diamonds and four 2.5mm round cut Sapphire gemstones Flush Set in a band like this one we crafted shown in the image below. Both types of gemstones have the same round diameters of 2.5mm, but the diamond will have a different carat weight per diamond than each of the 2.5mm round Sapphires. So do not expect a 1.0CT diamond (approximately 6.5mm) to have the same carat weigh as a 6.5mm diamond cut Sapphire.

CUT

Cut is perhaps the most important of the 4Cs but one of the hardest for you, the consumer, to evaluate. A well cut diamond causes the fiery sparkle. Cut is also the only diamond characteristic directly caused by man–the other three are dictated by nature. For a Round brilliant diamond, a good cut releases the “fire” and “brilliance” of a diamond through the proportion of its 57 or 58 facets (tiny planes that create angles), allowing the maximum of light to be reflected through the diamond. In order to maximize this fire and brilliance, a diamond cutter must place each of the stone’s facets and angles, which act as light-dispersing mirrors, in exact geometric relation to one another.



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