If you’re anything like me, you can never have too many diamonds! While I’m well aware that diamonds actually have no value, other than the one society puts on it, I DON’T CARE. I think they’re simple, classy, timeless, and beautiful.
My dad always had friends in the jewelry business, so we always had jewelry everywhere – hands, my neck, my ears, etc. As a child, I was never not wearing my gold chain with a Jewish star charm and a Sicilian horn and cornuto hand. ALWAYS. My love for jewelry hasn’t changed much.
I’m not a big, chunky jewelry kinda gal. I wish I could pull that stuff off, but I always feel like I look silly – but diamonds and gold… you can never go wrong there!
If you’re just getting started looking at diamonds, there are a few things you should know. In my opinion, the three most important:
- Bigger is NOT always better!
- Color and clarity trump size ANY DAY OF THE WEEK.
- Make sure it is GIA Certified! You don’t want to drop $$ only to find out later you were sold a fake diamond….
There are 4 important things to consider when looking at stones. The four C’s are essential – Clarity, Color, Cut, and Carat. Let’s break this down.
- Clarity is determined by the number of imperfections or inclusions within the diamonds. These imperfections effect the way light travels through the stone, in turn, changing its clarity. I.E. – A flawless stone reflects light perfectly and is very shiny, whereas a stone with more inclusions appears more “blurry.”
- What is an inclusion? It is actually the stone that has formed a crystal inside – so it’s like two stones in one LOL (not really… )
- The following is the clarity rating scale, per the GIA WEBSITE (my comments are underlined)
Flawless (FL) No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification – These are veryyyyy rare. Less than 1 in 5,000 stones are flawless!
Internally Flawless (IF) No inclusions visible under 10x magnification
These are also very rare. Less than 3% of stones fall in the IF/FL category!
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) Inclusions so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
These inclusions are invisible to the naked eye, but they’re there!
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterized as minor
These inclusions are invisible to the naked eye, but they’re there! VS2 may be visible to someone with a trained eye.
Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification
Most of these inclusions are invisible to the naked eye… Some feathering may be seen if you inspect it closely, but imperfections are not immediately noticed. Similar to VS2, many cannot tell the difference unless under a microscope.
Included (I1, I2, and I3) Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance
These inclusions are obvious to the naked eye. Many jewelers do not carry these stones.
- The last thing you want in your diamond is color. So, essentially, when we discuss color you actually want to be looking at the lack of color in the stone.
- The larger the stone, the more the color is noticeable – again, bigger isn’t always better!
- GIA uses a letter based scale to determine color D (colorless) to Z (w/ color)
- The setting can effect the appearance of the color… a yellow gold setting may make a colorless stone appear a bit yellow.
- D-F : Colorless
- G-J : Near Colorless (I-J are most common)
- K-M : Faint Color (these aren’t very yellow but may appear “warmer” than a D-J stone
- N-R : Very Light Color (yellow or brown tint, most high end jewelers do not carry N-Z)
- S-Z : Light Color (these look very yellow, often too yellow for most)
- Cut does NOT mean the shape! I REPEAT – CUT IS NOT SHAPE.
- The cut refers to how many facets, or cuts, the stone itself has.
- It’s cuts effect the amount of light that the stone will refract.
- There are many different factors that go into determining the cut of a diamond!
- The picture above, from the GIA website, shows some of the factors taken into account when analyzing the quality of the cut!
- SHAPE refers to the style of the cut. The image below shows the various shapes your stone can come in.
- The carat refers to the weight of the stone. The size of the stone may vary from stone to stone even if they weigh the same… it all depends on how they are cut.
- Some stones carry much of their weight on top (rounds), while other carry a lot of their weight on the bottom (cushion)
- The larger the stone, the larger the price tag… unless, of course, you choose a large stone with a lot of color and no clarity….
This is not something that would help you choose a diamond, but it is an important part to the ring. After all, it’s what the diamond sits in… There are many different types of settings, some are;
- Halo– A ring of stones that encompasses the center stone. To some, the halo makes the ring appear larger – others dislike it because it takes away from the center stone. Halo’s tend to be very common on rings with smaller stones, because it adds some extra glitz and glam without a MAJOR price tag bump!
- Solitaire – These are just a plain band of either gold/white gold/platinum
- Pave – small chips of diamonds encompass the entire band. Typically they go all the way around (infinity) or they can be 1/2 way or 3/4 way around the band
- Channel – This looks like a row of stones between two pieces of the metal of choice (gold/white gold/platinum)
- Side Stone/Three stone – multiple stones are placed on the sides of the larger center stone
All in all, there are many factors that go into choosing the perfect diamond for you/your spouse. Choosing the perfect stone should not be taken lightly. My best advice is to do your research! Whether it is you looking at rings to send your boyfriend/girlfriend in hopes of a proposal or if you’re the one looking for your s/o – it’s good to be well informed! Your jeweler will (should) have all the answers to your questions!
Shout out to the greatest jeweler in the game – Ken Mordechai at Diamonds East, Int. in Boca Raton, Fl. I may be biased since that’s where Dan got my ring from, but I think he’s the best of the best!