Diamonds 101

Buying a diamond. Those three little words can be very intimidating. Well, we’re here to help you through the process and make it as easy for you as possible. Alson has 4 generations and over 84 years of experience, so we have seen it all.

First, it is important to find a jeweler that you trust. This is a big purchase and it is important to find a jeweler that is reputable. Second, familiarize yourself with the 4 C’s. What are the 4 C’s you ask? The 4 C’s  are: Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat Weight. When buying a diamond, these are the most important factors to consider:

Cut

The brilliance and the sparkle of a diamond is determined by its cut. A diamond that is well cut allows the most amount of light to be reflected from each of its facets and dispersed through the top. We believe that the cut of a diamond is the most important of the 4 C’s. Even with the perfect color and clarity, a diamond will look dull if it is not cut properly.

diamond-cut-example

Clarity

Almost all diamonds carry inclusions that cannot be seen by the naked eye. These also make diamonds unique, as no two diamonds are the same. However, these inclusions impact a diamond’s clarity. The absence of inclusions or the fewer inclusions a diamond has means better clarity. Therefore, the better the clarity, the greater the value of the diamond.

diamond_clarity_chart

Color

Colorless diamonds come in a variety of color grades that are marked D through Z. D, E and F grade diamonds are the most rare and most expensive. These contain no color. The further down the scale you go, the more yellow appears in the diamond. Once a diamond gets past Z, then it is considered a Fancy color diamond. The more intense the color is of the diamond, the more rare and expensive it will be.

diamond_color_chart

Carat Weight

The weight of a diamond is measured in carats. 1 carat equals 100 points. Diamonds may be referred to as a 3/4 carat stone or a .75 point diamond. The larger the diamond, the more valuable it is, but it should not be the only consideration. The cut, clarity and color should all be considered for a desirable diamond.

Now that we have gone over the basics of the 4 C’s, you may be wondering, “Which of the 4 C’s is the most important?” When asked this question, David Schreibman, co-owner of Alson Jewelers has this to say, “Most people have a budget in mind when diamond shopping. I feel you get the best value for your dollar by choosing a diamond with an SI1 or SI2 clarity, G or H color and a very good cut grade. From there you can choose the right size diamond that fits your price range.”

Another factor to consider when buying a diamond is shape. Diamonds come in many shapes, each with unique characteristics. You may favor the flash of a round brilliant or the elegance of an emerald cut. Learn more about the characteristics of each diamond shape below.

cuts

roundRound

The round brilliant cut is one of the most popular of the diamond shapes. It is also the most brilliant of all the cuts with a total of 58 facets. Round brilliant diamonds make up a vast majority of diamonds found in engagement rings. To maximize the brilliance of a traditional round diamond, select one in the two highest cut grades: excellent or very good, and choose excellent or very good polish and symmetry grades.


princessPrincess

The face-up shape of the princess cut is square or rectangular and the profile or side shape is that of an inverted pyramid with four beveled sides. This shape can vary greatly in how square or rectangular they are. Its brilliance and unique cut make it a favorite for an engagement ring.


ovalOval

The oval cut diamond has beautiful brilliance similar to a round diamond. The modern oval cut is a fiery cut that reflects light brilliantly. It’s a great choice for someone who loves the sparkle of a round brilliant, but desires a less common shape.


emeraldEmerald

This shape is cut with rectangular facets which create a unique optical appearance highlighting the clarity of the diamond. The long lines of the emerald cut make it less fiery than a round brilliant, but it also tends to have broader, more dramatic flashes of light.


asscherAsscher

The Asscher cut diamond was developed in 1902 by the Asscher brothers of Holland. This is a stepped square-cut often called the “square emerald cut”. This beautiful shape is nearly identical to the emerald cut except that it is square.


cushCushion

The cushion cut is a square or rectangle cut with rounded corners and 58 brilliant-style facets that resemble a pillow shape. The cushion cut was one of the most popular cuts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is making a comeback in popularity.


radiantRadiant

Rectangular in nature, trimmed corners are the signature of this diamond. This cut combines the elegance of the emerald shape with the brilliance of a round with its 62 facets. The radiant can be rectangular or square and looks beautiful set with either baguette or round side diamonds.


pearPear

The pear-shaped diamond is also called the “teardrop diamond” because of its shape. The pear cut is a combination of the round-brilliant and marquise cut. It is a fiery cut with lots of sparkle and flash.


marqMarquise

The standard marquise diamond contains 56 facets. This cut is elongated with pointed ends. It was inspired by the smile of the Marquise de Pompadour and created for France’s Louis XIV, who wanted a diamond to match her smile.


heartHeart

The heart shape diamond is considered to be the most romantic of all the diamond shapes. It is the ultimate symbol of love and makes for a very special and unique engagement ring. Heart shape diamonds contain approximately 59 facets, making it quite fiery with excellent sparkle.


Now that you know about the 4 C’s and all about diamond shapes, you are ready to find the perfect diamond! Once you purchase your diamond, make sure to ask your jeweler for a diamond grading report from the GIA. This report verifies the diamond’s quality. It is also important to have your diamond appraised by your jeweler and insured in case it is lost or stolen.

Remember, take your time and enjoy the process. Your diamond is something that you will be sure to enjoy for a lifetime!