Cut Grades Ideal cut The top 3% of diamond quality based on cut. Reflects nearly all light that enters the diamond. An exquisite and rare cut. Very good cut The top 15% of diamond quality based on cut. Good cut The top 25% of diamond quality based on cut. Reflects most light that enters. Fair cut The top 35% of diamond quality based on cut. Poor cut Diamonds that are generally so deep and narrow or shallow and wide that they lose most of the light out the sides and bottom.
What Cut Grade is Right for You? For the best possible cut, look at custom made cuts. Diamonds with a cut grade of good or very good represent an excellent combination of beauty and value. Recommended to select the highest cut grade within your budget. Of the Four C’s, no other characteristic has a greater influence on a diamond’s appearance.
Color Color refers to a diamond’s lack of color, grading the whiteness of a diamond. A color grade of D is the highest possible, while Z is the lowest. Color manifests itself in a diamond as a pale yellow. That’s why the color grade is based on its lack of color. Second most important characteristic when selecting a diamond.
Color Z-N: Noticeable color. M-K: Noticeable color. J-l: Near-colorless. Slightly detectable warmth or tone. H-G: Near-colorless. An excellent value. F-E: Colorless. Minute traces of color can be detected by an expert gemologist. A rare diamond. D: Absolutely colorless. The highest color grade and is extremely rare.
What Color is Right for You? For the purist, look for a colorless diamond with a grade of D-F for a diamond with no discernible color. For an excellent value in a diamond with little or no noticeable color to the unaided eye, look for a near-colorless grade of G-l.
Clarity Almost all diamonds have tiny imperfections. Diamonds with few or no imperfections receive the highest clarity grades. Clarity is a measure of the number and size of the tiny imperfections that occur in almost all diamonds. Many of these imperfections are microscopic, and do not affect a diamond’s beauty in any discernible way. Generally has the least impact on a diamond’s appearance out of the Four C’s.
Clarity FL, IF: Flawless, internally flawless, no internal or external imperfections. Very rare. VVS1, VVS2: Very, very slightly included. Very difficult to see imperfections under 10x magnification. VS1, VS2: Very slightly included. Imperfections are not typically visible to the unaided eye. SI1, SI2: Slightly included. Imperfections are visible under 10x magnification and may be visible with the unaided eye. A good diamond value. I1, I2, I3: Included. Imperfections clearly visible under 10x magnification.
What Clarity Grade is Right for You? Select an “eye-clean” diamond – one that has no imperfections visible to the unaided eye. An excellent value, diamonds of this clarity are much less expensive than flawless or internally flawless diamonds. Frequently, imperfections in diamonds graded slightly included (SI) are not visible to the unaided eye, making them an excellent value.
Carat Weight This is the term with which people are most familiar, but bear in mind that carat is specifically a measure of a diamond’s weight. We tend to evaluate diamond size by viewing it from the top because that is how diamonds are presented to us when set into a ring. To understand diamond size, carat weight should be considered in conjunction with two other criteria: Distance in millimeters across the top of the diamond. Diamond’s cut grade.
Carat Weight A diamond’s cut grade should also be considered because, as we noted in the cut grade section, when a diamond is cut with the proper proportions, the maximum amount of light (or sparkle) is returned out of the top of the diamond. When a diamond is well cut, the light reflected out of the top makes it appear larger. It is possible to have a diamond of a lower carat weight, but higher cut grade that appears larger than a diamond with a larger carat weight, but poor cut. A one-carat diamond is comprised of 100 points.
What Carat Weight is Right for You? Consider the size of the finger, the size of your setting, and your budget. If a large carat weight is important to you, yet you’re within a strict budget, consider a diamond with a good cut, and an I or J color grade. Diamond prices jump at the full and half-carat weights. Diamonds just below these weights cost significantly less. Keep in mind that the smaller the finger, the larger the diamond will appear. A 1.5-carat diamond solitaire looks much larger on a size 4 finger than a size 8.