An Introduction to Diamond Education
While it may take years to become a diamond expert, it takes only a few minutes to become familiar with the basics of this precious gemstone. This guide will introduce you to the attributes that determine a diamond’s appearance and value.There is little doubt that when it comes to buying a diamond, a certain degree of diamond education is essential. Our diamond buying guide meets the needs of a regular person. You will find it informative and fascinating, and by the end of it, you will be able to identify a quality diamond. While it is relatively straightforward to familiarise yourself with the basics of any gemstone, having an in-depth knowledge of weight, diamond grading and the various cuts, is what will set you apart from the average person on the street.
We have extensive experience in the gemstone industry, and we genuinely enjoy learning about diamonds. Over the years, we have acquired a range of facts about diamonds that have allowed us to become experts in our field. However, to become a diamond expert takes many years of training and a requirement to gain practical, “on-the-job” experience. While it may take years to become a diamond expert, it only takes a few minutes to become familiar with the basics of this precious gemstone. This guide will introduce you to the attributes that determine a diamond’s appearance and value.
Do You Want to Learn About Diamonds?
In this brief guide, we will give you information that will help you to determine which characteristics affect a diamond’s appearance and perhaps, more importantly, its value. You may be interested in understanding and appreciating diamond shape, diamond cut, or perhaps how you determine diamond quality. It is a guide that is ideal for anyone intending to work in the jewelry industry, particularly with diamond jewelry, and anyone with more than just a passing interest in the topic.
We will cover the different appearances of cut diamonds, how they suit different engagement ring styles and explain why the round brilliant cut is one of the most popular when it comes to cut color. Of course, we will also touch on lab diamonds, diamond polish, clarity grade, and all the elements of a grading report.
The shape of a diamond is one of the crucial features of any diamond. You may have a high-quality stone with exceptional color and clarity, but without the correct cut, often referred to as the shape, it will not show its true potential. Indeed, color and clarity, cut, and diamond carat are called the 4Cs. The 4Cs are how these gemstones are classified, and in most cases, experienced jewelers will tell you that diamond shape is the most crucial element when determining diamond quality.
Naturally, the shape and the other factors outlined will ultimately play a role in determining the diamond’s value. It is a critical part of any diamond education program and an ability to recognize and understand these features makes diamond experts.
There are dozens of different styles of cut diamond; some are popular in engagement rings while others suit other forms of jewelry such as earrings or necklaces. The cut color is often one of the most significant features that people wish to understand. Gems that have been cut are more expensive than rough stones due to the amount of artistry involved.
All cuts will have their unique proportions, symmetry, and diamond polish applied, and this is arguably the main reason why the cut grade is so vital and why any jeweler will take immense pride in their work. Cuts of inferior quality will not be sold for the same price as a diamond with a high-quality finish.
Cut diamonds consist of several different parts. If we start by looking at the diamond from above, the girdle gives the stone its outline. The girdle wraps around the largest part of the stone. It will separate the gem into the crown at the top, where you will find the facets, and the pavilion at the bottom. The crown angle should be between 32 and 35 degrees. The girdle is one of the constant characteristics which you will find on any cut diamond.
Color clarity is often grouped when lay people discuss gemstones, but they should be treated as separate attributes. Details of color grade can be found on the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) paperwork that should accompany any diamond.
It is quite common for color diamonds to be requested although the stones are generally colorless. However, under ultraviolet light, they may have a blue, orange or yellow tinge. The color in this instance may be due to the cut or from impurities in the stone. Color can add to the stone’s character along with and price graded on a color scale.
Diamond Carat Weight
All diamonds are weighed on this scale which shouldn’t be confused with a gold “karat”. 1-carat, in terms of weight, is 0.2 grams which, to put things in perspective, is approximately the same as a standard paperclip. It is perhaps only second to a diamond’s cut when determining value.
Diamond clarity is another of the critical characteristics with clarity grades forming one of the 4cs. Naturally, a stone’s clarity in any jewelry will be vital when determining a diamond’s value.
As diamonds occur naturally, it is almost inevitable that they will contain some imperfections. The extent of these imperfections, both internal and external, will determine the diamond’s value.
There are 11 ranking clarity grades which are judged by if the naked eye can see any inclusions. The rankings range from Flawless (FL) with no inclusions, to Included (I3), meaning that inclusions are clearly visible. Eye clean diamonds have no visible imperfections.
Diamonds are timeless items of jewelry which are passed from one generation to the next. Naturally, you will want to look after your gemstone in the best possible way to retain both its appearance and its value.
You should only purchase a diamond that has been certified. Diamond jewelry which is not accompanied by the relevant paperwork may contain a stone from illegal sources and, as such, their value is likely to be significantly reduced.
It would be best if you were sceptical about any jewelry that doesn’t come with diamond certification. Although there are other bodies certifying gemstones, we would always recommend the GIA.
The overall quality of a diamond will be determined by a selection of the 4 C characteristics, some of which occur naturally. In contrast, others are attributed to the skill of the jeweler. It is how these characteristics come together, which will have the most significant influence of the diamond’s quality and price.
Diamond Buying Guide
Finally, if you are looking to purchase a quality diamond, we strongly advise going to a reputable jeweler like James Allen or Blue Nile. You can discuss your requirements, for example, if it is for an engagement ring, and they can make suggestions about what will be most appropriate for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
All diamonds are good in their unique way, but ideally, you should always look to the 4cs to get the best diamond. The higher your stone ranks on each, for example, diamond shapes, will determine its quality.
The GIA has 11 clarity grades ranging from Flawless (FL) to Included (I3)
The 4 C diamonds are carat, color, clarity and cut.
1 carat weighs 0.2 gram which is approximately the same as a paperclip.
We would always suggest discussing your requirements with a reputable jeweler who can advise on shapes and other aspects.
The best grade of diamond is Flawless (FL), which will have no inclusions visible.
Diamonds are made of carbon, a naturally occurring element.
There are several ways to establish if a diamond is real; the most common is known as the fog test.
The 4 C characteristics will determine how much a diamond is worth.
Diamonds are formed naturally over millions of years.
Diamonds are not regarded as rare, although some are rarer than others.
Lab-created diamond are still diamonds, but they are created artificially using extreme pressure and heat.
A raw diamond, to the untrained eye, looks like any other item of rock.
Diamonds should be cleaned with warm soapy water and a soft brush before being rinsed thoroughly.
A “diamond is forever” means that it is a symbol of undying love.
Although diamonds are incredibly hard, they can be brittle so care should be taken not to break them.
Technically diamonds can melt, but as their melting point is 4,027 degrees celsius, it is highly unlikely!
Diamonds are usually purchased from jewellers although can be bought second-hand. Rough diamonds can be bought from mines but should come with a GIA certificate.
Most diamonds come with a grading report which will cover the 4Cs, color, clarity, carat and cut.
A diamond is made of carbon so could be classed as a rock in the broadest sense.
The price of a lab-created diamonds fluctuates significantly, but they do have worth although it is less than natural diamonds.