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Cut, color, clarity, and carat. These are the four characteristics that determine the quality, and thus value of a diamond. You may have wondered why two diamonds which look so similar can have completely different price tags. The reason has to do with their proportions, color, amount of flaws, and overall weight.
Cut refers to the diamond’s proportions, including its depth, width, and the uniformity of its facets (carefully angled flat surfaces). Most round, brilliant-cut or fancy-shaped diamonds possess 58 facets, whose placement affects the fire, brilliance and ultimate beauty of your diamond. For diamonds with an ideal cut, light will travel through the stone and bounce back out through the top of it, creating the ultimate sparkle. If the cut is made too shallow, light will get lost at the bottom of the stone, making it appear lifeless. On the other hand, if the cut is too deep, light will escape through the sides of the gemstone, making it appear darker than it actually is.
Color is another factor that affects the value of a diamond. Even though the most popular type of diamond is colorless, they actually come in a variety of different colors, known as “Fancies.” Diamond color is graded before being set into metal since that can affect the color of the gemstone. A lettering system from D to Z is used to identify the amount of color present in each diamond, with a grade of D being awarded to rare, totally colorless diamonds.
Clarity refers to the absence or presence of flaws inside (inclusions) or on the surface (blemishes) of a diamond. A diamond with perfect clarity is very rare. Similar to a fingerprint, these inclusions and blemishes are what make every diamond unique. Diamonds must be examined under a 10X magnification to determine its clarity grading.
Carat signifies the weight of a diamond. One carat is divided into 100 points so that a diamond of 25 points is described as a quarter of a carat, or 0.25 carats. One carat equals 200 milligrams of actual weight.