Diamonds come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and clarity, and there really is something for every budget and taste. It’s important though to be an educated consumer, since purchasing a diamond is likely one of the largest purchases you’ll make. Diamonds have 4 categories that are the basis for how they are priced and they are as follows;
SHAPE & CUT
Shape refers to the shape of the diamond. Diamonds come in round brilliant and also fancy shapes which include; cushion, marquise, pear, asscher, oval, heart, princess, emerald, radiant and a several other more unique shapes. There are also two faceting types that cuts fall into; brilliant cut and step cut. Brilliant cuts include round, princess, radiant, pear, oval, and cushion to name a few. Step cuts include Emerald cuts and Asscher cuts. This is obviously a very personal preference and there is no good or bad, since shape is really all about the taste of the person wearing it. The cut affects the brilliance and fire that a diamond will display, a round brilliant has 58 facets which makes it’s sparkle pretty much unmatched.
GIA created the Diamond color scale and it has since become the industry standard on judging a diamond’s color or lack thereof. The color scale starts at D and goes all the way to Z. The finest diamonds fall into the D-E-F family which is completely colorless. The majority of diamonds on the market are G-H-I-J which is nearly colorless. Anything beyond that goes from faint yellow to faint brown.
Most diamonds have some sort of inclusion. The most expensive and top quality diamonds are inclusion free otherwise known as flawless or internally flawless. The scale then goes from very very slightly included which is hard for even a professional gemologist to detect all the way down to included which is an eye visible inclusion. Most diamonds on the market fall somewhere between Very Slightly Included and Included. The less inclusions the higher the price point and vice versa. Some inclusions can affect the stability of the stone, which is why you’ll see a significant price break on heavily included diamonds.
Carat or ct refers to the size and weight of a given stone and is totally determined by your budget. Diamonds start at .01 points with 100 points=1 ct. The larger the stone usually the more expensive, although sometimes a smaller stone with better color and clarity can be the same or more expensive, than a larger stone with poor color or clarity.
Going in as a confident, educated, buyer, will make a typically nerve wracking experience into a calmer and more pleasant experience.