Buy a certified diamond, either by GIA (Gemological Institute of America) or EGL (European Gemological Laboratory). These two alone set the standard in the industry for grading criteria. Many jewelers don't offer certified stones to their customers. Beware of jewelers who wish to grade their own stones and do their own appraisals. It is a common practice in the industry for jewelers to falsely grade stones. Remember, a certificate is like a pedigree in the diamond business.
When a round brilliant diamond has been cut to "ideal" proportions by a master cutter, it is a splendor to behold. The Ideal Cut Diamond describes a round brilliant diamond that has been cut to exact and mathematically proven proportions. Its symmetry, with 58 exactly placed facets, produces the ultimate in luster and beauty.
When a diamond is cut too shallow, light leaks out of the bottom. Brilliance is lost and the diamond appears watery, glassy and dark.
A premium cut diamond demonstrates subtle variations from the ideal cut. Although dimensional differences affect a diamond's reflection of light, a Premium Cut still achieves a harmonious balance between its proportions and the display of brilliance.
The cut of a diamond is its most important characteristic. A diamond's ultimate brilliance, sparkle, and value come from its exact and precisely proportioned cut. A certified stone will list all the pertinent information about the stone's cut. Below are some important facts to consider as to determining how close to 'ideal cut' the stone actually is.
As with all precious gems, the weight of a diamond is expressed in carats. The word carat originated in a natural unit of weight -the seeds of the carob tree. Diamonds were traditionally weighed against these seeds until the system was standardized and one carat was fixed at 0.2 grams, or one fifth of a gram.
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. Below are some examples that show the approximate size of different diamond weights.
As diamonds increase in size, their price per carat virtually increases geometrically, not mathematically. Thus, a two carat diamond will be more than double the price of a one carat diamond of the same quality.
The cost of a diamond is established by the powers that be. DeBeers is the chief world market controller, located in London, England. They control the largest supply of new diamonds in the world. Rapaport sets the pricing standard in New York. Over the years, jewelers have used many different methods to explain the cost of a diamond to a retail customer... from the percentage of salary approach, to the "if you really love her, you'll want to buy her the best quality" pitch. It is my wish to give the customer a diamond at a reasonable price rather than hit them hard on their first major jewelry purchase. I am interested in developing a lifetime relationship as your family jeweler. Most jewelers buy their stones from wholesale houses and mark them up from there. All of the diamonds I buy are from the secondary market so I am able to sell them to you at or below wholesale.
Practically all diamonds contain naturally occurring internal characteristics called inclusions. The size, nature, location, and amount of inclusions determine a diamond clarity grade and affect its cost. One unique advantage of the ideal cut is that its sparkle can mask otherwise noticeable inclusions.
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After cut comes color of the diamond. To help determine the differences, the GIA created a special scale, with colorless diamonds starting at "D". (Most engagement stones sold today are G-H color.) Most diamonds, although appearing colorless, actually have slight tones of yellow or brown. As these tones become more easily apparent, the rarity and cost decrease.
Most diamonds are "spread" in their cutting to retain maximum weight from the original rough. A heavier diamond will result, but at a dramatic sacrifice of potential fire and brilliance. If the diamond is cut too deep, light will pass through the bottom facets, resulting in a dark diamond.