Diamond Buying Guide

Know Diamond Cuts and Shapes

Diamond shapes range from traditional round diamonds to hearts, pears, and more. Your choice should reflect the tastes of the person who will be wearing the jewel. In most cases the shape will determine the cut, but not always.

Cut is the number and arrangement of the facets, or flat surfaces, on a diamond. A well-cut diamond reflects light to maximize the stone's brilliance.

Cut is the most important of the 4 "C"s: Cut, Carat weight, Color, and Clarity. Cut has three main components:

Diamond FacetsA well cut diamond, regardless of its shape, sparkles with fire and light - offering the greatest brilliance and value.

While a diamond's clarity, color, and carat weight are determined by nature, it is the skilled hand of the cutter that is needed to release the fire and beauty in a diamond. When a diamond is cut to the proper proportions, light will reflect from one mirror-like facet to another and disperse through the top of the stone, resulting in a display of brilliance and fire.

If a diamond is cut too deep or too shallow, it will lose light through the side or bottom. As a result, poorly cut stones will be less brilliant and beautiful--and certainly less valuable--than well cut diamonds.

Determine Diamond Carat Weight

Diamond size is measured by weight in carats or points. Because larger diamonds are rare, prices rise considerably as carat weights increase. If your primary shopping concern is high carat weight, a moderate downgrade in carat size (e.g. 0.05) can save you a lot of money and still look beautiful.

1 Carat = 100 Points = 200 milligrams

Explore Diamond Color

When jewelers speak of color in a white diamond, they are really referring to the lack of color. The diamond color scale ranges from D (absolutely colorless) to Z (noticeable yellow or brown color. Diamonds in the range of I and higher show no signs of color that is visible to the untrained eye.

Color is not the same as "fire." Fire refers to the points of colored light that the diamond refracts as light passes through it. These colors can be any color in the spectrum, from red, to yellow, green, and blue. But the more colorless a diamond is, the more fire it will have, given the same cut.

If you are choosing a platinum, white gold, or iridium setting, you should choose a diamond with a higher color grade than you would need to if you were choosing a yellow gold setting.

Of course this does not apply to fancy colored diamonds, which can be blue, green, or even bright yellow. These diamonds are actually prized for their color, and the more color they have, the more rare and expensive they are.

Study Diamond Clarity

Most diamonds contain inclusions (tiny mineral traces or flaws) often invisible to the naked eye. A diamond's clarity is determined by the amount and severity of these inclusions. Flawless diamonds are very rare and more expensive. eBay sellers often describe the clarity of larger, solitaire diamonds by referring to the industry letter grading scale.

Maintain Your Diamonds

Diamonds are the hardest naturally-occurring substance on Earth, but they still can chip. When you shop for diamond jewelry, choose your setting wisely. Four-prong, six-prong, and low-profile channel or bezel settings are more apt to protect your diamonds. When you get your diamond jewelry home, store pieces individually in soft cloth pouches to prevent jewels from bumping against one another.

Clean your diamonds

Dust, skin oil, and other unclean substances can cause your diamonds to lose their sparkle. Clean your diamonds from time to time in soap and water. Air dry and polish with a soft cloth. Occasional brushing with a worn, soft-bristled toothbrush can help remove dirt from between crevices. For more resistant blemishes, use a weak solution of ammonia and water (about one part to four parts) and a soft brush. Remember to treat metal settings gently when you clean your diamonds as gold can scratch.

Diamond Shapes

Asscher Cut Diamonds

Asscher Cut Diamond

Cushion Cut Diamonds

Cushion Cut Diamond

Emerald Cut Diamonds

Emerald Cut Diamond

Heart Shaped Diamonds

Heart Shaped Diamond

Marquise Diamonds

Marquise Diamond

Oval Diamonds

Oval Diamond

Pear Shaped Diamonds

Pear Shaped Diamond

Princess Cut Diamonds

Princess Cut Diamond

Radiant Cut Diamonds

Radiant Cut Diamond

Round Brilliant Diamonds

Round Brilliant Diamond