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Diamond Education

  • Cut

    The Cut is a measure of proportions of the diamond.

    The Cut determines

    • The diamond's brilliance and beauty
    • The diamond's ability to reflect light
    • The diamond's proportions, symmetry and finish

    A well-cut diamond appears brilliant and fiery, while a badly cut diamond looks dull and lifeless, despite having a good color and clarity grade.

    The Cut is a set of measurements based on how light travels within the diamond and exits from the top. The Cut is the only "man-made" C of the 4C's.

    Gemmologists consider Cut the single most important factor that defines the brilliance of a diamond.

    Polish and Symmetry

    Do not confuse Cut with Shape. Cut refers to how well the diamond has been designed and proportioned by the cutter. Shape refers to the general silhouette or outline of the diamond. An ideally proportioned diamond is cut according to scientific formulae calculated to maximise brilliance. In such diamonds, light that enters the stone from the top will bounce about within the diamond to create multiple reflections, which exit the stone from the top, causing the diamond's glitter.

    Diamonds that are cut too deep or too shallow lose or leak light through the side or bottom. The result is less brilliance, and ultimately less value for the diamond.

    The most important proportion is the ratio between the depth and the diameter of the diamond. The ideal ratio is 58.5%, but slight deviations are acceptable. The ratio between the height of the crown and that of the pavilion is also important. Please remember that this ideal ratio applies only to the Round Brilliant shaped diamonds. Gemologists differ on the ideal depth percentages to be followed in the other fancy shapes, and therefore, no ratios have been set as ideal for any of the other shapes.

    Other factors that count are length of the pavilion facets, size and shape of the various crown facets, size of the table and the culet.

    Polish and Symmetry

    Symmetry

    • Dramatically amplifies brilliance of a well-proportioned diamond
    • Is crucial in diamonds of very high clarity grades

    Polishing

    • Gives the diamond its final appearance
    • Is crucial to its brilliance
    • Ensures smooth passage of light through the diamond

    Diamonds with poor polish are less brilliant due to microscopic polish lines that reduce the amount of light that enters and exits the stone.

  • Carat Weight

    "Carat Weight" is simply the weight of the diamond. The Carat weight of a diamond determines the size, and appearance of your ring or jewellery.

    Size is the most visible factor that determines the value of a diamond. The price of a diamond rises exponentially according to its size.

    By definition, 1 carat is 200 milligrams. Since most diamonds sold in the market weigh less than 1 carat, the carat is usually subdivided into "points." There are 100 points in 1 carat, so that a diamond weighing 3/4 carat would be a "75 point diamond."

    1 carat = 200 milligrams = 100 points

    Please note that Carat weight is not a factor which denotes diamond quality. It merely denotes the size of a diamond, by its weight.

    Diamonds of 0.5 - 0.75 carat are very popular for their combination of size and value.

    Large diamonds are rarer to find in mines than small ones, which makes large diamonds much more valuable.

  • Care

    Safe and effective ways to clean your diamond. Diamonds are the hardest substance known, but that doesn't mean we can bring them back to life with any old cleanser.

    How to Clean Diamond Rings

    Safe and Effective Ways to Clean Diamond Rings
    Hand lotions, hair styling products and everyday grime, leave enough of a film on your diamond ring to keep it from looking its best. And if you wait too long between cleanings, these materials accumulate into a thick layer of gunk on the back of your diamond, blocking light and making the diamond appear dull and lifeless.

    Diamonds are the hardest substance known, but that doesn't mean we can bring them back to life with any old cleanser. Coatings and other materials used to enhance diamonds can sometimes be removed by harsh chemicals or vigorous scrubbing, so take care when it's time to make your diamond ring sparkle.

    Gentle & Effective Ways to Clean Diamond Rings

    Image aligned to the rightSoak your diamond ring in a warm solution of mild liquid detergent and water. Ivory dishwashing liquid is a good choice, but any other mild detergent is fine.

    Image aligned to the rightUse a soft brush if necessary to remove dirt. Soft is the key -- don't use a brush with bristles that are stiff enough to scratch the ring's metal setting.

    Image aligned to the rightSwish the ring around in the solution, and then rinse it thoroughly in warm water. Close the drain first, or put the ring in a strainer to protect it from getting washed away!

    Image aligned to the rightDry the diamond ring with a lint-free cloth.

    If the diamond and setting needs extra help, use dental Water Pick to flush away small bits of grime. You can also use a wooden toothpick to very carefully push dirt away from the diamond and setting.

    Cleaning Unfilled Diamonds
    Diamonds that have not been fracture filled can be cleaned with a solution of ammonia and water. Use the gentler liquid detergent solution for fracture filled diamonds, because ammonia might eventually either cloud or remove the coating that's been placed on the gemstone.

    Cleaning Rings with Multiple Types of Gemstones
    The method you use to clean jewelry should protect its weakest element. If your ring includes other gems, use a cleaning method that is suitable for the less durable stones.

    Protect Diamond Rings from Chlorine
    You might already protect your hands from harsh chemicals, but if you don't, think about how chemicals such as chlorine can affect your fine jewelry. Remove your rings or wear gloves to keep chlorine away from your rings.

    Diamond Care
    Regularly inspect your diamond jewelry to spot a loose stone or bent prong before it's "too late." It's a good idea to have your diamond jewellery examined and cleaned at least once a year by a professional jeweller.

    Everyday exposure to creams, skin oils, hairspray, household chemicals and other substances can cause buildup that will dull your diamond's brilliance and sparkle.

    Diamonds are the hardest substance known, but coatings and other materials used to enhance them can sometimes be removed by harsh cleansers and vigorous scrubbing, making it even more important to clean the gems with care.

    • Soak your diamond ring in a warm solution of mild liquid detergent and water.
    • Use a soft brush if necessary to remove dirt. Soft is the word-don't use a brush with bristles that are stiff enough to scratch the ring's metal setting.
    • Swish the ring around in the solution, then rinse it thoroughly in warm water. Block the drain or put the ring in a strainer to keep it from slipping away!
    • Dry the ring with a lint-free cloth.
    • If the ring needs extra help, you may use a wooden toothpick to carefully push dirt away from the stone and setting.
    • Fragile settings and estate jewelry won't take kindly to being scrubbed with a toothbrush, so use a soft touch. Then, just rinse the diamond with water and wipe with a soft, lint-free cloth.
    • If your jewellery has other gemstones, use a cleaning method that takes care of the less durable stones.

    PLEASE DO NOT

    • Put your diamonds away with other jewellery pieces; they could scratch one another. Use a fabric lined case with a pouch for each piece, or wrap them in tissue paper
    • Bring your diamonds in contact with household chemicals
    • Expose your diamond ring to products containing chlorine. Wear gloves if you need to use such products
    • Expose diamonds to dripping bleaches or hair dyes
    • Don't use harmful solutions. Chlorine or abrasives should never be used when cleaning diamonds, especially those set in jewelry. These erode some of the metals often used in diamond settings, and may loosen prongs, or even dissolve the metal completely.

    Caring for your gold jewelry

    • To maintain your gold jewelry's sparkle, clean it regularly.
    • Soak your gold or platinum jewelry in warm water mixed with a few drops of ammonia.
    • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush gently for more extensive cleaning.
    • After cleaning and rinsing, dry and polish with a soft cloth.
    • Close your drain if you are cleaning near a sink.
    • Store it in a fabric-lined case with separate pouches for each piece
    • Compartments, or wrap pieces individually in soft tissue paper.

    Caring for White Gold Jewelry
    When white gold is sold, it is always rhodium plated. Rhodium is a hard, durable, silvery-white metal that gives white gold (which is actually a very pale yellow) a very white look in the showcase and on your finger. This white look will soon wear out when there is friction. This usually starts by the shank (the part of the ring that goes around the finger) starting to "turn yellow". Later, all the exposed edges and corners will start "yellowing" as well.

    The easiest and least expensive solution is to take it to your local jeweller to have the ring re-rhodiumed. The cost of this temporary solution is minimal, and it needs to be repeated as this new layer wears off. A more permanent solution would be to consider remounting your stones in a platinum or palladium alloy ring.

    While lasting and durable, gold can become scratched or dented, particularly if handled roughly. Regularly check your gold jewelry for loose prongs or any damage, promptly bringing it to a professional jeweler for repair if needed

  • Clarity

    Clarity is a measure of the cleanliness or purity of a diamond.

    Clarity defines:

    • Defines the extent of flaws in the stone
    • Determines the diamond's ability to allow free passage of light without obstruction or absorption
    • Determines the value of the diamond

    Flaws in diamonds are of two types:

    Inclusions are

    • A diamond's natural imperfections
    • Permanent tiny spots found within the diamond, mostly invisible to the naked eye
    • A diamond's fingerprints, which contribute to its identification
    • Can be white, black, colorless, red or green

    Inclusions are not flaws in the strict sense of the term. They are nature's signature on a diamond, akin to birthmarks. Like fingerprints, no two diamonds are identical. Your diamond is identified by inclusions if it is ever lost or stolen.

    A diamond's clarity rating is determined by the number, size, type and location of inclusions under 10 x magnifications.

    • A diamond need not be completely clean to be highly attractive
    • Most diamonds bought have varying amounts of internal/external flaws
    • Please note that less than 1% of diamonds mined are flawless, and hence the most expensive

    Some inclusions affect a diamond's clarity, making it less brilliant, as they interfere with the light reflected. Others can make a gemstone vulnerable to shattering. You don't have to worry about diamond inclusions as long as they do not affect the stone's strength or seriously impact its appearance.

    Diamonds with VVS and VS grades are very good choices. Diamonds with lower clarity grades (S1, S2, and I1), but that are still eye-clean-that is, with no visible inclusions, are more affordable. They are indistinguishable from a higher-clarity diamond when viewed with the naked eye.

    The GIA grading of clarity of diamonds translates as follows:

    • FL: Completely flawless
    • IF: Internally flawless; external flaws present can be removed by further polishing
    • VVS1 - VVS2: Only an expert can detect flaws with a 10X microscope. By definition, if an expert can see a flaw from the top of the diamond, it is a VVS2. If the expert can only detect flaws while viewing the bottom of the stone, then it is a VVS1.

    Please Note: VVS1 Clarity Diamonds do not have any internal black marks. They also fall in the "No Dosham" or "No Black" category.

    • VS1 - VS2: You can see flaws with a 10X microscope, but it is not obvious (takes more than about 10 seconds to identify the flaw)
    • SI1 - SI2: You can see flaws readily with a 10X microscope
    • I1 - I3: You can see flaws with the naked eye. Eminently avoidable.
    Blemishes

    Blemishes are imperfections on a diamond's exterior surface. Many exterior flaws- nicks, pits, trigons, and polishing lines-are a result of the cutting and polishing process. Depending on their location and size, most blemishes can be polished away, or the diamond can be re-cut to eliminate them.

    Surface blemishes can affect a diamond's clarity and value, but many blemishes have little or no impact on a diamond's appearance.
  • Color

    The "color" of a diamond is evaluated in terms of its degree of colorlessness

    The ideal diamond is completely colorless, and the most expensive. However, most diamonds which appear colorless actually have slight tones of yellow or brown

    DIAMOND COLOR
    D
    Absolutely colorless. The highest color grade, which is extremely rare.
    E
    Colorless. Only minute traces of color can be detected by an expert gemologist. A rare diamond.
    F
    Colorless. Slight color detected by an expert gemologist, but still considered a "colorless" grade. A high-quality diamond.
    G - H
    Near-colorless. Color noticeable when compared to diamonds of better grades, but these grades offer excellent value.
    I - J, K
    Near-colorless. Color slightly detectable. An excellent value.
    L - M
    Noticeable color.
    N - Z
    Noticeable color.

    Please note the differences in grades are subtle, and mostly not visible to the naked eye. A diamond with a visible tint such as K and above can still be beautiful if it has good clarity and cut. Only diamonds graded N onwards have a tint visible to the naked eye. From S onwards, the tint grows more intense.

    Natural color diamonds come in all shades and colors of the rainbow. The most popular colors are combinations of pink, blue, brown, yellow, orange, green and red. Yellow is the most common naturally occurring fancy color, while red, blue and green diamonds are very rare.

  • Shape

    Shape means the intrinsic shape of the diamond as seen from the top, or in its setting.

    Shape:
    The 'cut' of a diamond actually encompasses its overall shape as well as how well the shape is cut, including proportions, finish, and symmetry. The basic shape of a diamond significantly affects its price.

    The primary wholesale price list for three shapes of diamonds is published monthly as the Rapaport Diamond Report. Rounds and marquise shapes have their own unique price charts, while the charts for pear shapes are used for all other shapes.

    While it may not be possible to access the Rapaport Report in all cases, most top jewelers are able to answer queries about shape and value by consulting this monthly. However, remember that the internet today influences diamond prices. There are several diamond web sites competing for market share that offer very good prices and enormous selections. This gives the customer today a very good chance of finding the diamond of his or her choice at a very attractive price.

    Prices in the Rapaport report depend on the shape, since the more sought after shapes are costlier than the shapes that have less demand. Prices also depend on how a diamond has shaped up from its rough original shape - the closer the cut shape is to the original, the lower the price. This is because less effort and diamond volume has been lost during the cutting stage.

     

      Round Brilliant Diamonds:

    The most popular shape preferred by over 75% of buyers. It is cut according to a precise formula with 58-facets, divided among its crown (top), girdle (widest part) and pavilion (base). This ensures maximum brilliance.

      Princess Cut Diamonds:

    This square or rectangular cut with numerous sparkling facets is a relatively new cut and is flattering to a hand with long fingers when worn as a solitaire. It is often embellished with triangular stones at its sides.

      Emerald Cut Diamond:

    This is a rectangular shape with cut corners, typifying the classic step cut. Its concentric broad, flat planes resemble stair steps. When choosing square or rectangular cuts, remember that the square cuts typically cost about 10% less for a diamond of the same weight and quality as a round cut diamond.

      Asscher Diamonds:

    Asscher cut diamonds are actually cut on a variation of the Emerald cut, known on a GIA Report as a 'Modified Square Emerald cut'. This style was first created in 1902 by the Asscher brothers. It features a small table, high crown, deep pavilion, and cut corners. In terms of sparkle, this cut ranks alongside the Round Brilliant cut diamond. The Asscher cut is a square cut diamond with 72 wide step facets and deep clipped corners, which make the diamond resemble an octagon.

      Marquise Diamonds:

    This elongated shape with pointed ends is named after the Marquise de Pompadour in the court of France's King, Louis XIV. This shape looks best when used as a solitaire or when enhanced by smaller diamonds.

      Oval Diamonds:

    This even, perfectly symmetrical design is popular among women with small hands or short fingers. The elongated shape gives a flattering illusion of length to the hand.

      Radiant Cut Diamonds:

    This square or rectangular cut combines the elegance of the emerald shape diamond with the brilliance of the round, and its 70 facets maximize the effect of its color refraction.

      Pear Shaped Diamonds:

    This is a hybrid cut, combining the best of the oval and the marquise. Shaped most like a sparkling teardrop, it is also another shape flattering to short fingers, and looks particularly beautiful in pendants or earrings.
    For the most traditional pear-shaped diamond, look for a length-to-width ratio between 1.45 and 1.75.

      Heart Shaped Diamonds:

    This ultimate symbol of romance is created with a pear-shaped diamond that has a cleft at the top. The skill of the cutter determines the beauty of the cut.

      Cushion Shaped Diamonds:

    Cushion cut diamonds are very popular. They are of a rectangular shape, though more proportionately looking like a square. This cut is sometimes also referred to as a 'pillow cut', because the cushion cut has an open culet and a rectangular to square shape with rounded corners which gives it the appearance of a pillow. The facet plan gives depth to the diamond. The price that you pay for these diamonds depend on the grade. An ideal choice is a 2 ct. Cushion Cut Diamond of the color 'G' and 'VS2' clarity. Modern 2 ct. Cushion Cut Diamonds are also known as Candlelight Diamonds, because their looks evoke a romantic ambience. Their corners are rounded and they exhibit a high degree of returning light, which makes them sparkle in an extraordinary way.


    Remember:

    • Unless you're purchasing a diamond as an investment, for which a round brilliant is strongly recommended, choose the shape which pleases you most.
    • Other than your personal preference, what is most important to consider is how much the shape of the diamond is enhancing its brilliance and fire.

    Among the other factors that influence your decision about choosing the shape and the cut of your stone, look at Proportions.