Diamond Buying Guide

Diamond Buying Guide

Diamond and Engagement Rings Buying Guide for Detailed Analysis and Instructions 

sdsds-06828.14498630sadfasdfsafd98.1280.1280.pngGeneral Important Guidelines:

In-Depth Analysis of Various Diamond Shapes

 Diamond Anatomy Information:

Please follow these instructions for guidelines and insights prior to purchasing an engagement ring or diamond. These are offered as our suggestions based on our experience and insights from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), American Gem Society (AGS), and the International Diamond Council, among others. Please use your best discretion to make an informed decision. Using multiple sources is always recommended. 

What is Diamond?

Diamond is a precious crystalline stone made from pure carbon. Also, a hardest naturally occurring substance with greatest thermal conductivity.

Diamond Facts:

  • Diamond is the hardest material on earth – according GIA, 58 times harder than anything else in nature.
  • Diamonds are the only gem made of a single element as around 99% of it is carbon.
    Most diamonds are formed more than a billion years ago.
  • Less 20% of all diamonds found are true gem quality and the rest are used for industrial purposes
  • Diamonds were only mined in India until 18th century
  • America procures 40% of world’s diamonds even though she mines or produces almost no diamonds

Diamond Cut:

Cut is the most important factor in assessing a diamond. GIA offers a cut grade for round diamonds only. AGS offers it for round and other fancy shape diamonds. GIA's cut grade ranges from excellent to poor whereas AGS’s cut grade ranges from Ideal to Poor. Detailed information about how to assess the cut of different shapes of diamond is available on our website. For example, if you wanted to determine the cut of grade of a round cut diamond, it would be best to refer to that page on our website.

When evaluating a diamond, one of the most important aspects that you should pay attention to is the quality of its cut. The other 3 Cs (Color, clarity and carat) are important too, but the cut is what determines the amount of sparkle that you will get from the diamond, which is essentially the point of buying a diamond in the first place. A diamond that is properly cut will have all its facets well-proportioned and angled to reflect and refract light properly, maximizing the good effects while preventing any light from escaping prematurely through the back of the stone. A well cut stone will look brilliant and attractive while one with substandard cutting will look dull and lifeless.

Diamond Color:

GIA’s color grading scale is used as the industry’s standard for determining the color of a diamond. In white diamonds, D-F are considered Colorless, G-J are considered Near Colorless, K-M are considered Faint, N-R are considered Very Light Yellow, and S-Z are considered Light Yellow. Color in white diamonds is often considered as the second most important price determinant after the Cut of a diamond.

In white diamonds, purest diamonds are colorless and that’s a reference point to the color grade of a diamond. Higher color grade of a diamond means lesser color in it or how close it is to being colorless. A color grade of D is the highest grade whereas Z is the lowest grade. Diamond color grading is done according to GIA’s D-to-Z grading scale, and it’s accepted as the standard method worldwide. For an untrained eye, it would be extremely difficult to determine slight differences in the color grade of a diamond. Therefore, following GIA’s grading system is the easiest method to verify the color of a diamond. It gets even harder to recognize the real color of a diamond once it is set into a ring or necklace. As the carat weight of a diamond increases, color grade becomes easier to differentiate. D, E and F are colorless diamonds and therefore very pure and expensive. On the other hand, S and Z are light yellow color diamonds and will be substantially cheaper.

Diamond Clarity:

GIA’s clarity grade scale is the industry standard for determining the clarity of a diamond. Clarity is a critical factor in determining the price of a diamond. Diamond Clarity ranges from Flawless to I3 (or included 3). Consider diamonds that have clarity grade of SI2 or higher for under 1 carat stone and SI1 or above for 1.5ct or above. Avoid SI2 diamonds that have clarity grade solely based off clouds as they look ugly. Clouds in VS clarity grade diamonds should not be an issue!

Clarity is a relative term and very few diamonds would be flawless or inclusion free. Choose a diamond that you like, which sparkles best and is affordable. Stay above SI2 GIA/AGS color grade. Avoid diamonds the clarity of which is severally affected by clouds! Inclusions in a diamond are its birthmarks and are some of the most important factors in confirming a diamond based off a GIA or AGS report if the diamond has no laser inscription. Some people actually prefer VS and SI diamonds to Flawless diamond due to this fact! 

Diamond Carat Weight:

One carat today is equal to 0.2 grams i.e. size of a paperclip. A carat is divided into one hundred points. When you are shopping for a diamond, carat would be the most common term you’ll hear from jewelers, and that’s how diamonds are presented besides many other features or shapes of diamonds.

The larger the carats weight of a diamond, the higher its price per carat! Two engagement rings each having a diamond weighing one carat may cost $2,000 each whereas one ring having a two carats diamond may cost $10,000. Generally speaking, a bigger diamond can be considerably more expensive than a smaller one. For example, a Round SI1 F V.Good Cut 1ct would be $4,800 and a similar 2ct would be $15,000 (the per carat weight of the 2ct. one becomes $7500). At the same time there are many other factors that determine the price of a diamond. This includes the Color, Clarity, and Cut of a diamond, among others.

Diamond Table:

The table of the diamond is one of the facets that make up the crown and is the most important facet to be considered when evaluating the cut of the diamond. It is the main point at which light enters the diamond before going on to reflect and refract all around it. It is also the facet that lets out the most fire and sparkle. Though the table is usually the largest facet of any diamond, the proportion of its size varies, depending on the particular shape or style in which the diamond has been cut.

Diamond Culet:

Culet (pronounced as Kullet or Kyoo-lit) is a polished facet at the bottom of a gemstone parallel to the table. The word culet is derived from a Latin word culus that means bottom. Culet size as determined by GIA is based on following scale: None—>Very Small —> Small —> Medium —> Slightly Large —> Large —> Very Large. According GIA, “the culet is a polished facet placed parallel to the table, the purpose of which is to prevent damage to the point. In the GIA Laboratory, graders first assess culet size face-up, looking through the table facet at 10X magnification. The size of this facet is assigned a description from none to extremely large. If there is no culet facet, the size is reported as none. When the culet is at more than a slight angle to the table facet, the size is also reported as none, as it is no longer considered a culet but an extra facet. Graders observe the diamond in profile view to assess this angle.” 

Diamond Girdle:

Girdle is defined as the edge of a diamond that is the widest part of any diamond. It is formed during the process of edging or cutting of a diamond and holds great deal of importance for diamond cutters. Since girdle is the widest part of any diamond hence the width of any diamond is measured by measuring its girdle. It is measured length-wise as 100%. A girdle can be a guideline towards excellence of a cut and therefore quality of any diamond. Most diamonds have two divisions - crown and pavilion, and girdle is the meeting point or a joint of these two limbs of a diamond.

There are three main types of girdles; faceted, bruited and polished girdles. A faceted girdle means that there are rows or waves of small polished sides around the diamond. A brutes diamond girdle means that there is just one row of unpolished exterior. A polished girdle is of course a polished smooth one, as obvious from its name. Interestingly, these types of girdles in a diamond do not directly influence its value, unlike cut, color, clarity and carat.

GIA has laid down following scales of a girdle:

-Extremely Thin

-Very Thin


-Slightly Thin


-Slightly Thick


-Very Thick

-Extremely thick

Diamond Pavilion:

The pavilion of a diamond is its lower part below the girdle. It is composed of the facets that form the longer part of diamond where light that passes through the crown is reflected and refracted to give the diamond the optimum brilliance and fire. The ratio of the pavilion’s total size and facets to the crown is the subject of some disagreement in the jewelry industry. However, a number of standards have been drawn up to show what the optimal diamond cut looks like. After all though, the beauty of a diamond, as with anything else, is in the eyes of the beholder and personal preference should reign supreme.

Diamond Crown:

The crown of a diamond, as may be inferred from the name itself, refers to the upper part of the diamond. It comprises of all the facets, including the table of the diamond that act as windows where light passes through to the interior of the diamond. The crown facet also acts to disperse light throughout the diamond, giving off the fire and brilliance that diamonds are known for. Apart from that, the crown facet bends the light that comes into the diamond in a way different from the table: giving a shifted version of what would be visible through the table. This is what shapes the arrow heads that are visible when one looks through the crown, creating more virtual facets and forming the structured contrast pattern that increases a diamond’s brilliance and sparkle. Technically, the girdle of a diamond is part of the crown: the widest part of the diamond that forms a band and the dividing line between the crown and the pavilion, where the shape begin to taper towards the tiny facet that is often made to protect the tip of the stone.