Buying a diamond usually marks a truly special occasion. However, the process of buying a diamond can also create feelings of confusion and anxiety due to the amount of money and research required. When buying a diamond, consumer education is vital to understanding your upcoming diamond purchase. Do you really want the cheapest or do you want the best value? Be sure you are dealing with someone who knows the difference. Along with having a huge selection of quality diamonds to choose from, David Mann Jewelers are experts in grading and evaluating diamonds.
David Mann Jewelers has compiled some essential information to give you a basic understanding of diamonds, and the characteristics that affect their beauty and value. The first thing you should consider when you begin shopping for your perfect diamond is to determine your budget. Everyone's needs are different when it come to balancing cost and quality and you should know approximately how much you would like to spend and what the “absolute maximum” amount of money you can afford when making your diamond purchase.
Once you decide on your budget, you can begin to look for the best quality diamond(s) for your money: Since most of us don’t have unlimited funds to purchase a diamond, we have to make the best of what we can afford. Achieving a good balance between the four C’s (color, cut, clarity and carat weight) can be difficult, however it is essential to the diamond buying process. David Mann Jewelers can answer any questions about the characteristics of your potential diamond purchase and help you to find a diamond that is of good quality and a carat weight that will make you and your loved one happy while staying within your budget.
Below are detailed descriptions of the four C's (color, cut, clarity and carat weight) to help you understand what determines the value, quality and brilliance of your diamond:
The size and weight of a diamond is typically measured in carats. Although, when diamonds are less than 1 carat in size, they are often referred to in “points” rather than carats (1 carat is equal to 100 points). For example, a 0.50 carat diamond is the same as a 50 point diamond or a ½ carat diamond. The cost of a diamond increases exponentially with an increase in weight because larger diamonds are rarer than small diamonds. Simply stated, the more rare a diamond is, the higher its value. David Mann Jewelers can help you remain within your budget by helping you determine the perfect balance between diamond quality and the carat weight of your diamond.
Almost all diamonds contain minute traces of non-crystallized carbon or small non-diamond crystals that occur when diamonds crystallize in the earth over thousands of years and other materials become included or mixed in during their growth. Most of these are not discernible to the naked eye and require magnification to become visible. Referred to as inclusions, these natural blemishes that are characteristic of that particular stone are nature's fingerprint and make every diamond unique. The clarity rating of a diamond is based on the number, location, size, and type of the inclusions found in a diamond. Diamonds with fewer of these inclusions, are very rare and highly valued. David Mann Jewelers has diamonds ranging in clarity from internally flawless to slightly included in order to accommodate any budget.
While most diamonds appear white, virtually all display barely perceptible tints of color. Evaluating a diamond's color for grading purposes is done by measuring the degree to which a diamond approaches colorlessness. A diamond acts as a prism that divides light into a spectrum of colors and reflects this light as colorful flashes referred to as a diamond’s “fire”. The more colorless the diamond, the more vibrant this fire and brilliance will appear. Diamonds with very little color are the most highly valued types of diamonds, the most desirable of which would be a diamond with no color at all and would be priced accordingly. Grading of a diamond’s color is based on the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Color Scale of D-Z. David Mann Jewelers carries only the most brilliant diamonds with little or no color noticeable to the naked eye.
A diamond is brilliant because of the way it refracts and reflects light. The way a diamond is cut has the most effect on its brilliance and sparkle. When a diamond is well cut, with precisely calculated planes and angles that are neither too shallow nor too deep, the diamond achieves its greatest beauty. A poorly cut diamond, no matter how good its color and clarity will not match the fire and brilliance of a better-cut diamond with comparatively lower color and clarity. David Mann Jewelers carries only better cut stones to ensure all of our diamonds have the most sparkle, fire and brilliance.
Diamond Shapes and Styles
- Round Brilliant - the most classic cut
- Marquise - an elongated brilliant-cut stone with a point on each end
- Princess - typically a four-sided square to slightly rectangular brilliant cut
- Radiant - typically a slightly rectangular to square diamond
- Emerald - a traditional octagonal cut usually rectangular
- Pear - combines the brilliance and form of a round stone with the elongated elegance of a marquise
- Oval - reminiscent of the round brilliant cut, both in sparkle and shape
- Heart - more fanciful cut, shaped just as it sounds
Today there are many different stone shapes available (also referred to as "cuts") ranging from the classics to newer silhouettes that appear as diamond cutters endeavor to create new looks. These are the eight most popular and traditional cuts:
This is the most classic cut. A well made round brilliant diamond has 58 facets, is symmetrical, well polished, and reflects a very high percentage of the light that enters it - thus its name - round brilliant.
The Marquise diamond is an elongated brilliant-cut stone with a point on each end, which can vary in shape from long and slender to a shorter, broader appearance. In general, marquise diamonds are approximately twice as long as they are wide, but some prefer the look of a longer or shorter stone.
A Princess cut is typically a four-sided square, brilliant-cut diamond with pointed rather than truncated ("clipped") corners.
A Radiant cut is typically a slightly rectangular to square diamond. The radiant borrows its classic octagonal shape from the emerald cut, yet rivals the brilliance of a round stone.
Usually rectangular, this traditional octagonal cut demonstrates a classic elegance and transparency all its own. The unique, step-like facets on the pavilion (bottom) of the stone create subtle flashes of light.
A pear or teardrop shaped diamond combines the brilliance and form of a round stone with the elongated elegance of a marquise. While a pear is generally half again as long as it is wide, some prefer the look of a longer or shorter stone.
While reminiscent of the round brilliant cut, both in sparkle and shape, the oval maintains its own brand of elegance, and has recently become a very popular centerpiece for engagement rings.
A more fanciful cut, shaped just as it sounds, heart shaped diamonds make truly beautiful pendants and earrings, and have now begun to gain in popularity as engagement stones.
There is also more information available at the Federal Trade Commission's web site:
Article: How To Buy Jewelry - http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/products/pro02.shtm
Article: Buying Gold and Gemstone Jewelry - http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt087.shtm