Shopping for diamonds and jewelry can be an overwhelming experience if it is unfamiliar territory to you. However, with the right guidance and an understanding of the basic principles, you can learn to be confident with your choices and excited about making a purchase for your loved ones.
Stephanie Gottlieb Fine Jewelry is built on the principle that buying diamonds and jewelry should be an enjoyable experience! My education section will outline everything you need to know so that you will feel informed and assured when making your selection.
In order to understand diamonds, one must know that every stone is unique. No two diamonds are exactly alike. Therefore, in order to understand a diamonds' qualities, we depend upon the Gemological Institute of America’s (GIA) globally accepted standard for describing diamonds, otherwise known as the 4 Cs of Diamond Quality.
THE 4 Cs
Of the 4 Cs, the "cut" is the most crucial component to a particular stone’s overall beauty and value. The Cut should not be confused with the “shape” of a diamond. The Cut is an objective measure of a diamond’s light performance or “sparkle”. In an ideally cut stone, the light entering the diamond reflects internally from facet to facet, and is reflected back out only through the top of the stone (called the Crown), thus creating the fire and brilliance of the stone. If a diamond is cut too shallow or too deep, light leaks out the bottom or the sides of the stone, causing the stone to appear dark.
The “shape” of a diamond refers to the overall outline of the stone. There is no “right”, “wrong”, “good”, or “bad” when it comes to the shape of a stone. The beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. If you are confused about which shape to buy, contact me to make an appointment and together we can walk through the options.
After the diamond Cut, Color is generally considered the second most important attribute when selecting a diamond. A diamond’s color grade refers to the lack of color in the stone. The GIA grades diamond color on a scale beginning with D, which represents “colorless”, and continues to Z as the presence of color increases. While most diamonds appear to have no color to the untrained eye, in fact most stones usually contain slight tones of yellow. Diamonds in the D-to-F range are considered “Colorless”, and therefore are the most expensive. Diamonds in the G-to-I range are considered “Near Colorless” and are often considerably less expensive. Beyond the I-grade, diamonds are considered to have “Noticeable color”.
A diamond’s Clarity grade is based on the number, size, and location of the imperfections that occur in almost every diamond. The internal imperfections in a diamond are called “inclusions” and the external imperfections are referred to as “blemishes”. Most imperfections tend to be microscopic and generally do not affect the overall beauty of a stone. When selecting a diamond, the buyer will determine if he/she is comfortable with the imperfections in a particular stone, since every diamond will have a different occurrence of imperfections. I always advise a buyer to choose an “eye clean” stone, which means that to the naked eye you cannot see any imperfections. These stones are usually VS1,VS2, SI1 or SI2. One should always keep in mind that depending on the location of an inclusion, once mounted in a ring, it is very possible that an inclusion will be hidden all-together by the ring setting that one selects.
The diamond Carat weight is a measurement of how much a diamond weighs. Each carat is divided into 100 “points”. For example a half-Carat stone is considered a “50 point diamond”. All else being equal, diamond price increases with Carat weight because larger diamonds are more rare, and thus more desirable.
TIPS FOR DIAMOND BUYING
When selecting a diamond one must consider all of the 4 Cs. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
The sparkle of a well-Cut diamond can make it appear larger than the actual carat weight might suggest.
The human eye tends to detect sparkle before color, which is why Color is generally considered the second most important characteristic of diamond, after Cut.
As diamond size increases, Color becomes more visible.
In general, one will not notice a difference in Color without jumping two color grades. When considering an "H" versus an "I" where all other factors are similar, the lower color grade might be worth the savings.
The type and color of the ring setting can affect the appearance of the diamond.