Diamonds 101

Buying a Diamond can be a very fun, educational, and economical experience as long as the customer is properly guided by whom they choose to do business with.  Da Vinci Diamonds has always prided itself on providing the best Diamond buying experience to our customers for the simple reason that we always strive to educate the customer on the subject of Diamonds, offer the best discounts, and ONLY sell Certified Diamonds by GIA or EGL USA. 

When approaching the Diamond buying process, it is important to be educated on the different attributes that will affect the appearance of the Diamond, Setting, and essentially the entire engagement ring.  The following attributes are important when choosing the right Diamond:

Shape

Cut

Color

Clarity

Carat Weight

Certification

Shape

The first category to consider is shape.  What shaped Diamond appeals to you the most?

Da Vinci Diamonds applies the same standards to all Diamond shapes. A round brilliant cut Diamond is typically the first shape most people think of, but there are also many non-round, or "fancy-shaped", Diamonds available.  All of our Certified Diamondsare Certifed by GIA or EGL USA with clarities ranging from FL (Flawless) to SI2, Colors from D-J, and cut grades from Ideal/Excellent to Fair.

Since all of these Diamond shapes are very different, it is entirely up to you to select which shape appeals to you the most. Please take a look at the shapes below and decide which one “talks” to you the most.

Diamond shapes

Round

A Round Brilliant Cut Diamond or RBC, is definitely the most popular and most researched shape. For about 100 years, Diamond cutters have been using advanced theories in physics of light behavior and precise proportion calculations that show the most fire and brilliance in a round brilliant cut stone. In addition to being the most popular shape, a Round Diamond typically displays the most brilliance and truly “dances” when light is reflected in it.

Princess

A Princess Cut Diamond is typically the 2nd most popular shape behind a Round. It is a great option for an engagement ring and truly offers its own charm displaying brilliance and sharp features. The Princess Cut has pointed corners and is traditionally square in shape, however, Princess Cut Diamonds can vary in how square or rectangular they are.

For a Princess Cut Diamond that is square, look for length to width ratios between 1 and 1.05. If you prefer more of a rectangular shape, look for length to width ratios greater than 1.10.  The length to width ratio is calculated by dividing the Diamond’s longer measurement across the top by the Diamond’s shorter measurement across the top. 

Maximizing the brilliance of a Round Brilliant Cut involves selecting a higher cut grade such as Excellent or Very Good.  It is truly a thing of beauty to view a well cut Diamond.

Emerald

An Emerald Cut is much different than a Round or Princess since the lower half or pavilion, is cut with rectangular facets that create a very unique optical appearance. Emerald Cuts typically have a very large Table, which is the largest facet on the Diamond and the most prominent as it takes up the majority of the outline. Clarity is a very important attribute for an Emerald Cut, simply because imperfections can most easily be seen due to the large rectangular facets. If you choose an Emerald Cut with a lower clarity grade, such as the SI category, it is important to review the clarity plot on the Diamond Certificate to make sure no inclusions are too prominent in the table. Length to Width ratios are also very important with Emerald Cuts as they can vary greatly in how rectangular versus how square they are. People who prefer an Emerald Cut with a square outline, should most likely opt for an Asscher Cut Diamond. In order to find out which emerald shape is most suited for you, we recommend looking at the length to width ratio to determine how the outline of the diamond will appear.

For a classic Emerald Cut outline, we recommend looking at length to width ratios between 1.30 and 1.50.

Asscher

An Asscher Cut Diamond is a very unique shape that is essentially an Emerald Cut Diamond that has a square outline.  This shape also has a pavilion that is cut with rectangular facets in the same style as the Emerald Cut so the same advice for the Emerald Cut above also applies to Asscher.

Marquise

The shape of a Marquise Diamond can maximize carat weight, which means you can get a much larger look for the same amount of carat weight as a different shape.  A Marquise shape is a brilliant cut Diamond, and looks beautiful when set with round shaped or pear shaped side stones.  A Marquise shape is typically set long ways down the finger to give a more elegant and slender look. Much like an Emerald Cut, the appearance of a Marquise really depends on the length to width ratio of the Diamond. The length to width ratio will determine the Diamond's outline, which will determine its physical appearance.

Traditional marquise outlines typically have length to width ratios between 1.75 and 2.25.

Oval

An Oval Shape has many similarities to a Round Brilliant Cut. Oval Diamonds, much like Marquise Diamonds are set long ways down the finger to accentuate the elegance of the finger and give the wearer a slender look.  Just like the Marquise, in order to find the dimension of oval you want, you should look at the length to width ratio and choose what is most appealing to your eye. The length to width ratio will determine the Diamond's outline, which is the appearance it will have when viewed from the top. 

The most traditionally shaped Oval Diamonds typically have a length to width ratio between 1.30 and 1.65.

Radiant

Beveled corners are the trademark of a Radiant Cut Diamond as they make this beautiful shape a very fiery and versatile stone. A Radiant Cut looks beautiful when it is set with a large variety of smaller shaped stones which is why this shape is consistently a popular choice. Similar to an Emerald Cut, Radiant Cut Diamonds vary in their outlines.  Some are square shape where others are more rectangular. To find the dimensions you desire, take a look at the length to width ratio in order to determine the outline. The length to width ratio will determine the diamond's outline, its appearance from the top. 

For a Radiant Cut that is square, look for length to width ratios between 1 and 1.05. If you prefer more of a rectangular shape, look for length to width ratios greater than 1.10.

Pear

A Pear Shape Diamond is also considered to be a Brilliant Cut Stone as it contains both triangular and kite shaped facets. The unique look of a Pear Shape makes it a popular choice for a variety of Diamond jewelry, including an Engagement Ring.

Much like an Oval Shape, the length to width ratio will determine the outline of the Diamond and how it appears from the top view. For the most traditional Pear Shaped Diamond, length to width ratios will be between 1.45 and 1.75. 

Heart

The unique look of a Heart Shaped Diamond makes it a great choice for a large variety of Diamond Jewelry, including an Engagement Ring.  To find the dimensions of a Heart Shape you desire, look again at the length to width ratio. The length to width ratio will determine the Diamond's outline, which is its appearance from the top view. 

Most traditionally shaped Hearts have a length to width ratio between 0.90 and 1.10. 

Cushion

Cushion Cut Diamonds have gained much popularity in recent years and are a gorgeous option especially when combined with micro pave diamond settings.  At first glance, Cushion Cut Diamonds look much like Round Brilliant Cut Diamonds with a few minor differences. Cushion Cut Diamonds  have rounded corners with large facets, which give them a "pillow" appearance, also known as a Cushion.  These larger facets accentuate the Diamond's clarity, so choosing a Cushion Cut with a Clarity Grade of SI1 or better is recommended. Cushion Cut Diamonds also vary slightly in proportions ranging from square to rectangular.  To find the dimensions you desire, look again at the length to width ratio to determine how you want the outline of the Diamond to appear.  Square shaped Cushion Cuts will have length to width ratios between 1.00 and 1.10 while more rectangular Cushion Cuts will have length to width ratios higher than 1.20.  

Cut

A Diamond’s Cut is it’s most important characteristic as it influences the Diamond's beauty and it's brilliance. Cut refers to how perfectly the symmetry and proportions of the Diamond capture light and then deliver it to the eye in the form of brilliance. If the Diamond does not have exceptional proportions, or if the symmetry is off, the light will not travel through the Diamond efficiently and return to the eye with maximum brilliance. 

A well cut Diamond will appear very fiery and brilliant, while a poorly cut stone will appear dark and lifeless, regardless of its color and clarity.

Not only do well cut Diamonds appear more brilliant, they also generally appear larger than other stones of the same carat weight.   

Please view the diagrams and Cut Grade descriptions below to further understand Cut.  

Ideal Cuts

Ideal Cut:

An Ideal Cut Diamond will reflect the vast majority of all the light entering the stone and exhibit maximum brilliance.  These Diamonds are absolutely gorgeous and very rare. 

Very Good Cut:

A Diamond in this category is very similar to an Ideal Cut and will reflect the majority of the light that enters.  These stones are not quite as rare as Ideal Cut Diamonds so they are priced lower. 

Good Cut:

A Diamond in this category will reflect most of the light that enters, and is more common than the two previous Cut Grades. 

Fair Cut:

Diamonds in this category are still going to reflect a large amount of the light that enters, however, they will not exhibit nearly as much brilliance as the other three Cut Grades.

A Diamond's Cut is graded by several measurements and ratios that essentially show how well the stone is cut. The first important ratio is the Depth Percentage, which is the measurement of the Diamond's height vs. the width of the stone's outline.  The second important ratio is the Table Percentage, which is the  measurement of the Table (largest facet located on the top of the Diamond) vs. the width of the stone's outline.  These percentages are shown on the GIA or EGL reports. 

There is a little bit of variation in what gemologists and Diamond experts typically desire for Depth Percentage and Table Percentage, thus there are certain ranges these percentages must be within in order for a Diamond to achieve an Ideal Cut Grade. Other factors that affect a Diamond's Cut Grade are crown angle, culet size, and polish/symmetry rating. 

  •  Polish and Symmetry grades are typically determined under 10X magnification, yet they still have an effect on the overall beauty of the Diamond.  Polish is basically the grading of the Diamond's surface, which takes into account how smooth the facets are and whether or not they contain any nicks or abrasion.   Symmetry is the grading of how well shaped each individual facet on the Diamond is. 

Diamond Anatomy

Color

Color is a very important attribute when selecting your Diamond simply because the quality is easily visible to your naked eye.  Typically, a whiter Diamond containing no color is more appealing to the eye.  Diamonds containing no color are much more rare than Diamonds that do contain color.  Much like many other valuable commodities, the rarer the commodity, the more valuable. 

  • The Color Grade basically grades the whiteness of the Diamond with D being completely colorless to Z having noticeable color.
  • A Color Grade of D is the highest possible, while Z is the lowest.
  • Since any grade lower than J shows noticeable color, Da Vinci Diamonds only sells Diamonds that have a Color Grade of J or better. 

Color in Diamonds typically shows up as a pale yellow, which is why a Diamond's Color Grade is based on its lack of color. The less color a Diamond contains, the higher its Color Grade. After cut, color is generally considered the second most important characteristic when selecting a Diamond simply because the human eye easily notices the brilliance of a Diamond which greatly depends on how much color a Diamond contains.  Diamonds with higher Color Grades in the near colorless and colorless ranges will have much more brilliance than Diamonds with lower Color Grades containing more color. 

Da Vinci Diamonds is proud to carry only the finest Diamonds with Color Grades between D and J. Diamonds graded J or better are considered colorless or near colorless, where color is typically undetectable to the naked eye. 

Diamond Color:

J-I

Near-colorless. Diamonds in this category are a great value, and have slightly noticeable amounts of color.

H-G

Near-colorless. Diamonds in this category have color that is very difficult to detect unless directly compared to Diamonds with a higher Color Grade.

F-E

Colorless. These Diamonds contain very small traces of color that may be detected by a Gemologist using laboratory equipment.  These Diamonds are very rare. 

D

Absolutely colorless. The highest Color Grade given to a Diamond. These Diamonds are Extremely Rare. 

For a customer who is very particular and does not mind paying more for the absolute highest Color Grade available, the Colorless Range of D-F is recommended.  For a customer who prefers the best possible value and desires the Diamond to have no color to the naked eye, the near colorless range of G-I is recommended.   

Clarity

Clarity is another very important attribute to consider when selecting your Diamond as it measures the amount of imperfections a Diamond contains that affects the Diamond’s brilliance and visual appearance. 

  • Clarity is essentially the measure of the number and size of small imperfections that most Diamonds naturally contain. 
  • Most of these imperfections are microscopic, however, some imperfections are visible to the naked eye and can be detrimental to the Diamond’s brilliance and overall beauty.
  • Typically, as long as you choose a Clarity Grade that is SI2 or higher, it is difficult to see any of the imperfections with your naked eye. 

A Diamond’s Clarity is a very important attribute and is very easy to understand for the observer.  Although Clarity does not affect the Diamond’s appearance as much as Color, it is still an important factor in the Diamond’s brilliance.  For example, if a Diamond is heavily included, the imperfections can block some of the reflecting light inside the stone resulting in less brilliance.  Also, some heavily included Diamonds contain imperfections that can be seen with the naked eye, which really damage the beauty of the stone.  There are numerous ways to describe imperfections in a Diamond with a variety of technical names, including feathers, pin points, and crystals to name a few. Diamonds with the fewest and smallest imperfections receive the highest clarity grades. Diamonds with fewer or no inclusions at all are typically much more rare, thus making them more valuable. 

Clarity:

FL, IF

Flawless, Internally Flawless: A Flawless Clarity Grade describes a Diamond with no internal or external imperfections. An Internally Flawless Diamond describes a stone with no internal imperfections. Both of these Clarity Grades are extremely rare.

VVS1,
VVS2

Very, Very Slightly Included: Diamonds that have a Clarity Grade of VVS1 or VVS2 are excellent quality stones with imperfections that can barely be detected even with the aid of a 10x Power Microscope. Diamonds with this Clarity Grade are very rare.

VS1,
VS2

Very Slightly Included: Diamonds with a Clarity Grade of VS1 or VS2 have imperfections that are detectable with the aid of a 10x Power Microscope, but still cannot be seen with the naked eye.  Diamonds with this Clarity Grade are rare.

SI1,
SI2

Slightly Included: Diamonds with a Clarity Grade of SI1 or SI2 typically contain imperfections that are visible under 10x magnification, and may also be visible to the naked eye. Diamonds with this Clarity Grade are slightly more common and a great value as the imperfections are still difficult to see with the naked eye.

I1

Included: Da Vinci Diamonds offers very few Diamond choices with this Clarity Grade simply because I1 stones contain inclusions that are easily seen with the naked eye.  These Diamonds are certainly less rare, and cheaper as a result.

I2, I3

Da Vinci Diamonds does not carry diamonds with I2 or I3 Clarity Grades.

Carat Weight

Many people consider Carat Weight to be a measure of size when referring to a Diamond, however, Carat Weight is a measure of exactly that; Weight.  Some Diamonds may weigh the exact same amount, but have a totally different appearance in size depending on how they are cut.  Two of the same shaped Diamonds with identical weight can have totally different outlines, which is why Cut is also a very important attribute.  Here are some key points to remember when examining Carat Weight. 

  • Carat Weight is a direct measure of a Diamond's weight, and does not necessarily determine the size or outline of the Diamond.
  • Carat Weight certainly affects the cost of the Diamond simply because larger stones of high quality are much rarer, thus the cost of a Diamond typically increases exponentially with the Carat Weight.
  • In order to have a better understanding of Carat Weight and the size of the Diamond, it is important to examine the measurement of the Diamond across the top/outline of the stone and the depth of the Diamond as well.  When examining the Carat Weight with these other two factors, you will have a better understanding of how the Carat Weight is allocated.  Even though Carat Weight isn’t a direct measurement of size, it does of course typically affect whether the Diamond is smaller or larger. 

It is also important to have a good understanding how a Diamond’s Cut Grade can affect the appearance of the stone.  Regardless of the shape, Cut Grade is based on the combination of Depth Percentage and Table Percentage. Depth Percentage refers to how tall or deep the Diamond is relative to the measurement of the outline of the Diamond.  Table Percentage refers to the measurement of the table (the largest facet on the Diamond located directly on top) relative to the measurement of the outline of the Diamond.  These two ratios in large part determine the Cut Grade of a Diamond and how much brilliance it will exhibit.  If a Diamond is cut well and has the right proportions, light is efficiently reflected and the Diamond will exhibit maximum brilliance and sparkle.  If a Diamond is not cut well, light will not reflect efficiently and leak out of the sides or bottom of the stone.  Diamonds with poor Cut Grades may have too much of the Carat Weight in the bottom of the stone where it is hidden, and will make a Diamond appear smaller than its Carat Weight suggests.  If there is too much Carat Weight distributed to the bottom of the Diamond, light will typically leak out of the sides.  A Diamond with a poor Cut Grade may also be too short, or have a pancake appearance due to an oversized table.  Diamonds with this appearance typically have light leak out of the bottom of the stone.  

So it is possible to have a Diamond with lower carat weight, but better cut grade, that exhibits the appearance of a larger stone than a Diamond of higher carat weight with a poorer cut grade. 

After you have decided on Color, Clarity, and Cut, Carat Weight is typically determined based on what will fit inside your budget. 

Certification

When purchasing a Diamond, Certification is of course a very important aspect of the decision making process.  All of the Diamonds in our inventory are certified by GIA or EGL.  Both of these laboratories are very well known and highly respected in the industry.  They are very conservative in their grading and very consistent as well which make buying a Diamond much easier for the consumer. 

A Diamond Certificate, also known as a Diamond Report, is a report from its respective laboratory that has been put together by a team of gemologists who have examined the Diamond. The Diamond is evaluated and measured in the laboratory using precise instruments including a jeweler’s loupe, microscope, and other industry tools. The Diamond Certificate includes a breakdown and analysis of the Diamond’s measurements/dimensions, clarity grade, color grade, polish, symmetry, fluorescence, and a plot or diagram showing the layout of the Diamond.  Round Diamonds may also include the cut grade as well.