Diamonds 101

Diamonds are considered investments in the jewelry world.

A quality diamond will not only look incredible, but increase in value over time.

This brief guide will help you become familiar with diamond terminology and assist you in your future diamond quests.

Diamond Ring

Designed by Jeanette

Diamond Certification

With a diamond, what you see is not always what you get. Diamond grading (determining the quality of a diamond) is determined by a highly trained professional that can identify “unseen” conditions that will affect the longevity and value of your stone. Once a diamond has been inspected, a Certificate is generated for that particular stone rating it in each area of the Four C’s (see the information in the next section below).

Not all certifications are created equal. Two of the most common certification facilities are known as the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and the EGL (European Gemological Laboratory). The GIA is known to be more stringent particularly in the Color and Clarity of a diamond. You will notice a visible difference between a GIA certified stone and an EGL certified stone, and the price of each should reflect that variation.

The Infamous Four C’s

Carat –

This element characterizes the size of the diamond through its weight. One carat is divided into 100 points. A diamond that measures 0.75 carats can also be described as a 75 point diamond This is the easiest element to measure. A large diamond does not always mean a great looking diamond – the other elements will help you to narrow your range to find a diamond that is pleasing to the eye.

Diamond Color –

In a traditional diamond, good color means no color at all. As the quality of a diamond decreases, the color will become more visibly yellow. Color is rated on an alphabetical scale with D-F being colorless, G-J being near colorless, K-M being faint yellow, N-R being very light yellow, and S-Z being light yellow. Colored diamonds are desirable to some and can range in hue from pink and purple through black and blue. Colored diamonds are often heat treated to increase their intensity and can be just as desirable as colorless diamonds because of their unique beauty and brilliance.



Diamond Clarity –

Diamonds are created out of carbon – an element that is naturally black (think burned toast).  Nearly all diamonds have specs of carbon captured within the stone known as inclusions. Inclusions can also be created when diamond crystals form within another diamond.


A diamond with high clarity will have very few inclusions that can only be seen with 10x magnification. This level of diamond can be grouped into a clarity level known as “eye clean.” A diamond with poor clarity will often look cloudy and the inclusions will be large enough to see without any magnification. Inclusions that come to the surface of the diamonds are less than desirable as they can create a weak spot on the surface of the diamond.

– An internally flawless diamond has no inclusions and is known as the initials “IF”.
– A very, very slightly included diamond is rated as     “VVS1” or “VVS2”.
– A very slightly included diamond is rated as “VS1” or “VS2”.
– A slightly included diamond is “SI1” or “SI2″.
– An included diamond (these inclusions are visible” is rated as “I1”, “I2”, or “I3”.

Diamond Cut –

This element is often confused with the shape of the diamond. Rather, cut is associated with the proportions of the width, length, and height of the diamond. If the proportions are cut correctly, the diamond will reflect the maximum amount of light back through the top of the diamond towards the viewer. A poorly cut diamond will often appear dull or a silver/gray color. In oval or marquise diamonds, a poorly cut stone will look like it has a bow tie across the center of the stone. Cut is measured on the following scale: Excellent, Very Good, Good, and Poor.

Diamond Care

Diamonds are the hardest element on earth and can only be cut or polished only by another diamond. It is recommended to keep each piece of your diamond jewelry separate from each other when you store it. This will keep them from rubbing against and damaging your other fine jewelry pieces.

A combination of one part ammonia, and two parts water can be a fantastic cleaner for your diamond jewelry. You can gently rub the jewelry with a soft brush to help free it of stuck on dirt. Be cautious of the fine jewelry it is set in, as not to scratch the precious metal. As a Master IJO Jeweler we recommend coming in every 6 months for regular cleaning, and check to make sure your stones are tight and check the prongs or settings are not worn.

It is still possible to damage a diamond through a severe hit directly to the stone. The setting you choose should be secure and withstand your personal lifestyle. With appropriate care your jewelry will bring you joy for years to come.