Diamond Education


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Diamond Shapes


Gemstone Education
The Four C's

Put simply, there are four universally accepted characteristics that all diamonds are graded by. They are known as the 4Cs, and they are Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat weight. It is the combination of these four “C’s” that determines a diamond’s value. By changing any of the characteristics, you can dramatically affect the diamond’s value, all other factors being equal.



The only one of the 4Cs that is within our control is a diamond's cut. Cut is the result of a craftsman’s skill in transforming a rough diamond into a breathtaking gem. A diamond has facets that allow light to enter it, become refracted, and exit in a rainbow of colors. So it follows that a better cut diamond does a better job of dazzling us with its beauty. Here’s the ‘secret’ to how a diamond sparkles:  

These measurements and percentages are different for each diamond, and are all taken into account in the evaluation of a diamond’s cut. In fact, each diamond shape (heart, round, oval, emerald, etc.) has its own set of guidelines for what makes a Premium or Good cut.

Another factor you’ll need to consider when choosing a diamond is its shape. Although ‘shape’ and ‘cut’ are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not the same. For more on this topic, please visit our Diamond Shapes section.



The most important thing to know about color when it comes to diamonds is, in general, the less color a diamond has, the more valuable it is, all other factors being equal. Diamonds are found in nature in a wide range of colors, from completely colorless (the most desirable trait) to slightly yellow, to brown. So-called ‘fancy color diamonds’ come in more intense colors, like yellow and blue, but these are not graded on the same scale.

The color grading system for diamonds uses the letters of the alphabet from D through Z, with ‘D’ being the most colorless and therefore the rarest and most valuable, and ‘Z’ having the least color within the normal range, and being the least valuable, all other factors being equal. A diamond’s color is determined by looking at it under controlled lighting and comparing them to the Gemological Institute of America’s color scale, which is based on a set of diamonds of known color. 


Diamond often contain tiny natural internal imperfections (inclusions) that occur in all but the finest diamonds. Clarity refers to the absence of these inclusions. Diamonds with the least and smallest imperfections receive the highest clarity grades. Diamonds are assigned a clarity grade that ranges from flawless (FL) to diamonds with most inclusions (I3).



Carat weight specifically refers to a diamond's weight. The carat is the standard unit of weight for diamonds and other gemstones. The same way a dollar is divided into a 100 pennies, a carat is divided into a 100 points. The majority of diamonds used in fine jewelry weigh one carat or less. To choose the best carat weight of a diamond you should consider the size of the finger, the size if your ring setting and your budget. 


Diamond Shapes

Round Asscher Emerald Marquise Pear
Radiant Princess Heart Oval Cushion





  The round brilliant cut diamond is by far the most popular, classic and timeless shape in diamonds. The most commonly chosen shape, round diamonds are renowned for its fire and brilliance since its shape has excellent light refraction properties. The round cut is considered to be the gold standard for diamonds. Round diamonds are better at reflecting light and dispelling color.



 The Asscher shape is similar to the emerald-cut, but its shape is square. Introduced in 1902 by Joseph Asscher, owner of the Royal Asscher Diamond Company. The Asscher cut is perfect for vintage style engagement rings. A perfectly cut Asscher diamond can radiate a great deal of shine and sparkle.




Emerald cut diamonds are usually rectangular in shape.This type of diamond is distinguished by its beveled corners and its rectangular facets. This shape highlights the clarity of the diamond and is more transparent than the other shapes. It is recommended when choosing an emerald cut diamond to ask for one with a higher clarity grade.





 The shape of a marquise diamond has gracefully pointed ends giving a subtle slimming effect on the fingers. Marquise diamonds can appear larger than other diamond shapes with the same carat weight because of its elongated length. 






This pear shape diamond is also referred to as a teardrop diamond for its single point and rounded end. It is a cross between the round and marquise cut. This diamond shape is ideal for the person who wants an elegant and sophisticated diamond. The pear cut is especially flattering on engagement rings and dangle earrings. 





This unique shape is a cross between a traditional round cut and an emerald cut and its signature are its trimmed corners. The radiant diamond emits a beautiful memorable glow, as the name suggests. These diamonds are square or rectangular in shape and were introduced to the jewelry industry in the 1970's. These diamonds have an intricate 70 facet cut which can intensify the color of the stone and is ideal for fancy color diamonds. 



First introduced in the 1980's the princess cut is the second most popular and sought after diamond shape. Princess diamond is a square stone with 90-degree corners and is a favorite for engagement rings. They are a great choice not only because they shine brightly and inclusions are less visible, but also they are less expensive. There is less rough diamond lost in the cutting process of a princess cut which helps keep the cost significantly lower. 



Nothing symbolizes love like a heart which makes the heart shape diamond popular gift for anniversary. It is one of the most difficult cuts to create and requires a skilled diamond cutter to ensure that both round ends of the heart are symmetrical. 






The oval diamond has the same number of facets as a round diamond. Thanks to its elongated shape the oval diamond can appear larger than a round diamond of equal carat weight and is also more flattering on the hand. Oval cuts are prone to showing color more easily and is therefore advisable to select a stone of this shape with an H color or higher.  





The cushion diamonds were first introduced in the 1800's. Cushion-cut diamonds are available in rectangular or square shapes. If you prefer a more antique and vintage look to your engagement ring the cushion cut diamonds are perfect choice. The cushion cuts are usually described as pillow-cut diamonds.  


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