A diamond’s cut grade refers to just that—how well it was cut. The facets, symmetry, and reflective qualities of a diamond all hang on how well shaped and cut it is. Cut grades from highest to lowest are:
- Very Good
A well-cut diamond ranking in Ideal and Excellent will refract light better and give off greater brilliance, simultaneously appearing larger than bigger stones with a lower cut quality. The cut grade of a diamond is crucial to the brilliance or fire you’ll see refracting from a well-cut diamond—an Ideal or Excellent cut diamond is also going to look better than stones with a higher color grade but lower cut grade.
The cut of a diamond shouldn’t be confused with the shape of a diamond. Shape refers to the actual appearance of the stone, whether that’s round, pear, oval, etc. Cut has everything to do with facets, symmetry, dimensions, and the reflective attributes of a diamond.
Diamond color varies similarly to the clarity—it’s all determined by trace elements that interact with the carbon atoms during the formation of the stone. Elements such as boron, sulfur, and nitrogen can mix in and create stones that are various shades of blue, yellow, and pink. This can result in diamonds that are brilliantly blue, yellow, or pink, called fancy colors, but usually the traces of these colors are far more faint. The following GIA color grading scale is used to determine the amount of color in an otherwise white (colorless) diamond. Not to be confused with fancy diamond colors. Most often a white diamond will have a hint of yellow, brown or gray which gives it a lower ranking based on the amount of color.
Color grades for white diamonds have a scale of D-Z with D being colorless and Z being the most color as indicated here:
- D (Colorless)
- E (Near Colorless)
- F (Near Colorless)
- G (Faint Color)
- H (Faint Color)
- I (Faint Color)
- J (Color)
- K (Color)
Stones in the D-F color range fall into the colorless category and are considered the highest color quality. In the G-I range, are stones that are slightly colored, though barely discernible for non-experts. The closer your stone is to colorless (D), the higher the value..
Clarity is a measurement of flaws or imperfections in the stone. Diamonds are formed through intensive heat and pressure, a process that often results in natural birthmarks called inclusions. Inclusions are considered defects that can marr the beauty of a diamond. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In one stone they might not be visible at all to the naked eye, and in another, they might be visible and obvious. Clarity grades from highest to lowest include:
- FL (Flawless)
- IF (Internally Flawless)
- VVS1 (Very Very Slightly Included)
- VVS2 (Very Very Slightly Included)
- VS1 (Very Slightly Included)
- VS2 (Very Slightly Included)
- SI1 (Slightly Included)
- SI2 (Slightly Included)
- I1 (Included)
- I2 (Included)
- I3 (Included)
The difference in the VVS1 and VVS2 is slight, but can mean there are more slightly included elements in the stone. The same goes for the difference between any other pairing of ‘1’ or ‘2’ within a clarity ranking. These rankings are determined by professional diamond graders who examine the stones very closely under a 10x magnifying device called a “loupe” and note any instances of inclusions, then rank the diamond based on this clarity scale. The higher a stone’s clarity, the higher the value.
The carat of a diamond is the physical measurement of its weight. A carat is quantified by grams. For instance, one carat equals 0.200 or ⅕ of a gram and is subdivided into 100 points. The actual process of measuring this is technical and a little complicated. But the bottom-line is this: the larger the carat, the bigger the diamond.
Different shapes of diamonds will show carat weights differently. What we mean by this is that a round shaped diamond is going to measure slightly larger in diameter on the crown (the top part of the stone) but most of that carat weight is going to manifest in the stone’s pavilion depth (the lower vertical portion of the stone). Whereas an oval shaped diamond will measure longer and larger on the crown and more shallow in the pavilion. This can make some diamond shapes appear larger or smaller to the eye even though their carat weight is the same.
Moissanite was discovered in the 19th century by a chemist named Henri Moissan. Though naturally-occuring, it is extremely rare because it comes from space. It was originally discovered as part of a meteorite. This is why the moissanite you hear about in regards to wedding rings is lab-created. Moissanite can make a great diamond substitute, though when it comes to durability, brilliance, and color the two are actually quite different.
Diamonds are harder than moissanites, but moissanites are also very durable and can be worn daily for a lifetime. When it comes to brilliance, a moissanite gives off a more rainbow light refraction that differs from diamonds. Most moissanites are colorless, but they–just like diamonds–can come in tints and hues, particularly yellow or grayish ones.
The most distinct difference between diamonds and moissanite is the price. You can get a moissanite which mimics a diamond very well for significantly less than what you would spend on a diamond.
Lab Grown Diamonds
For many years, mined/natural diamonds (mined from the earth) have been what most people buying an engagement ring have aspired to. And that remains a great option, mined diamonds maintain a high perceived value for the effort that goes into mining , cutting, and polishing them. Only now you have great alternative options that are worth considering.
At Wilson Diamonds, we are pleased to offer a more affordable alternative to mined diamonds: lab grown diamonds. Unlike diamond imitations, lab grown diamonds are chemically identical to mined diamonds—they are real diamonds simply grown in a lab instead of deep within the earth. The process for making a diamond is the same in the lab as it is underground, in an environment of intense heat and pressure. The most common growing method (Chemical Vapor Deposition aka CVD) starts with a chemically pure diamond seed and is sealed in a chamber of intense heat and pressure while introducing a carbon vapor which results in a full-grown, gem quality diamond.
Lab grown diamonds come in all shapes and sizes with inclusions and color variations just like in nature. The major benefit is that you can often save 30-40% in cost for a lab grown when compared with a mined diamond of equivalent size and quality. It may not be the right option for you, but it’s definitely worth exploring. We offer both mined or lab grown options based on your preference. Message us to find out more about what diamond option is the right one for you.
Gemstones are a colored mineral that has been affected by being deep down in the earth, much like a diamond. Most gemstones can be cut and polished and used in jewelry—they range in color, shape, clarity, etc. Gemstones can offer an exotic, colorful, and majestic addition to any piece of jewelry, including engagement rings. We offer a range of precious to semi-precious gemstones. The limitation of many gemstones is that they are significantly softer than diamonds and can eventually scratch or dull. On the plus side, except for some more rare types, they often cost less than diamonds and can be re-cut or polished to restore their luster.
We use sapphires in all colors. The most common sapphire color is blue, but they come in additional hues including green, purple, pink, and yellow. Pink sapphires tend to be the most rare, and yellow sapphires closely resemble yellow diamonds. Sapphires are considered precious stones and are among the hardest non-diamond gemstones.
Another precious stone and similar to emeralds, rubies can come in a range of reds, including being as light as pink, but the rarest and most valued ruby will be blood-red. Rubies stand apart from sapphires for their popularity, but they actually fall into the same gemstone family and are among the hardest non-diamond gemstones which makes them ideal for jewelry. The cost of a natural ruby can be significantly higher than other gemstones or even diamonds depending on the color.
Emeralds are also precious stones and are known for their splendid and stunning green color—a color that can vary depending on the quality of the stone. Some emeralds are lighter green while others are a darker, deeper green.
Opals offer a unique coloring and shape that you don’t see in other gemstones. They are characterized by being translucent or transparent with a smattering of rainbow coloring. Opals can be both white or black and considered to be semi-precious.
Morganite is a semi-precious, light pink or orange-colored gemstone in the Beryl family of gemstones that places it in a similar class to that of emeralds.
Aquamarine is a light blue, semi-precious gemstone that is also part of the Beryl gemstone family, matching Morganite for its pale coloring.