A diamond’s clarity is determined by identifying any imperfections within the body of the stone. There are a variety of identifiable types of diamond inclusions such as carbon spots, pinpoints, clouds, needles, included crystals and feathers. Diamonds with no internal inclusions are very rare, and are referred to as “flawless” diamonds. The majority of jewelry-quality diamonds have some degree of internal imperfection, and are graded as follows:
Flawless: Flawless stones contain no internal inclusions. FL graded stones have no external or internal inclusions. IF graded stones have no internal inclusions, but have some small degree of surface imperfection.
Very Very Slightly Included: VVS graded stones have an absolute minimum of internal inclusions which are very difficult to view even under 10x magnification.
Very Slightly Included: VS graded stones contain some internal inclusions which are nearly impossible to see unless under 10x magnification.
Slightly Included: SI graded stones contain some inclusions which are visible under 10x magnification, and may be visible to the naked eye.
I1, I2, I3
Included: I graded stones contain inclusions which are clearly visible to the naked eye.
Color grades apply to white diamonds. A clear diamond will reflect light in much the same way as a prism, dividing the light ray up into various areas of the color spectrum. This effect is what is referred to as “fire.” The presence of color in a diamond will decrease the intensity of the stone’s “dispersion” or “fire.” Similarly diamonds with little to no color will display the most intense “fire.” Diamond color is graded along an alphabetical scale starting with “D,” as follows: D, E, F
Colorless: Diamonds which are graded D, E, or F are considered colorless, and are the most rare and expensive.
G & H
Near Colorless: Diamonds which are graded either G or H are considered near colorless. These stones in particular contain so little color that it is barely noticeable to the naked eye.
I & J
Near Colorless: Diamonds which are graded either I or J are also considered near colorless. These stones have a slight amount of color which may be evident to the naked eye.
Color grades do advance beyond J all the way up to Z.
A carat is a unit of measurement equivalent to 200 milligrams, which is used to weigh diamonds and gemstones. When considering what size diamond to choose, we suggest that you first decide on what your priorities are for choosing a stone. Usually it’s best to start with a budget for your diamond. Once you have decided on your budget, you can then decide whether you want the largest stone available in your budget, the stone with the best color available in your budget, or perhaps a stone which represents the best combination of the various criteria. Keep in mind the fact that as the carat weight of diamonds increase, they become exponentially rarer, and exponentially more expensive. So, a diamond weighing 2 carats (all other things being equal) will be significantly more expensive than the cost of two diamonds weighing 1 carat each.
The majority of high quality diamonds are sent to an independent grading facility such as the GIA (Gemological Institute of America), to receive an official grading certificate. There are a variety of independent laboratories which provide certification for diamonds. At these laboratories, the diamond is examined by a gemologist who will determine the stone’s measurements and weight, and grade the cut, color, clarity, symmetry, polish, and a variety of the stone’s other characteristics.
In order to ensure that your diamond jewelry looks its best, we advise that you clean it on a semi-regular basis. You will notice that over time, your diamond may begin to look dull or “foggy.” This is due to residue build-up on the stone and setting, often on the underside of your diamond. This residue is usually caused by hand lotions, soaps, and everyday dust and dirt. You can clean this residue from your diamonds in a variety of ways. If you happen to own a sonic cleaning machine, this will take care of most any residue build up on your jewelry. Otherwise, you can use a soft toothbrush and any mild ammonia diluted with water. Never use toothpaste or any other abrasive substance as it may damage your setting.
Along with regular cleaning, we also suggest that you treat your diamond jewelry with care. If you are an especially active person, you should consider having your diamonds set in bezel or channel settings as they provide your diamond with the most protection, and will ensure that your stone does not become loose from the setting. If you choose to have your diamonds set bead style, in pave, or in a prong setting, you should have them checked on a semi-regular basis by a good jeweler. Over time, the prong tips of settings will wear down, and your diamond may become loose in its setting. A jeweler can easily remedy this by tightening the setting and/or replacing the setting’s prong tips.