Diamond Buying Guide
What to Look for When Buying a Diamond
Diamond clarity grades range from flawless (Fl) to heavily included. Between these ends of the spectrum are very, very small inclusions (VVS), very small inclusions (VS), small inclusions (SI), and included (I) grades.
The clarity grade a particular diamond is given is based on the size, nature, position, relief and number of inclusions with it. The clearer the diamond the more expensive the diamond will be.
The natural imperfections in diamonds are called inclusions. Diamonds are formed deep within the earth, under extreme heat and pressure. Diamonds often contain unique 'birthmarks' and these birthmarks can be either internal (inclusions) or external (blemishes). The types of the inclusions determine the clarity of the diamond. Diamonds that have no inclusions will reflect more light and are very rare. Nearly all diamonds contain some type of inclusion or tiny birthmarks, which make each stone unique. A key distinction in determining clarity between diamonds is whether the inclusions can be seen with the eye and diamonds with inclusions that cannot. Diamonds graded as SI2 and the I1 grades usually have inclusion visible to the naked eye.
A diamond comes in many different cuts. A precision-cut diamond with the correct proportions and angles is designed to give the maximum amount of light, brilliance, fire and therefore ultimate beauty.
The cut of a diamond is the only quality variable directly affected by man. When a diamond is graded by cut, it does not apply only to the overall shape of a diamond, but also to how well it has been polished, the symmetry of facets and to the various angles and proportions of the diamond.
The most popular shape of diamond is the round brilliant. This is because of its perfect symmetry and sparkle. Diamonds are also available in pear, marquise, oval, heart and square shapes. These cuts are asymmetrical and as such have concentrations of sparkle. Another type of cut is the step cut, where the facet shape is rectangular. Emerald and baguette cut diamonds are popular examples of the step cut.