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Monday, May 17, 2010

Choosing Your Perfect diamond

Choosing Your Perfect diamond

Choosing the perfect diamond can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. James Allen strives to make this process easier by offering you an easy-to-follow tutorial on the “4 Cs” of diamonds: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. Helping our customers create their ideal engagement rings is what we do, by offering them thousands of loose diamonds and teaching them how to choose the diamond that matches their quality requirements and budget. A wonderful starting point in your diamond pursuit is the “Diamond Education” section of the website. In this section you will learn all of the basics of choosing a diamond. Finding the perfect stone for your engagement ring means understanding that each diamond is as unique as the woman you love. Some women prefer a larger diamonds (higher carat weight) and may be less concerned about clarity or color. Other women prefer maximum brilliance and fire, so concentrating on diamonds with only the finest proportions are what is most important, rather than the size or color. Choosing the right diamond and setting is easy as long as you make sure you consider what she wants. makes this process even easier by allowing you to mix and match from our database of thousands of diamonds and hundreds of engagement rings to design the perfect ring for your perfect someone.

Carat Weight: Simply put, carat weight is the size of the diamond. This is definitely the thing that people notice first, that gives an immediate “wow” factor to an engagement ring. If a woman likes to wear big jewelry and admires large diamonds, a stone of a higher carat weight might be the right choice. The average diamond engagement ring sold in the US is about 1/2ct in weight, so anything that size or larger should be impressive. With our diamond database and advanced search engine you can choose the exact carat weight range. Keep in mind that as carat weight and size increases, so will the price. In order to maximize carat weight and still get a diamond that is flawless to the eye and very white, consider dropping color and clarity ratings. Size and quality of cut will always be noticed first, where color and clarity can be very difficult to distinguish or appreciate in real life.

Color: Seeing the differences in the color of a diamond is very difficult. Seeing the difference in their prices is much more obvious. The most valuable diamonds are considered colorless, starting with the “D” color grade. Selecting a diamond in the D-F range will guarantee you a colorless diamond that is completely clear and white from every direction. Diamonds in the G-J range are considered “near colorless”. Selecting a diamond in this range is generally a better value while still allowing you a diamond that faces completely white once set into the ring. The differences in color are really only visible by examining the diamonds side-by-side, upside down, against a white background, and even then, it can be a challenge. In America the average diamond engagement ring is around “J” in color so don’t be afraid of considering all of your color options!

Clarity: Diamond clarity refers to the presence (or absence) of inclusions in a diamond. For a guarantee that you will be selecting a diamond with no inclusions visible to the naked eye, limit your selection to those diamonds graded VS2 or higher in our diamond database. “VS” means “very slightly included”. Shopping for SI (slightly included) diamonds, however, will maximize your dollar and is a great way to purchase a larger, better cut diamond at no additional cost. When selecting SI diamonds it is helpful to use the Virtual Loupe™ as well as talk to one of our diamond experts to make sure the diamond you selected is considered “eye-clean”. Eye-clean diamonds will not have any visible inclusions when viewed in the face-up position at 6-12 inches. Remember: when a diamond is mounted into most engagement ring settings, small inclusions become even less visible because you are not looking through the stone. The average diamond engagement ring sold in the US is SI2 or I1 in clarity.

Cut: A diamond’s cut is not only about its shape, but how effectively the stone can return light back to the viewer's eye. A well-cut diamond will appear very brilliant and fiery; while more poorly cut stones can appear dark and lifeless, regardless of color or clarity. Not only do well-cut diamonds appear more brilliant, they can also appear larger than other stones of the same carat weight. An ideal stone has both increased brilliance as well as increased diameter relative to more deeply cut diamonds. On the website we categorize all of our diamonds into four different cut Categories: TrueHearts, Ideal, Premium and Good. TrueHearts are the most precisely cut of all round diamonds and are crafted to reflect back the maximum amount of brilliance and fire. Each facet is so perfectly shaped and precisely aligned that the diamond shows a perfect “Hearts” pattern when viewed through the bottom using our special H&A viewer. Ideal Cuts are diamonds with superior proportions, along with polish and symmetry ratings of Very Good, Excellent, or Ideal. Fancy shapes with excellent proportions can also be rated “Ideal Cut”, but it is important to have any fancy diamond inspected by one of our staff to ensure it is properly cut. Premium Cuts have similarly-beautiful proportions to Ideal Cuts, but may fall just outside the most preferred ranges for depth, table, polish or symmetry. Diamonds in this category can be a great value are should be considered even by shoppers who are interested in the finest cuts. Good Cuts have measurements further outside the preferred ranges, but they are still just outside and worthy of consideration. Unfortunately most diamonds sold in the US are cut for maximum weight – not sparkle or beauty and would not fall into any of the categories above.

We hope this information is helpful and refer you to the Diamond Education Pages ( for more assistance.)