We want you to feel comfortable when buy a gemstone, piece of jewelry, or a setting. We want you to have a base knowledge of these products even if you don't buy from us.
According to the GIA website:
This basic knowledge will not only unlock the mystery of a diamond’s quality, it will help you understand a diamond’s value and price.
The 4 C's
Diamond Color - In most diamonds, the term actually refers to the absence of color. The less color in the stone, the more desirable and valuable it is. Some of these differences are not visible to the naked eye, but directly impact the overall quality and price of the stone.
Diamond Clarity - Measures the amount, size and placement of internal ‘inclusions,’ and external ‘blemishes.’ Grades run from ‘Flawless,’ with virtually no imperfections, to ‘Included,’ which contain a significant number of imperfections.
Diamond Cut - Does not refer to a diamond’s shape, but to the proportion and arrangement of its facets and the quality of workmanship. The amount of brilliance, sparkle and fire in a diamond is determined by cut. Grades range from ‘Excellent’ to ‘Poor.’
Diamond Carat - Refers to a diamond’s weight. Generally speaking, the higher the carat weight, the more expensive the stone. Two diamonds of equal carat weight, however, can have very different quality and price when the other three Cs are considered.
Fancy Colored Diamonds
In diamonds, rarity equals value. With diamonds in the normal range, value is based on the absence of color, because colorless diamonds are the rarest. With fancy color diamonds—the ones outside the normal color range—the rarest and most valuable colors are saturated pinks, blues, and greens. In all cases, even very slight color differences can have a big impact on value. Compared to fancy yellows and browns, diamonds with a noticeable hint of any other hue are considerably more rare. Even in light tones and weak saturation, as long as they show color in the face-up position, they qualify as fancy colors. Red, green, and blue diamonds with medium to dark tones and moderate saturations are extremely rare.
Red - or reddish colors are extremely rare and highly valued.
Pinks - are more popular than diamonds that are purplish, orangy, brownish, or grayish. Trade professionals market some very attractive stones in this category as “rose-colored,” and some stones with purplish tints as “mauve” diamonds.
Blue - diamonds are extremely rare. They generally have a slight hint of gray, so they’re rarely as highly saturated as blue sapphires. Their color is caused by the presence of boron impurities—the more boron, the deeper the blue.
Green - diamonds are typically light in tone and low in saturation. Their color often appears muted, with a grayish or brownish cast. The hue is generally in the yellowish green category. In most green diamonds, the hue is confined to the surface, and rarely extends through the entire stone. That’s why cutters try to leave as much of the natural rough around the girdle as possible. Green diamonds get their color when radiation displaces carbon atoms from their normal positions in the crystal structure. This can happen naturally when diamond deposits lie near radioactive rocks, or artificially as a result of treatment by irradiation. Naturally colored green diamonds are extremely rare. Because of their rarity and the very real possibility of treatment, green diamonds are always regarded with suspicion and examined carefully in gemological laboratories. Even so, advanced gemological testing can’t always determine color origin in green diamonds.
Brown - is the most common fancy diamond color and also the earliest to be used in jewelry. Second-century Romans set brown diamonds in rings. In modern times, however, they took some time to become popular. Brown diamonds were typically considered good only for industrial use until the 1980s, when abundant quantities of them began to appear in the production of the Argyle mines. The Australians fashioned them and set them in jewelry. They gave them names like “cognac” and “champagne.” The marketing worked, and brown diamonds are found in many medium-priced jewelry designs today. Brown diamonds range in tone from very light to very dark. Consumers generally prefer brown diamonds in medium to dark tones with a warm, golden to reddish appearance. They generally show a hint of greenish, yellowish, orangy, or reddish modifying colors.
Yellow - is diamond’s second most common fancy color. Yellow diamonds are sometimes marketed as “canary.” While this isn’t a proper grading term, it’s commonly used in the trade to describe fancy yellow diamonds. Until the late 1990s, there was not much demand for black diamonds. But designers started using them in jewelry, especially contrasted with tiny colorless diamonds in pavé settings, and they began to gain in popularity.
White - diamonds also exist. They have a milky white color. Sometimes white diamonds are cut to display beautiful opalescent flashes of color.
Gray - diamonds contain a high level of hydrogen as an impurity element, which probably causes their color.
According to the International Gem Society website:
Basic Gem Cutting Styles
Brilliant cuts - consist of triangular and kite-shaped facets that spread outward from the center of the gem. As befits its name, the brilliant cut gives off the most scintillation of any cut.
Step cuts - consist of rectangular facets that ascend the crown and descend the pavilion in steps. Examples of step cuts include emerald and baguette cuts. These are popular because they show off the stone’s color and clarity and produce a subtle gleam.
Mixed cuts - combine step cut and brilliant cut styles. They have brilliant facets on the crown and step facets on the pavilion, or vice versa. Mixed cuts may even combine cabbing and faceting techniques.
Rose cut - while brilliant and step cuts currently enjoy the most popularity, the rose cut is a unique style important to gem-cutting history. Dating back to the 16th century, the rose cut has a round, cabbed flat base and a faceted top. (Occasionally, you’ll see a gem with a faceted pavilion and a domed crown. However, this isn’t a standard cutting method).
Modified cuts - gem cutters can modify brilliant, step, and rose cuts to maximize use of rough or create interesting effects. The shape and facet types remain the same, but the number and arrangement of facets may differ. If cut differently from the standard, gems have the term “modified” added to their names. For example, “modified round brilliant” or “modified emerald cut.” The Barion is an exception to the “modified” rule, because its name already embraces a variety of facet placement styles. Please note that gem cuts in the brilliant style are always called brilliant cuts (for example, “round brilliant”), while gem cuts in the step style generally have specific names attached to them (for example, Asscher or emerald cuts).
According to The American Gem Society:
Traditionally, a birthstone is associated with each month of the year. For example, the birthstone for January is a garnet, while lucky babies born in April get a diamond as their birthstone. The origin of birthstones is believed to date back to the breastplate of Aaron which contained twelve gemstones representing the twelve tribes of Israel. The current list dates back to 1912 with only one addition since then – the tanzanite was added to December. There are numerous legends and myths about birthstone healing powers and their therapeutic influence. According to these legends, wearing a gemstone during its assigned month heightened its healing powers. For the full effect, individuals needed to own all twelve and alternate them monthly.
January - For babies born in January, the garnet is the perfect gem to represent their birthstone. This beautiful stone, which is most commonly red but can be found in a range of other colors, symbolizes peace, prosperity and good health. Some say it even has the power to give the wearer eternal happiness, health and wealth. We say it’s the perfect way to start each year! Learn more about the January birthstone, garnet.
February - For individuals with February birthdays, the amethyst makes a perfect birthstone. This month is often cold, dark and short for many people around the world, so the amethyst—which is often associated with qualities of peace, courage and stability—is the right gem for individuals who need a little extra warmth and strength this time of year. A beautiful purple quartz, the amethyst is an easily recognizable gem, but you may not know everything about it just yet!
March - For the lucky individuals born in March, two birthstones are associated with this early spring month: aquamarine and bloodstone. Both stones are very different from one another in appearance, but each share a similar symbolism of preserving or enhancing the health of the wearer.
April - For those fortunate to be born in April, the most prized gemstone of all is their birthstone. For this month, diamonds truly are a girl’s (or a boy’s) best friend.
May - May birthdays fall right in the heart of spring, and the emerald is the perfect gem to symbolize and celebrate this month. Prized for its brilliant and beautiful green color, the emerald is often favored by the rich and famous to wear as statement pieces for big events.
June - June is one of only two months that has three birthstones associated with it, giving the lucky people born in June a choice of gemstones between pearl, alexandrite and moonstone. June’s birthstones range from creamy-colored opalescent pearl and moonstone to the rare color-changing alexandrite—one of the most valuable gems on earth. With this spectrum of price points and color options, people with June birthdays can choose a beautiful gemstone to fit any mood or budget.
July - Ruby, the king of precious gems, is the birthstone for fortunate folks born in July. Symbolic of the passion and energy associated with the color red, the vibrant ruby is said to bring love and success.
August - We have a birthday present for those born in August: the stunning spinel has been added to your month’s birthstone lineup! August now joins June and December as the only months represented by three gems. The original birthstone for August was Sardonyx, and then peridot was added, becoming August’s primary gem. Now spinel adds its multitude of color choices!
September - September’s birthstone is the sapphire—a precious gem of wisdom, loyalty and nobility. This stone is said to focus the mind, encourage self-discipline and channel higher powers. When people say “sapphire,” they’re usually referring to the royal blue variety of this gem, although it can occur in all colors of the rainbow (except red, which is classified as ruby instead). This lovely gem gives September-born babies a full spectrum of options when choosing the shade of birthstone that best represents them.
October - Individuals born in October get to choose between two birthstones—tourmaline and opal. Each gem then unveils nearly limitless possibilities, as each one comes in a rainbow of shades and color combinations. In fact, both of October’s birthstones came to earth through a journey involving rainbows, according to legend. Between tourmaline (whose color depends on trace elements in its chemical makeup) and opal (which diffracts light to show a play of multiple colors), October’s birthstones offer a full spectrum of gems to suit anyone’s personal tastes.
November - Individuals born in November can choose between two sunny gemstones to brighten up this chilly month. November’s birthstones, topaz and citrine, are both known for their calming energies, bringing warmth and fortune to those who wear them. Topaz and citrine look so similar, in fact, that they’ve often been mistaken for one another throughout history. They are actually unrelated minerals, and topaz occurs in a wide spectrum of colors far beyond yellow. Both of November’s birthstones are fairly abundant and affordably priced, even in large sizes, which means everyone can find a way to fit topaz and citrine into their budget.
December - December’s birthstones offer three ways to fight the winter blues: tanzanite, zircon and turquoise – all of them, appropriately, best known for beautiful shades of blue. These gems range from the oldest on earth (zircon), to one of the first mined and used in jewelry (turquoise), to one of the most recently discovered (tanzanite). All of these stones are relatively inexpensive, but their beauty rivals even precious gems. Colorless zircon is a convincing replacement for diamond, tanzanite often substitutes sapphire, and turquoise is unmatched in its hue of robin’s egg blue