Diamond Education

If you are in the market to buy a diamond for you or a loved one, it is important that you learn the jargon and the traits that make a diamond valuable.  There are many diamonds out there and many kinds of dealers.  Below you will find elements to determine the right diamond for you and your budget.

First select your diamond shape

Diamonds come in a variety of shapes. These shapes are very different with unique characteristics.  The following are the normal shape classifications for diamonds:




The Four C’s of Diamonds

The Cut

The cut of the diamond is its most important characteristic.  It has the most overall influence on the diamonds brilliance and sparkle.  The Cut Grade is an objective measure of a diamond’s light performance.  When a diamond is cut in proper proportions, light is radiated out of the top of the diamond.  If a cut is too shallow, the light shines out the bottom.  Too deep a cut and the light escapes out the sides.


The GIA Cut Scale

  • Excellent – Represents the top 3% of diamond quality based on cut.
  • Very Good – About 15% of diamond quality.
  • Good – Roughly 25% of diamonds are of this cut quality
  • Fair – The most common cut at 35% of diamonds
  • Poor – So deep and narrow that they have very little sparkle

The Color

Oddly enough, the color refers to the diamond’s lack of color so it grades on the whiteness of a diamond.  A grade of D is the highest possible grade while Z is the lowest.  Color manifests in diamonds in shades of pale yellow.  This is why diamonds are graded on its lack of color.  The less yellow the diamond has, the higher its color grade and its price.  After the Cut scale, Color is generally considered the second most important characteristic when selecting a diamond.

Diamond Color Scale


Rating Description
Z-N Noticeable color
M-K Noticeable color
J-I Near-colorless. An exceptional value with slightly detectable warmth or tone.
H-G Near-colorless. Color difficult to detect unless compared side-by-side against diamonds of better grades. An excellent value.
F-E Colorless. Minute traces of color can be detected by an expert gemologist. A rare diamond.
D Absolutely colorless. The highest color grade. Extremely rare.

The Clarity

Clarity is the measure of the number and size of the imperfections that occur in almost all diamonds.  These imperfections are usually microscopic and do not affect the diamond’s beauty in any way.  Of the four C’s of diamonds, it has the least impact on the diamonds appearance.  Gemologists refer to these imperfections as blemishes or inclusions.  Diamonds with the least amount and smallest imperfections receive the highest clarity grades.

Diamond Clarity Grades


Rating Description
FL, IF Flawless, Internally Flawless: No internal or external imperfections. Internally Flawless: No internal imperfections. Very rare.
VVS1, VVS2 Very, Very Slightly Included: Very difficult to see imperfections under 10x magnification. An excellent quality diamond.
VS1, VS2 Very Slightly Included: Imperfections are not typically visible to the unaided eye. Less expensive than the VVS1 or VVS2 grades.
SI1, SI2 Slightly Included: Imperfections are visible under 10x magnification, and may be visible with the unaided eye. A good diamond value.
I1 Included: This grade of diamonds will have minor inclusions that may be visible to the unaided eye.
I1, I3 Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance

diamond-carat-weight-guideThe Carat Weight

Carat weigh specifically refers to the diamond’s weight and by itself does not accurately reflect a diamond’s size.  To fully understand a diamond’s size, the carat weight should be considered in conjunction with two other factors: the distance in millimeters across the top of the diamond and the diamond’s cut grade.

As the name suggests, carat weight specifically refers to a diamond’s weight. However, much as a person’s weight does not necessarily correlate with height, carat weight, by itself, may not accurately reflect a diamond’s size. To gain a precise understanding of diamond size, Blue Nile recommends considering carat weight with two other characteristics: 1) the distance across the top of the diamond measured in millimeters, and 2) the diamond’s cut grade.


What Carat Weight Is Right For Me?

To choose the best carat weight of diamond, consider the size of her finger, the size of your setting, and your budget.

If a large carat weight is important to you, yet you’re working within a strict budget, consider a diamond with a good cut, SI1-SI2 clarity, and an I or J color grade.

Diamond prices jump at the full- and half-carat weights. Diamonds just below these weights cost significantly less, and, because carat weight is distributed across the entirety of the diamond, small size differences are almost impossible to detect.

Keep in mind that the smaller the finger, the larger the diamond will appear. A 1.5-carat diamond solitaire looks much larger on a size 4 finger than a size 8.

Not all settings will fit all diamond carats or shapes. If you have already selected a setting, check the diamond specifications of your ring. If you need a special jewelry piece created, Houston Diamonds can accommodate almost any request.

How To Buy A Diamond (or Engagement Ring) Wisely

1. Choose a Trusted Jeweler

Your chosen jeweler should be an expert in diamonds able to answer your questions about diamonds in clear, simple language.  An educated jeweler will not only explain the Four C’s of Diamond quality to you, he or she will be able to guide you to the perfect diamond that fits your lifestyle and budget.

Make sure you review our section on Diamond Education prior to shopping.

2.  Get A Diamond Grading Report

If you are purchasing a high priced diamond, you should get a diamond grading report from an unbiased, scientific source such as GIA.  It’s indisputable verification of its quality since a lab can see subtle differences that even a trained jeweler cannot.  Most large diamonds will come with some sort of grading report.

3.  Consider Getting Your Diamond Insured

Having your diamond purchase appraised and insured will guarantee that your diamond purchase is protected.  Insurers will want an accurate grading report to evaluate the value of the diamond.   You should also consider getting your diamond laser-inscribed with its report number to provide verification if it is ever lost or stolen.


We have compiled a list of questions we often receive.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us.

When you go out to buy a sparkling diamond, you must consider 4Cs of diamonds – Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat weight, as a base for your buying decision. These 4Cs will help you to choose the best diamonds on the same criteria on which jewelers use to select them.  
Diamond Cut is the most important property to increase its beauty because a well-cut diamond reflects light to maximize the stones brilliance. A diamond with perfect color and clarity could nevertheless have poor brilliance if it is not well cut. A Diamond Cut by Shape describes the outline of the stone and pattern of the facet arrangement. A stone can be cut in various Shapes like Round, Princess, Heart, Oval, Pear etc. To learn more, click on Diamond Shapes. On the other side, a Diamond Cut by Depth is the ultimate feature for its brilliance and fire. A stone’s cut by depth can be described with Shallow Cut, Deep Cut or Ideal Cut.
Diamonds are found in all colors of the rainbow, from colorless and transparent stones to ink black ones. Varying degrees of yellow or brown color is common in most of the diamonds and slight difference in color can make a substantial difference in value. A truly colorless diamond is extremely rare and considered the most valuable. It allows most light to pass through the stone and create the most brilliance. The color scale goes from D to Z, with D being the most white and Z being the most yellow.
Clarity is a term used to describe the absence or presence of flaws inside or on the surface of a diamond. In other words, the clarity of a diamond refers to a diamonds clearness or purity. When these flaws / marks occur internally, they are called inclusions and when these flaws / marks occur on the surface, they are known as blemishes. These slight flaws make every diamond quite unique but they also do affect the beauty and value of the diamond. Diamond Clarity Grading Scale grades a Diamond with any of the following grades: F (Flawless), IF (Internally Flawless), VVS1 – VVS2 (Very, Very Slightly Included – 1 & 2), VS1 – VS2 (Very Slightly Included – 1 & 2), SI1 – SI2 (Slightly Included – 1 & 2), I1 – I2 – I3 (Included – 1, 2 & 3).
The term “Carat” refers to the weight of a diamond. Each carat is divided into 100 points. Therefore, 1/4 carat diamond is considered as 25 points and 1/2 carat diamond is considered as 50 points and so on. When diamonds are mined, large diamonds are discovered rarely in comparison of small ones, which make large diamonds much more valuable. For that reason, the price of a diamond rises exponentially with its size. So, a 2 carat diamond of a given quality is always worth much more than two 1 carat diamonds of the equal quality. 
Regular cleaning of Diamond Jewelry is essential to maintain shine and brilliance of diamonds. On wearing them, they get dirty as you use various skin and body care regimen such as soaps, lotions and even our skins natural oils. Even when you are not wearing them, they collect dust. You can clean your diamonds at home by your own by using soft brush, water and soap or by using readymade jewelry cleaners. You can also take services of a professional jeweler, where he will check security of the settings also. Diamond jewelry should be stored individually in a soft cloth pouch to ensure that a diamond should not scratch other diamonds or other jewelry. You should not wear diamond jewelry while doing heavy work. You should avoid the situation where your diamonds come in contact with chlorine bleach, hair spray or other chemicals because they can pit or discolor the mounting. 
When purchasing jewelry from a local jeweler, you can be sure that you are getting the true value for your money. Local jewelers provide you more personalized services because they intend to build a legacy of integrity & trust with their customers. Since local jewelers intend to build personal relations with their customers, they care enough to deal in only certified & best quality diamonds & jewelry. A local jeweler can better understand your taste & style and keeps it in mind when he goes on buying trips. Also, you can expect an honest professional advice and satisfactory attention combined with before and after sale services only from a local jeweler.