Diamonds come in all sizes, shapes and ultimately, values. In the history of the world few possessions have been more desired and scrutinized than diamonds. We strive to identify the finest collection of diamonds, and then educate our clients on their purchasing options.

We encourage you to learn about a number of important considerations when analyzing and before buying a diamond.

Across time and cultures diamonds are a consistent expression of luxury. Diamonds symbolize wealth, durability, and status. Conversely, they have the rich history of being associated with invulnerability, lightning, magic, healing, protection, and poisoning. In unraveling the history and associations of diamonds, we need to look through time and at their very origins to gain a historical perspective of their tremendous value.

"Diamond" comes from the Greek adamao, transliterated as "adamao," "I tame" or "I subdue." The adjective "adamas" was used to describe the hardest substance known, and eventually became synonymous with diamond. It is difficult to determine at what point in history the hardest known substance became diamond.

Diamonds began to appear in European regalia and jewelry in the 13th century. By the 16th century the diamonds become larger and more prominent, as a result of the development of diamond faceting – a technique that enhances the diamonds brilliance.

By the 17th Century, Diamonds dominated the small jewels and large ones became adornments by the 18th century.

Kings rule – the act of Saint Louis (Louis IX of France, 1214-70) established a sumptuary law reserving diamonds for the king. This bespeaks the rarity of diamonds and the value conferred upon them.

Over the next century diamonds appeared in royal jewelry, then among the greater European aristocracy, with the wealthy merchant class showing the occasional diamond by the 17th century.

The earliest European ornamental and regal applications feature diamond points that resemble the Roman style of natural points in rings. Unlike the Roman examples, the European points may have been polished, if only to remove surface irregularities and coatings of any foreign mineral.

The taboo on modifying a diamond crystal into a gem, which originated in India, ends around this time in both Europe and India. There is no recorded explanation, but the implications of the rise of diamond's popularity in ornamentation are nothing short of revolutionary -- as more diamonds reach Europe, demand for the brilliant gem increases.

The earliest diamond-cutting industry is believed to have been in Venice, a trade capital, starting sometime after 1330. Diamond cutting may have arrived in Paris by the late 14th century; for Bruges -- on the diamond trade route -- there is documentation for the technique in 1465.

Math is the determining factor in deciding the cut of a diamond. Every diamond is cut according to an exact mathematical formula. The most common cut, the round brilliant, has 58 facets, or small, flat, polished planes designed to yield the maximum amount of light to be reflected back to the viewer.

This reflection, known as brilliance, is an extremely important factor in evaluating the quality of a diamond. A poorly cut diamond will actually lose light and appear dull. The two most common mistakes in cutting a diamond are:

Too Deep: Light escapes out the sides causing the diamond to appear dark and dull.

Too Shallow: Light is lost out the bottom causing the diamond to lose brilliance.



A diamond's proportions refer to the Table Diameter, the Pavilion Depth, the Crown Angle, the Girdle Thickness and the Culet Size. The calculations of these factors are confusing and involved, requiring complex mathematical formulations and expensive equipment to measure and calculate.


Diamond Anatomy


A diamonds brilliance is affected by:

a) The depth of the diamond compared to its diameter
b) The diameter of the table compared to the diameter of the diamond

Polish and Symmetry


All the facets of a diamond are not equally hard, it is therefore possible to polish and shape a diamond.
The polish rating refers to the minute lines left on the diamond after the polishing process; these lines are straight in appearance. After cutting, each diamond facet is polished to improve the appearance and light return and so it is important to note all facets when considering this grade. If one of these facets has a burn mark from the polishing process then this will significantly affect the rating even though this may be unnoticeable when the diamond is set. A polish grade of good or higher will normally mean that no polish lines are visible to the unaided eye. However, below this rating polish lines may be visible, significantly reducing the overall brilliance of the diamond.


Symmetry refers to the alignment of a diamond's facets and its overall fire and brilliance.. The light bounces around inside a diamond reflecting off the facets, if the facets are not properly aligned then the light will not be returned through the top of the diamond into the eye*. The symmetry of a diamond has an important influence on the overall appearance of the diamond, for example if a round diamond has poor symmetry then the overall appearance will not be round as the different sides of the diamond will not look the same.

* The term Hearts and Arrows is used to describe the visual effect achieved in a round diamond with perfect symmetry and angles, once this type of diamond is set the hearts and arrows pattern will not be visible.

Diamond Pricing

Whilst the Color, Clarity and Carat of a diamond are a good indication of the overall appearance of the diamond you will receive, they will often not be the final determining factors in the brilliance of the diamond and therefore the price of the diamond. Being that 98% of a diamond's brilliance is controlled by the quality of its Cut those interested in the most brilliant diamond should be aware of the diamond Cut. The industry has made this synonymous with the shape of the diamond but these are very different. When we refer to a diamond Cut we are in reality referring to the compilation of three main factors, these are the proportions, polish and symmetry of the facets of the diamond. It is important to understand these terms when comparing what may appear to be equal diamonds in terms of their Color, Clarity and Carat weight with significant price differences:

Classification of Cut

All loose diamonds offered for sale by us are independently certified by recognized grading laboratories.

It should however be noted that the different laboratories each use slightly different criteria with which to grade diamonds, and for this reason the same diamond could be graded by three independent laboratories and come back with three slightly differing reports.

We understand that this can make it very hard to compare diamonds that have been graded by different laboratories, and in recognition of this fact, our experienced in-house experts assign each diamond with a grade based upon current market trends and standards.

The most popular Color for Diamonds is "white" or colorless. Whilst Diamonds come in every Color of the spectrum, for "white" Diamonds truecolorless examples are extremely rare and therefore demand the highest value.

Regular "white" Diamonds are graded by Color and are given letter designations dependant upon how far they deviate from the purest "white."

Put simply, just a small amount of Color can diminish a stone's "brilliance & fire" and therefore ultimately negatively effect the overall value of any given Diamond.

Diamonds deemed to be truly colorless are awarded the Color grading of D. Color grading then continues down through the alphabet, with each letter designating a slightly yellower tint. The progression is:

D : Absolutely colorless. The highest color grade, which is extremely rare.

E : Colorless. These are extremely rare and sought after. Only minute traces of color can be detected by an expert gemologist using a loupe.

F : Colorless. Significant quality stone. Slight color detected by an expert gemologist, but still  considered a "colorless" grade.

G-H : Near-colorless. Color noticeable when compared to diamonds of better grades, but these grades offer excellent value.

I-J : These can be excellent value stones. I-J Color Diamonds are almost colorless with only a slightly detectable yellow tint, often making them offer excellent value for money.

K-Z : Inferior.

Recommendation : The best way to determine the true Color of a diamond is by looking at it against a white surface.

A diamond's clarity is affected by any detectable external irregularities and internal imperfections created by nature when the diamond was formed.

Imperfections such as spots or lines are called inclusions. The less inclusions, the higher the clarity and thus, the greater brilliance and ultimately, value.
Inclusions can interfere with the passage of light through the stone, diminishing the sparkle and value of the diamond.

According to the quality analysis system of the Gemological Institute of America, clarity is graded on a scale ranging from internally flawless (IF) to included (I).

To be graded flawless, a diamond must have no inclusions visible to a trained eye under a 10x magnification in good light.

The quality analysis system is as follows:

FL, IF Diamonds:

These diamonds are the most rare and most expensive. These diamonds have been graded as (FL) Flawless: no internal or external flaws. (IF) Internally Flawless: No internal flaws.

 VVS1, VVS2 Diamonds:

A superior quality diamond. Very, Very Slightly Included: Very difficult to see inclusions under 10x magnification.

VS1, VS2 Diamonds:

A lesser quality than the VVS1 or VVS2 grades. Very Slightly Included: Inclusions are not typically visible to the unaided eye, but are viewable at 10x magnification.

SI1, SI2 and SI3 Diamonds:

When combined with other factors, these grades represent good value. Slightly Included: Inclusions are visible under 10x magnification, and may be visible with the unaided eye.

I1, I2, I3 Diamonds:

These diamonds contain inclusions that are visible to the naked eye. I grade diamonds are often purchased by customers seeking the largest stone possible for their money and these individuals are therefore not concerned about inclusions. However, our website does not offer  I3 grade diamonds.

A Carat is the unit of measurement for a diamond's weight - it is equal to 200 milligrams, and there are 142 Carats to an ounce. Carats are referenced by dividing them into points - there are 100 points in a Carat.

A half Carat diamond may be referred to as a 50-point stone (about 100 milligrams). Because large diamonds are rarer, they generally have a greater value per Carat than smaller sized stones.
This word for the measurement of a diamond's weight Carat - is derived from the carob seeds that were used to balance scales in ancient times.

Today, it is important to evaluate all of the factors (all the C’s) and not just size. A large sized diamond with poor clarity, color and cut does not have the value of many smaller stones. C’s like clarity, cut and color determine the visual brilliance of the jewelry.

Shape is truly an important consideration when choosing a diamond. Although the 4C's are important, the shape of the stone has a major impact on a diamond's appearance and most importantly, how much it will be enjoyed by the consumer.

Round diamonds account for the majority of sales today. Diamonds are available in a variety of sparkling and beautiful shapes that can meet anybody's personal taste or preference. With diamonds, you must keep in mind that shape of the stone is not the same as its cut. People will often misinterpret a diamond's shape with its cut. Shape refers to the physical contour of the diamond and cut refers to the stone's overall proportion and also how it will react to light. Usually the two characteristics will be worded together. I.E., a Round Brilliant Diamond is a stone with a Round Shape and a Brilliant Cut.

Even though all diamonds are beautiful, only by comparing stone to stone will you be able to notice the difference that distinguishes a more rare and valuable diamond from another. When you do compare stones side by side, you will truly understand how diamonds that look similar at a quick glance can vary in cost dramatically. Always be aware that there are never any "bargain" diamonds, prices are always determined by weight, brilliance and quality of cut.

In addition to the ever so popular Round diamonds, there wide variety of other shapes available that individualize to anyone's taste and preference. These other shapes are referred to as "fancy cut" diamonds.

Round: Round diamonds are very popular and account for the majority of diamond sales. Round brilliant-cut diamonds are distinguished with their features of 58 facets and a 360-degree symmetrical shape. They are the most optically brilliant diamond.



Princess: Princess diamonds are available for those wanting a square or rectangular stone offering a similar brilliance of a Round diamond. If you are seeking a square-shaped Princess diamond, choose a length-to-width ratio between 1 and 1.05. For a good quality rectangular shaped Princess diamond, choose a length-to-width ratio greater than 1.10.


Marquise: The Marquise shape's name originates from a legend of the Sun King who was in search of a stone polished into the shape of the mouth of the Marquise of Pompadour. The elongated stone will give an illusion of a greater size while accentuating long, slender fingers. Diamonds with a classic Marquise shape will usually have a length-to-width ratio between 1.75 and 2.25.


Emerald: Emerald diamonds have long facets and layered corners that resemble stairs. An Emerald shape will highlight clarity better than any of the other shapes. If you prefer an Emerald cut with a square outline, perhaps an Asscher-cut diamond would be best for you. For a more classic Emerald shape, look for a length-to-width ratio between 1.30 and 1.50.


Asscher: A variation of the classic Emerald shape. Asscher-shaped diamonds have deep trimmed corners and a thicker profile within a square frame. A classic Asscher-shape has a length-to-width ratio close to 1.00. If you prefer an Asscher-cut style with a more rectangular outline, look into an Emerald-cut stone.



Radiant: Blocked corners are a signature feature of Radiant shape diamonds. They can combine the glamour of a classical Emerald shaped stone with the brilliance and fire of a Round-cut diamond. If you prefer a square shaped Radiant diamond, choose a length-to-width ratio between 1 and 1.05. If you prefer a rectangular shape, look for a length-to-width ratio greater than 1.10.


Pear: Pear diamonds are a very stylish mix between a Round and Marquise shaped stone and they have a resemblance to an elegant teardrop. This unique shape is what allows them to be cut to accommodate a profile that is fatter and longer. A classic Pear shaped diamond should have a length-to-width ratio between 1.45 and 1.75.



Oval: Oval diamonds can offer the sparkle of round stone in a dazzling and elongated silhouette. These are the most ideal choice for those who seek a uniquely shaped diamond that accentuates long and slender fingers. Classical oval shape diamonds have a length-to-width ratio between 1.33 and 1.66.


Heart: Heart diamonds can truly offer a brilliance and symmetry in a shape that is a symbol of the eternity of romance. The lobes of a Heart stone should be rounded and clearly defined. Similar to a Pear-cut stone, the cut of a Heart diamond can be fatter and longer depending on your preference. A wider Heart shape will have a length-to-width ratio between 0.85 and 1.00. For a longer, tapered design, try a length-to-width ratio between 1.00 and 1.10.


Cushion: A Cushion shaped stone will have a square-rectangular cut with rounded corners and large facets that will enhance brilliance of the stone. If you are seeking a square-shaped Cushion diamond, you should look for length-to-width ratio between 1 and 1.05. For a more rectangular-shaped Cushion diamond, it is advisable to choose a length-to-width ratio between 1.10 and 1.20.

Polish refers to the overall smoothness of the surface of the diamond. Polish grades determine how visible the polishing marks are on the facets of the diamond. Although polish marks are almost always invisible to the unaided eye, they do have an effect on the brilliance of a diamond overall. Blemishes that would be considered polish marks include polishing lines and surface nicks or scratches. These marks are caused by microscopic diamond crystals that are pulled across the facet of the diamond by the polishing wheel during the process of cutting.
Symmetry is an important element of diamond finish. Symmetry refers to the exactness of the shape and arrangement of facets. This includes naturals, misshapen facets and extra facets, off center culets and tables, wavy and out of round girdles, misalignment of crown and pavilion facets.

To the unaided eye, finish features usually have little effect on appearance; they are like pinpoint inclusions. The importance of symmetry is less important in diamonds that have lower clarity grades. Symmetry is more important in diamonds that have very high clarity grades.

When selecting your diamond, choose one of the following symmetry grades:

  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good

Symmetry is listed on the certified diamond grading report. Few diamonds are available with Excellent or Very Good symmetry. Diamonds with a symmetry grade of Good offer exceptional beauty and are  purchased most frequently. Whitefacet has not to this date received a diamond returned due to a customer dissatisfaction with the symmetry grade of Good. Although symmetry is important, it is best to place more emphasis on diamond depth percentage, table percentage, crown and pavilion height as well as color, clarity and weight. Diamonds with fair to extremely poor symmetry should be avoided. Listed below is a list of abbreviations and brief descriptions of symmetry grades that are used by GIA, EGL, and IGI.

  • EX or E is Excellent, Flawless at 10 power
  • VG or VGD is Very Good, Extremely difficult to locate under 10 power
  • GD, GO, G is Good, Very diffucult to see under 10 power
  • F, FR, FA is Fair, Noticable under 10 power
  • PR, PO, P is Poor, Easy to see under 10X / Visible to unaided eye
  • VP, VE, is Very Poor, Relatively easy to see with the unaided eye
  • EX or EP is Extremely Poor, Obvious to see with unaided eye
Fluorescence is a property of some diamonds that emit visible light when they are exposed to invisible ultraviolet radiation. Fluorescence is detected by gemologist using a long wave and short wave ultraviolet lamp. Fluorescence can manifest itself in daylight and with some artificial lighting, giving the diamond a bluish and/or milky appearance. Although fluorescence lowers the value of a diamond, it can make a diamond appear whiter and closer to a colorless appearance. Blue fluorescence coloring can actually sometimes even improve the color of a diamond by a grade or two while lowering its value. Fluorescence can occur in a variety of degrees and colors, from common blue to rare yellow. Fluorescence is graded from None to Very Strong. Medium or strong fluorescence will actually counteract the slight yellow body color of a diamond that is rated a color grade of I or lower. Because of this, these diamonds will appear to be more white or colorless than they actually are, thus giving a budget-conscious buyer the opportunity to purchase a lower-color but whiter-looking diamond that can offer an appearance that is comparable to a more expensive, higher color diamond.
We only offer Diamonds that have been independently certified.

Diamond certificates are issued by independent gemological laboratories. There are several grading laboratories, the most prominent being:

The International Gemological Institute (IGI); 
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA); 
The American Gem Society (AGS);
The European Gemological Laboratories (EGL); 
The World Diamond Council (HRD)
and GemEx Systems.

The reason it is important to have a Diamond evaluated by an Independent Gemological Laboratory is that Diamonds often contain minute, invisible to the naked eye inclusions or imperfections. These can have a major influence on the price. Therefore, if not for a great deal of scrutiny on the part of the buyer, it is easy to make a mistake and purchase a Diamond of lower value, believing it to be of higher value.

Please note that grading standards vary between diamond certification laboratories. When deciding which certification to go with, it is important to understand the vital differences between the grading techniques of each lab. For example, it is generally accepted that GIA is stricter than EGL in their grading. There are also other labs that certify diamonds and their grading standards may be very different. With this in mind, when comparing diamonds, compare them using the same laboratory’s grade to ensure consistency. For example, do not evaluate a diamond using a GIA’s grade against another diamond using an EGL grade, as you will not get an accurate representation of how they compare.

If you find a Diamond you like, and it is not certified there is nothing wrong with asking your Jeweler to send it to a reputable Independent Gemological Laboratory for certification. If your Jeweler has a problem with that, then you should start asking your jeweler and yourself many more questions! This request is a standard practice in the Diamond Industry.

A Diamond Certificate is a document issued by a Gemological Laboratory and is essentially a statement confirming the characteristics and authenticity of a Diamond and will usually contain the following information:


Reference number

This number allows laboratories to access your Diamond information in the event of any queries you may have

Shape & Style / Cut

The shape & style characteristics relating to your Diamond. Eg. Round Brilliant.


The measurements for your Diamond, which will either be shown as (minimum diameter) – (maximum diameter) x (depth) for round brilliant Diamonds and (length-top to bottom) x (width-left to right) x (depth) for all other shapes. All measurements will be given in millimeters.


This information is used to highlight your Diamonds values in terms of girdle, culet, durability, weight ratio and tilt.


Used to describe the Polish & Symmetry of your Diamond and relates to how smooth the Diamonds facets are. Finish information also takes into account the placement of the Diamonds facets and their uniformity.


The laboratories opinion on the color of your Diamond. This may be displayed as a letter (D to Z, with D being a colorless Diamond) or as a number (0 to 10, with 0 being used to describe a colorless Diamond).


This information refers to any blemishes and inclusions that your Diamond may have. This information may be displayed as Flawless / Internally Flawless (FL/IF) to I (Included). As with color, this information may also be displayed as numbers (0-10), with 0 representing a Flawless / Internally Flawless Diamond.


This part of the report provides you with information on any fluorescence in your Diamond. Fluorescence is a form of illumination that is created when a Diamond is exposed to low or high wave ultraviolet radiation. Fluorescence is graded from none through faint, slight, medium or moderate and continues up to strong and extreme.


This section gives your Diamonds weight information, to the nearest thousandth of a carat (one carat = 0.2 grams). Carats are further divided into points. Points are used to describe Diamonds of sizes less than one carat in weight. A hundredth of a carat is also called a point. Therefore a 0.10 carat stone can be called either 10 points, or 1/10 of a carat.


This part of a Diamond Grading Report will show an enlarged picture of your Diamond and will illustrate the location/s of any blemishes or inclusions in your Diamond.


Use this part of your report to compare your Diamonds characteristics against the Color, Cut & Clarity scales.

Worthy of note is that Gemological Laboratories do not sell Diamonds and therefore are able to remain totally impartial when assessing a Diamonds grade.


We only offer Diamonds graded by prominent laboratories including, 
IGI (International Gemological Institute), GIA (Gemological Institute of America), AGSL (American Gem Society Laboratories) and HRD.

Please do take the time to view examples of Diamond Certificates from all of the above laboratories, which can be seen below. These examples should help you to become acquainted and familiar with how each report is structured. Additionally, feel free to visit any of the web links on the certificate pages for further information.

We believe that by offering independently certified Diamonds our customers are able to feel confident and secure in the knowledge that they are getting the Diamond they want. There cannot possibly be any conflict of interest as each of our stones is graded by an independent laboratory.

Our customers are purchasing the ultimate symbol of love and devotion, commitment and togetherness. We believe that our customers are entitled to expect the best, and deserve to be able to feel confident in their decisions.

For these reasons we only offer independently certified Diamonds.

When buying a diamond always remember that there are four key factors that determine the value of a Diamond. These factors are collectively known as the four C’s.
  • Carat
  • Cut
  • Color
  • Clarity
The combination and variables of these factors drive both the value of the diamond and more importantly - they determine the brilliance of the stone. There is a direct correlation between the precision of the diamonds clarity, color, cut and the carat.
Settings play two important roles: to hold the stone in the ring and to enhance the stones presentation. There is a range of setting types and each type of setting enhances the stone in different ways.

Prong / Claw Setting

The prong setting, also called a claw setting, is the most desired gemstone setting and is often adopted for use in solitaire engagement rings. The diamond or gem is inserted into prongs that form a basket-like base. The ends of the prongs are bent over and shaped so that they rest against the stone. The visible prong ends are often rounded, but can also be found in ovals, points, V-shapes, left flat or even decorative forms. A prong setting can be tall, with the diamond crowned well above the ring's band, or it can be short, with the stone resting closer to the finger.

Channel Setting

Channel settings are most traditional choice for wedding bands. Smaller diamonds and even gemstones are delicately placed in channels cut in the metal ring shank. The stones are set in the ring shank alongside one another. Metal from the outer edge of the ring is then folded over the edges of the stones to secure them firmly into the ring. This creates a smooth feel and adds to the elegance of designer wedding bands.

Pavè Setting

Pave set rings require the most precise selection of diamonds or gemstones. Small holes are drilled in the ring shank to hold tiny diamonds which are placed in rows and fill up the entire space on the surface without actually touching each other. After the diamonds fill their respective small holes tiny bits of metal from the surface of the shank are pushed over the edge of the diamond, forming tiny prongs to hold the stone in place. Each tiny diamond is cut with 58 facets and its look and feel contributes towards the elegant look of a pave set ring design. The visual effect created by a carpet of glowing diamond and gemstones on the entire surface of the ring is the sign of a perfectly designed and well made ring.

Bar Setting

A variation of the channel setting is the bar channel setting. The metal plates in the channel rise to the top level of the stone and can be seen between the stones. Depending upon the level of contrast between the stone and the metal surface bar channel settings look very attractive. It gives a slightly different visual effect than the normal channel setting.

Bezel Setting

In a bezel setting the stone is held by a metal rim that encircles the sides of the stone and extends slightly above it. The rim, or collar, is stretched around a portion of the diamond or the entire circumference of it. A bezel setting holds the diamond securely, and the low, protective profile it creates makes a bezel set ring a good choice for people with active lifestyles. A bezel setting also protects the edges of the diamond from abrasion.

Baguette shape
A rectangular-shaped diamond with rows of step-like facets. If the baguette's two long sides taper inward, it is called a Tapered baguette.

Bar setting
Similar to the channel setting, it is a circular band of diamonds that holds each stone in by a long thin bar, shared between two stones.

Barion cut
This has a traditional step-cut crown and a modified brilliant-cut pavilion. A square barion cut diamond has 61 facets, excluding the culet.

Bearding or girdle fringes
The outermost portion of the diamond, called the girdle, can develop small cracks that resemble whiskers during the polishing process. The bearding can sometimes be removed, if not too dramatic, with slight re-polishing, and if the weight allows.

Bezel setting
With a bezel setting, a rim holds the stone and completely surrounds the gem. Bezels can have straight edges, scalloped edges, or can be molded into any shape to accommodate the stone. Click here to learn about jewelry settings.

The term blemish is used when the diamond has scratches or marks on the external area of the stone.

Liveliness, or sparkle in a stone when light is reflected from the surface and from the total internal reflection of light.

Brilliant cuts are scientifically found to reflect the most light from within the stone, and often are considered to have the most brilliance of all cuts. A round brilliant-cut diamond has 58 facets. Other brilliant cuts include the heart, oval, marquise and pear shaped.

Certification (or Diamond Grading Reports)
There are many recognized gemological laboratories that can grade your diamond for a fee.

Channel setting
A channel setting is where the stones are set right next to each other with no metal separating them. This setting is used most frequently for wedding and anniversary bands.

Cluster setting
This setting surrounds a larger center stone with several smaller stones. It is designed to create a beautiful larger ring from many smaller stones.

This is the upper portion or the top of a diamond.

The bottom point of the diamond. It may be polished in some stones. Please note that sometimes the cutter may choose to make the culet a surface instead of a point.

Cushion cut
A mixed-cut diamond shaped like a square pillow.

Cutting style
Cutting styles are different than diamond shapes. The simplest and most common way to explain cutting style is to categorize it into the following three basic types: Step-cut, Brilliant-cut and Mixed-cut.

Deep cut
Cut refers to the angles and proportions a skilled craftsman creates in transforming a rough diamond into a finished diamond. When a diamond is cut too deep, it will lose or leak light through the side or bottom. This results in less brilliance and value. Click here to learn more about diamond cuts.

A diamond is the hardest known natural substance. It is crystallized carbon. Diamonds are mined in their rough form and then cut and polished to reveal their brilliance.

Diamond Grading Reports
There are many recognized gemological laboratories that can grade your diamond for a fee.

When light enters a diamond it reflects off the facets and the angles cut into the stone. This distribution of light is known as dispersion, or the display of the spectral colors.

Emerald shape
A rectangular or square-shaped cut-cornered diamond.

These are tiny surfaces polished onto a rough diamond that give a finished diamond its shape. The way light interacts with these facets affects a diamond's brilliance and sparkle.

Fancy shapes
Any diamond shape other than round – e.g. marquise, square, emerald, oval, heart and pear.

A feather is a type of inclusion or flaw within a diamond. It is described often as a small crack, fissure or gletz.

The word finish is used to describe the exterior of the diamond. If a diamond is well polished, it has a very good finish.

Often a term used instead of "dispersion," it is the variety and intensity of rainbow colors seen when light is reflected from a diamond.

Flat-top setting
Like the Gypsy setting, this setting has a band that is one continuous piece that gets thicker at the top. A flat-top setting grows broader at the top so that a faceted stone can be inserted into the ring at the broadest part. The stone is held in place by metal chips attached at the stone's girdle.

When exposed to ultraviolet light, a diamond may exhibit a more whitish, yellowish or bluish tint, which may imply that the diamond has a property called fluorescence. The untrained eye can rarely see the effects of fluorescence. Diamond grading reports often state whether a diamond has fluorescent properties. Fluorescence is not considered a grading factor, only a characteristic of that particular diamond.

The girdle is the outermost edge of the diamond between the crown and the pavilion.

Growth or grain lines
These can be considered internal flaws, and can often be seen only by rotating the diamond very slowly. They can appear and disappear almost instantaneously. They appear as small lines or planes within the diamond.

Gypsy setting
The Gypsy setting is predominantly used for men's jewelry. The band is one continuous piece that gets thicker at the top. The top is dome shaped and the stone is inserted in the middle.

Illusion setting
This setting is more intricate than others in that it surrounds the stone to make it appear larger. The metal that surrounds the stone usually has an interesting design.

Often referred to as "nature's fingerprints," these are internal imperfections within most diamonds. They are what makes a diamond so unique, as a fingerprint does for a person. These birthmarks are measured on a scale of perfection known as clarity. Some common names of inclusions include cloud, crystal, pinpoint, and feather. The position of inclusions can affect the clarity of a diamond and therefore the value.

Marquise shape
A boat-shaped diamond that is long and thin with gently curved sides that come to a point on either end. Marquise is part of the brilliant-cut family.

This cut has both step-cut and brilliant-cut facets. Mixed cuts combine the beauty of the emerald cut with the sparkle of the brilliant cut.

Bottom portion of the stone, under the girdle, measuring to the culet.

A pinpoint is a small dot, which is an inclusion within a diamond. A gathering of pinpoints is called a "cluster" or "cloud." A cloud or cluster can appear as a hazy area in the diamond.

Indicates the care taken by the cutter in shaping and facetting the rough stone into a finished and polished diamond.

Poor cut
Cut refers to the angles and proportions a skilled craftsman creates in transforming a rough diamond into a finished diamond. A poorly cut diamond can be either cut too deep or too shallow. A deep or shallow cut diamond will lose or leak light through the side or bottom. This results in less brilliance and value.

Princess cut
A square or sometimes rectangular-shaped modified brilliant-cut diamond.

Prong or claw setting
It consists of four or six claws that cradle the diamond. Because this setting allows the maximum amount of light to enter a stone from all angles, it sometimes can make a diamond appear larger and more brilliant than its actual weight. This setting can also hold larger diamonds more securely.

The proportions of a diamond are very important, so that the maximum amount of light be reflected off and out of a stone. Proportion is the relationship between the angles of the facets of the crown and pavillion.

Radiant cut
A rectangular or square shaped diamond with step-cut and scissor-cut on the crown and a brilliant-cut on the pavilion.

When light reflects from a diamond, the sparkling flashes that come from the facets of the gem are known as scintillation.

Shallow cut
Cut refers to the angles and proportions a skilled craftsman creates in transforming a rough diamond into a finished diamond. When a diamond is cut too shallow, it will lose or leak light through the side or bottom. This results in less brilliance and value. Click here to learn more about diamond cuts.

Shape refers to form or appearance of a diamond - i.e. whether the diamond is round, triangular, square, marquise, pear, oval or heart-shaped.

The step cut has rows of facets that resemble the steps of a staircase. The emerald cut and the baguette are examples of the step cut.

A diamond's symmetry is the arrangement of the facets and finished angles, created by the diamond cutter. Excellent symmetry of a well-cut and well-proportioned diamond can have a great effect on the diamond's brilliance and fire. Grading reports will often state the diamond's symmetry in terms Excellent, Very good, Good, Fair, or Poor.

Table facet
This is the largest facet of a diamond. It is located on the top of the diamond. The table facet is sometimes referred to as the "face."

Table spread
Term used to describe the width of the table facet, often expressed as a percentage of the total width of the stone.

Tension setting
A tension-set diamond is held in place by the pressure of the band's metal, which is designed to "squeeze" the stone.

Well cut
Well cut proportions ensure the maximum compromise between fire and brilliance. When light enters a properly cut diamond, it is reflected from facet to facet, and then back up through the top, exhibiting maximum brilliance, fire and sparkle.