Jewellery Basics

Cut

The diamond cut is the metric used to evaluate the precision and quality of the cutting itself and does not reflect the overall shape of the diamond. The cut also refers to the diamond’s proportions, such as depth, width, and the uniformity of its facets.  These are all characteristics that control its sparkle, brilliance, durability and other features that are sought after in a diamond.

  • An “Ideal Cut” reflects nearly all light that enters the diamond which is an exquisite and rare cut.
  • A “very good cut” reflects nearly as much light as “an ideal cut” but for a lower price.
  • A “good cut” reflects most light that enters, which makes this type of diamond significantly less expensive than a very good cut.
  • A “fair cut” is a quality cut but not as brilliant as a good cut.
  • A “poor cut” is generally too deep and narrow or shallow and wide, losing most of the light out the sides and bottom.

Colour

The formation process of a diamond ensures that only an extremely rare number of diamonds are totally colorless. Therefore the whiter the diamond, the more valuable it is. The highest possible colour scale is D and is assigned to a colorless white diamond, while grading Z is the lowest and is assigned to those with light yellow tint.

Clarity

Clarity is a measure of the number and size of the tiny imperfections that occur in almost all diamonds. It is common for diamonds to be formed with slight imperfections and is known as “inclusions” and can come in many forms, including tiny white points, dark dots or feathery cracks. The fewer the inclusions or imperfections the more diamond is worth.

Its clarity ranking is determined by the number, size, type and placement of these inclusions. Every diamond is unique and none are absolutely perfect under 10× magnification (the industry standard). The following GIA scale considers the size, nature, position, colour and quantity of clarity characteristics visible less than 10× magnification.

  • F (Flawless): Diamond has no internal or external inclusions.
  • IF (Internally Flawless): Diamond has no internal inclusions and slight external inclusions.
  • VVS1-VVS2 (Very Very Slightly included): Diamond has minute inclusions that are very difficult to detect under 10 x magnifications, even by an experienced grader.
  • VS1-VS2 (Very Slightly included): Diamond has minute inclusions that are invisible to the naked eye and seen only with difficulty under 10 x magnifications.
  • SI1-SI2 (Slightly included): Inclusions are invisible to the naked eye, yet easily seen by an experienced grader under 10 x magnifications.
  • I1-I3 (Included): Inclusions are visible to the naked eye and affect brilliance.

Carat Weight

Carat is the term used to describe the weight of any gemstone, including diamonds. Each carat weighs 0.2 grams (roughly the same as a paperclip) and there are 100 points in each carat. So a 50-point diamond is a .50, or half, carat diamond. Stones above a full carat are priced at a premium.

It’s important not to confuse ‘carat’ with ‘karat’, as in ‘14K gold,’ which refers to gold purity.

Shape

The following are some popular diamond and gem shapes.

  • Princess: This cut is a square or rectangular design with numerous sparkling facets. The princess cut often finds its way into wedding rings and solitaire engagement rings.
  • Round Brilliant: Another popular cut, accounting for well over the majority of diamonds sold. The “brilliant” cuts come in a variety of shapes.
  • Marquise-cut: This shape can maximize carat weight, giving you a larger-looking diamond. This brilliant-cut diamond makes fingers appear long and slender.
  • Emerald-cut: What makes this shape different is its pavilion (the bottom part of the diamond), which is cut with rectangular facets for a unique optical appearance. This shape calls attention to the clarity of a diamond.
  • Oval shape: With a stunning brilliance similar to a round diamond, oval diamonds are also very popular as their length can help accentuate long, slender fingers.
  • Pear shape: This brilliant-cut diamond, sometimes referred to as ‘teardrop’, is a popular choice for diamond jewellery. An elongated pear shape creates a subtle slimming effect on the fingers.
  • Heart shape: This shape is perfect for romantic gifts and expressions of love. A favorite for anniversaries and special occasions.