Diamond is the birthstone for April. It is the hardest of all the gemstones - 10 on the Moh's scale. Diamonds are the only gemstone composed of just one element, carbon, formed deep within the earth and over a billion years old. It’s valued for its colorless nature and purity. Diamond’s unique optical and physical properties give it the highest possible luster of any transparent gemstone.
Diamond's hardness and durability make it the preferred gemstone for diamond engagement rings which are worn every day. Diamond's are valued by cut, clarity, carat and color which is often referred to as the 4 C's. When shopping for a diamond, choose the combination of the 4 C's that you can afford which maximizes sparkle.
Cut is the most important of the 4Cs because it has the greatest influence on a diamond's sparkle. When diamond cuts are made with the proper proportions, light is returned out of the top of the diamond which is called the table. If a diamond is cut too shallow, light leaks out of the bottom; too deep and it escapes out of the side. The best cuts range from good to ideal.
The highest quality diamonds are colorless, while those of lower quality have noticeable color, which manifests as pale yellow in diamonds. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grades diamond color on a scale divided into six categories. Diamonds rated D are the most devoid of color and very rare, whereas G color diamonds and H color diamonds are near colorless, and since they’re priced lower they are excellent value diamonds. The more you move down the color chart, the lower the color grade is, and the more noticeable the light yellow hue becomes.
Most diamonds have imperfections that are either blemishes (surface flaws) or inclusions (internal flaws). The GIA diamond grading scale is divided into eleven diamond clarity grades. Flawless diamonds (FL) are incredibly rare and expensive - no inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification. Included diamonds (I1, I2 and I3) are on the opposite end of the grading scale with inclusions that are obvious under 10× magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance.
When shopping for diamonds, slightly included diamonds with inclusions that are not visible to the naked eye or are " eye clean" offer the best value. Slightly included diamonds range in grade from SI2 (slightly included) to VVS1 (very, very slightly included). More expensive diamond grades are very slightly included (VS1 and VS2) or very very slightly included (VVS1 and VVS2) with inclusions only visible under magnification by a skllled grader.
Carat refers to a diamond's weight rather than its size. A well cut smaller diamond may have more sparkle and appear larger than a poorly cut diamond of a larger carat. For the best value, select a carat weight slightly below the whole and half carat marks. For example, instead of a 1.0-carat diamond, consider buying a .9-carat weight diamond. This will save a considerable amount of money and the slight size difference will never be noticed.
Diamonds are available in a variety of shapes. Different shapes will affect the brilliance and sparkle of a diamond. We recommend a round diamond which is the most popular and researched shape. Round-cut diamonds will give you more flexibility in terms of balancing cut, color, and clarity grades while maximizing fire and brilliance.