Clarity, Color, and Carat Weight
and other Lists
Diamond Cut is perhaps the most important of the four Cs, so it is
important to understand how this quality affects the properties and
values of a diamond.
A good cut gives a
diamond its brilliance, which is that brightness that seems to come
from the very heart of a diamond. The angles and finish of any
diamond are what determine its ability to handle light, which leads
As you can see in the
image below, when a diamond is well-cut, light enters through the
table and travels to the pavilion where it reflects from one side to
the other before reflecting back out of the diamond through the
table and to the observer's eye. This light is the brilliance we
mentioned, and it's this flashing, fiery effect that makes
In a poorly cut
diamond, the light that enters through the table reaches the facets
and then 'leaks' out from the sides or bottom of the diamond rather
than reflecting back to the eye. Less light reflected back to the
eye means less brilliance.
Don't confuse diamond
cut with shape. Shape refers to the general outward appearance of
the diamond, not it's reflective qualities.
Porportions are key
Most gemologists agree that the best cut diamonds are those that
follow a set of formulae calculated to maximize brilliance. These
formulae can be seen in a diamond's proportions, most importantly
how the depth compares to the diameter, and how the diameter of the
table compares to the diameter of the diamond.
One of the leading
diamond grading bodies, the AGS, has developed a table which they
believe offers the the "ideal" proportions of diamond. The image
below details the various parts of the diamond, together with the
recommended proportions of the AGS.
Because cut is so
important, several grading methods have been developed to help
consumers determine the cut of a particular diamond. In general,
these grades are Ideal, Excellent, Very Good, Good and Fair.
The width of the diamond as measured through the girdle.
Table: This is the large, flat top facet of a
Crown: The upper portion of a cut gemstone, above
Girdle: The narrow rim of a diamond that separates
the crown from the pavilion. It is the largest diameter to any part
of the stone
Pavilion: The lower portion of the diamond, below
the girdle. It is sometimes referred to as the base.
Culet: The tiny facet on the pointed bottom of the
pavilion, which is the portion of a cut gem below the girdle.
Depth: The height of a gemstone, from the culet to
Which Grade Should I buy?
Selecting the grade of cut is really a matter of preference. To
make the best selection, you need to understand the various
grades. Zain's Jewelers grades its diamonds as Ideal, Very Good,
Good, Fair or Poor.
Ideal: Diamonds that are
described by Zain's Jewelers as Ideal have a make which is
considered fine by anyone in the industry. This cut is intended
to maximize brilliance, and the typically smaller table sizes of
these diamonds have the added benefit of creating a great deal
of dispersion or 'fire' as well. Ideal quality diamonds are
truly for the person who enjoys knowing that he has one of the
finest things that money can buy. This category applies only to
Diamonds that are described by Zain's Jewelers as Premium have a
make which is considered fine by anyone in the industry. In the
case of round diamonds, many of these diamonds have cuts that
are the equal of any Ideal Cut diamond, though they often can be
purchased at slightly lower prices than AGS Ideal Cuts. They are
intended to provide maximum brilliance and fire. They are truly
for the person who enjoys knowing that he has one of the finest
things that money can buy.
Diamonds that are described by Zain's Jewelers as Very Good are
of a excellent make. They reflect most of the light that enters
them, creating a good deal of brilliance. With these diamonds,
the cutters have chosen to stray slightly from the preferred
diamond proportions in order to create a larger diamond. The
result is that these diamonds fall slightly outside of some
customers' preferences in terms of, for example, table size or
girdle width, though, in many cases many of the parameters of
diamonds in this range will overlap with certain parameters of
diamonds in the Ideal or Premium ranges. Generally, the price of
these diamonds in slightly below that of Premium cuts.
Diamonds that are described by Zain's Jewelers as Good reflect
much of the light that enters them. Their proportions fall
outside of the preferred range because the cutter has chosen to
create the largest possible diamond from the original rough
crystal, rather than cutting extra weight off to create a
smaller Premium quality diamond. Diamonds in this range offer an
excellent cost-savings to customers who want to stay in a budget
without sacrificing quality or beauty
A diamond described by Zain's Jewelers as poor will reflect only
a small proportion of the light that enters it. Typically these
diamonds have been cut to maximize the carat weight over most
other considerations. We do not recommend this type of cut and
to ensure that our customers enjoy only fine, classic jewelry,
Zain's Jewelers does not offer diamonds that have been graded
fair to poor.
When we speak of a diamond's clarity, we are referring to the
presence of identifying characteristics on and within the stone.
While most of these characteristics are inherent qualities of the
rough diamond and have been present since the earliest stages of the
crystal's growth below ground, a few are actually a result of the
harsh stress that a diamond undergoes during the cutting process
If you think about the incredible
amount of pressure it takes to create a diamond, it's no surprise
that many diamonds have inclusions-scratches, blemishes, air bubbles
or non-diamond mineral material-on their surface or inside. Diamonds
with no or few inclusions and blemishes are more highly valued than
those with less clarity, not just because they are more pleasing to
the eye, but also because they are rarer.
How are Diamonds
Created for Clarity
Diamonds are graded for clarity under 10x loupe magnification.
Grades range from Internally Flawless, diamonds which are completely
free of blemishes and inclusions even under 10x magnification, to
Imperfect 3, diamonds which possess large, heavy blemishes and
inclusions that are visible to the naked eye. F-IF-Flawless or
Internally Flawless. This diamond has no internal inclusions. Very
Illustrations are representative only; most inclusions are not
visible to naked eye.
- Very Very Slighty included. Very difficult to detect under 10x
- Very Slighty included (two grades). Minute inclusions invisible to
the naked eye and seen only with difficulty under 10x magnification.
- Slightly Included (two grades). Minute inclusions Can be seen
under 10x magnification and in some cases, in SI2, inclusions are
visible to the naked eye.
- Included (three grades). Inclusions visible under 10x
magnification as well as to the human eye.
While the presence of these clarity
characteristics do lower the clarity grade, and therefore the value,
of a diamond they can also be viewed as proof of a diamond's
identity. GIA certificates include what is known as a "plot" of a
diamond's inclusions. Since no two diamonds are exactly the same,
comparing the uniqueness of your diamond's clarity characteristics
with the plot provided on the diamond certificate offers assurance
that the diamond you pay for is the same diamond you receive.
Which Clarity Should
While Flawless diamonds are the rarest, and arguably the most
beautiful diamonds, a diamond does not have to be completely clean
to be extremely attractive. Those diamonds with VVS and VS grades
can be excellent choices as well. More affordable are those diamonds
which gemologists call "eye-clean" - diamonds with no inclusions
visible to the naked eye. These diamonds as SI or SI2.
When jewelers speak of a diamond's color they are usually referring
to the presence or absence of color in white diamonds. Color is a
result of the composition of the diamond, and it never changes over
Because a colorless
diamond, like a clear window, allows more light to pass through it
than a colored diamond, colorless diamonds emit more sparkle and
fire. The formation process of a diamond ensures that only a few,
rare diamonds are truly colorless. Thus the whiter a diamond's
color, the greater its value. (Note that fancy color diamonds do not
follow this rule. These diamonds, which are very rare and very
expensive, can be any color from blue to green to bright yellow.
They are actually more valuable for their color.)
To grade 'whiteness'
or colorlessness, most jewelers refer to GIA's professional color
scale that begins with the highest rating of D for colorless, and
travels down the alphabet to grade stones with traces of very faint
or light yellowish or brownish color. The color scale continues all
the way to Z.
Color Grade Should I Choose?
Diamonds graded D through F are naturally the most valuable and
desirable because of their rarity. Such diamonds are a treat for the
eyes of anyone. But you can still obtain very attractive diamonds
that are graded slightly less than colorless. And diamonds graded G
through I show virtually no color that is visible to the untrained
And while a very, very
faint hint of yellow will be apparent in diamonds graded J through
M, this color can often be minimized by carefully selecting the
right jewelry in which to mount your diamond. Keep in mind that,
while most people strive to buy the most colorless diamond they can
afford, there are many people who actually prefer the warmer glow of
To ensure that our
customers enjoy only fine, classic jewelry, Zain's Jewelers does not
offer diamonds that have been graded below M.
A carat is a unit of measurement, it's the unit used to weigh a
diamond. One carat is equal to 200 milligrams, or 0.2 grams.
The word carat is
taken from the carob seeds that people once used in ancient times to
balance scales. So uniform in shape and weight are these little
seeds that even today's sophisticated instruments cannot detect more
than three one-thousandths of a difference between them.
Don't confuse it with
'karat', the method of determining the purity of gold.
The process that forms
a diamond happens only in very rare circumstances, and typically the
natural materials required are found only in small amounts. That
means that larger diamonds are uncovered less often than smaller
ones. Thus, large diamonds are rare and have a greater value per
carat. For that reason, the price of a diamond rises exponentionaly
to its size.
How important size is
to you is probably contingent on how important it is to the person
you're giving it to. A few tips to keep in mind will help guide you
to the right decision.
The general rule of
thumb when buying a diamond is "two months salary". This is just a
guideline, it's not carved in stone, but it's useful in
establishing a budget for how much you can comfortably invest in
Deciding on carat
size is really about striking a balance between size and quality.
If she prefers larger jewelry items, and you are working within a
budget, you can still find a larger diamond of excellent quality
gem by selecting one which is graded slightly lower in terms of
color and clarity.
slender fingers make small diamonds look bigger. If she has small
fingers, a 1-carat diamond will look proportionately large--and an
even larger stone may appear stunningly big!
Think about what
sort of setting will hold the diamond. You'll have to be sure that
the setting you choose is made to fit the carat weight of your
diamond. Mondera's "Create Your Ring" tool has been designed to
ensure that both diamond and setting are perfectly matched in
terms of size.
To properly maintain
your jewelry, we recommend that you bring your jewelry to the store
for inspection and polishing. It only takes a few minutes, and it's
free of charge. Let us show you the difference between the way other
jewelry stores just dip your jewelry to clean it and how we have
modern machinery to refinish it to make it look as it did when it
was new. Our jewelers will inspect your prongs, loops, and tighten
all your locks. This way you won't end up loosing a valuable diamond
due to a $10 prong that has worn away or broken off, or loose your
favorite necklace due to a $7 loop that is wearing thin and needs
reinforcement. We can also teach you how to keep an eye on your
jewelry, such as making sure your locks snap properly and your loops
don't get too thin. We take the responsibility of letting you know
exactly what, if anything, needs to be done.
If you cannot make it
in to our store, we have provided the following guidelines on how to
clean your jewelry and care for it at home. This will not prevent
the need for inspection and maintenance that only a jeweler can
perform, but will keep your jewelry in its best possible condition
in the meantime.
Although fine jewelry
is made from some of the world's most durable substances, gemstones
and precious metals, it does need some care. Following a few easy
guidelines will make sure that your jewelry pieces last for
generations still looking like the day you bought them.
all keep them clean!
Lotions, powders, soaps, and natural skin oils can build up on
jewelry, cutting down on the brilliance of the gems. Rings in
particular tend to collect dust and soap behind the stone,
particularly if you wear them all the time. To clean transparent
crystalline gemstones, simply soak them in water with a touch of
gentle soap or ammonia. If necessary, use a soft toothbrush to scrub
behind the stone. After brushing, simply rinse with lukewarm water
and allow them to dry. Grease can be removed from plain karat gold
jewelry by dipping it into ordinary rubbing alcohol. Rubbing with a
soft chamois cloth is an effective way to keep gold jewelry shining.
your jewelry in a clean, dry place
A fabric-lined jewelry case or box with compartments and dividers is
ideal. If you prefer to use an ordinary box, wrap each piece
individually in soft tissue paper. Don't jumble your jewelry pieces
in a drawer or jewelry case. Store each piece of gemstone jewelry
separately so that harder stones don't scratch softer ones. Almost
every gemstone is much harder than the metal it is set in. Gems can
scratch the finish on your gold, silver or platinum if you throw
your jewelry in a heap in a drawer or jewelry box.
immersing your jewelry in chemicals like chlorine.
It's a good idea to remove jewelry before entering a chlorinated
pool or hot tub or putting your hands into water with bleach.
Chlorine, especially at high temperatures, can permanently damage or
discolor your gold jewelry.
There are many types
of small machines on the market that will clean jewelry in a matter
of minutes using high-frequency sound. These ultrasonic cleaners can
be a convenient way to quickly clean your jewelry at home. However,
ultrasonic cleaners can damage some jewelry, particularly pieces set
with pearls or colored gemstones.
Even the hardest
gemstones can be vulnerable to breakage if they have inclusions that
weaken the crystal structure. Exercise common sense: remove your
jewelry during strenuous work or exercise. Diamonds are the hardest
substance on earth but they can shatter in two with a single
well-placed blow. Rubies and sapphires are the toughest gems but
even they can chip if hit sharply. Take particular care if you have
a ring set with a gem variety with a hardness less than 7 or an
included stone. Treat each piece of fine jewelry you own with
respect and you will enjoy it forever.
cosmetics, hair sprays and perfume before putting on any pearl
jewelry. When you remove the pearl
jewelry, wipe it carefully with a soft cloth to remove any traces of
these substances. You can also wash your pearl jewelry with mild
soap and water. Do not clean cultured pearls with any chemicals,
abrasives or solvents. These substances can damage your pearls. Do
not toss your cultured pearl jewelry carelessly into a purse, bag or
jewel box. A pearl's surface is soft and can be scratched by hard
metal edges or by the harder gemstones of other jewelry pieces.
Place cultured pearls in a chamois bag or wrap them in tissue when
putting them away.
your sterling silver jewelry with a mild soap and water solution,
allowing the water to bead up, and then patting dry with a soft
For more stubborn dirt, use a jewelry cleaner designed for silver
use. (If you do use silver cleaner, make sure you keep it away from
any gems set in the silver.) Store silver in a cool, dry place,
preferably in a tarnish-preventive bag or wrapped in a soft piece of
felt or cloth. Store pieces individually so that they don't knock
together and scratch. Do not rub silver with anything other than a
polishing cloth or a fine piece of felt. Tissue paper or paper
towels can cause scratches because of the fibers in these products.
Make sure your silver is not exposed to air and light during
storage: this can cause silver to tarnish. And don't wear sterling
silver in chlorinated water or when working with household
require special care.
Never use an ultrasonic cleaner, never use ammonia, and avoid heat
and strong light, which can dry out the water in opals. Opal rings
should not be worn during strenuous work or exercise: they will chip
if hit with a sharp blow. Organic gems like coral and amber should
only be wiped clean with a moist cloth. Due to their organic nature,
these gems are both soft and porous. Be careful about chemicals in
hairspray, cosmetics, or perfume: they can, over time, damage
organic gems. Opaque gemstones like lapis lazuli, turquoise, and
malachite, require special care. Never use an ultrasonic cleaner and
never use ammonia or any chemical solution. These gem materials
should just be wiped clean gently with a moist cloth. These
gemstones can be porous and may absorb chemicals, even soap, and
they may build up inside the stone and discolor it. The reason why
these materials need more care than transparent gemstones is that
these materials are essentially rocks, not crystals of a single
mineral. Think about it: when you put a rock in water, it absorbs
the water and is moist all the way through. A single crystal gem
like sapphire will not absorb water: all the molecules are lined up
so tightly in the crystal that there is no room for water to enter.
Birthstone Lists and other Lists
long played a rich role in many cultures, religions, and
mythologies. Most are probably familiar with the "official" US
birthstone list, compiled by jewelers in 1912, but this is just the
latest of ways that gems have been associated with lists.
jewelers were thinking about gems commercially, astrologers were
ascribing heavenly associations to them, Hindus were connecting them
to the energy centers of the body. The origin of the
birthstone--denoting a specific gem to each month of the year--dates
back to at least the first century. There is speculation that the
twelve stones in the breastplate of the Jewish high priest may have
had some bearing on the concept. Interpreters of the Bible's Book of
Revelations, during the eighth and ninth centuries, began to ascribe
to each of those gems attributes of the 12 apostles. Over the years,
there have been many variations to this list.
Use this information
to help make jewelry and gift choices for all occasions. Whichever
system you choose to follow, knowing a little lore can add a lot to
the experience of buying or receiving a special gem.
Jewelers Birthstone List
June--Alexandrite, Pearl, Moonstone
December--Blue Zircon, Turquoise, Lapis Lazuli
Anniversary Gift List
2nd--Garnet (all colors)
5th--Sapphire (all colors)
8th--Tourmaline (all colors)
12th--Jade or Agate
13th--Citrine or Moonstone
14th--Opal or Moss Agate
16th--Peridot or Topaz (all colors)
22nd--Spinel (all colors)
26th--Star Sapphire 30th--Pearl Jubilee
35th--Emerald or Coral
45th--Sapphire or Alexandrite
55th--Alexandrite or Emerald
Gems Associated With The Signs Of The Zodiac
Aries--Bright Red, Ruby, Iron
Taurus--Bright Green, Emerald, Copper
Gemini--Orange, Opal, Mercury
Cancer--Silver, Moonstone, Silver
Leo--Yellow, Precious Topaz, Gold
Virgo--Beige, Agate, Nickel
Libra--Blue-Green, Jade, Bronze
Scorpio--Dark Red, Red Garnet, Steel
Sagittarius--Deep Blue, Blue Sapphire, Tin
Capricorn--Gray, Black Diamond, Lead
Aquarius--Purple, Amethyst, Aluminum
Pisces--Iridescent Violet, Aquamarine Platinum