Buying a diamond is quite possibly the biggest and most meaningful purchase you will ever undertake. Taking your time and being informed about your purchase will ensure you make the right choice and ultimately make your lady the happiest she has ever been. If you are a bit apprehensive to embark on this journey of a lifetime, take a few moments to educate yourself so you are not bombarded with a plethora of ideas and design possibilities. Diamonds can be anywhere from simple to elaborate, but make no mistake, they are all dazzling in their own special way. There are four categories of how professional jewelers grade diamonds. They are quite easy to remember because they all start with the letter C: Cut, color, clarity and carat. By taking a few moments to read our educational literature on the subject matter, you will soon possess the knowledge needed to choose the ideal ring for your betrothed.
Carat weight is a unit of weight, thus referring to how much a diamonds weighs. There are one hundred points equalling one carat, like pennies to a dollar. Jewelers use a point system to describe the weight of a diamond under one carat. For example, if a diamonds weighs 0.25 carats, it would be called a twenty-five pointer or 1/4 ct. A 0.63 carat diamond would be called a 5/8 carat. (5/8 ct.)
Diamond weights greater than one carat are expressed in carats and decimals. A 1.09 ct. stone would be described as 'one point oh nine carats.'
If comparing diamonds of the same quality, the price increases when the weight increases. This is due to larger diamonds being more rare and more desirable. But two diamonds of equal carat weight can have very different values (and prices) depending on three other 4Cs: Clarity, Color, and Cut.
Also, there might be an advantage buying a diamond that is 0.95 carat, (ct.) instead of 1.00 ct. A 0.95 ct., if cut well can appear to look like a full carat. We call this size a light carat and the price difference is considerably less.
Diamonds come in many different colors depending on the elements that color them. Fancy color diamonds like blue, red, pink and fancy yellow are rare. Their prices are at a premium depending on color and color intensity.
In most diamonds, an element called nitrogen gets caught inside the diamond, during it's formation causing a tinge of yellow color. The price is determined by the degree of yellow.
At Barnes Jewelry, we honor two systems of grading a diamond: The Gemological Institute Of America's, (GIA's) D-Z grading system and the American Gem Society's, (AGS) 0-10 system. Both are highly regarded however, the GIA's system is the most widely used in the industry.
GIA's D,E, F grading means the diamond is in the colorless range. G,H,I and J is in the near colorless range and beyond is considered warm yellow.
The color grades from D to H are so subtle that it would be hard for the novice to discern the difference. It would take a trained eye years of practice. At Barnes Jewelry we have a system to help you see the difference.
It is important to learn that for every color grade down the scale, the price decreases significantly. For example, the difference between a D color compared to a G can be 40% less, depending on the all factors. It is very important that where ever you buy a diamond, they have trained experts that can show you the difference.
Clarity refers to the tiny microscopic markings found in all diamonds. We demonstrate clarity using 10x power magnification, or higher to determine the nature, size, number and location of every marking inside a diamond. These characteristic markings, or inclusions are like birthmarks because after purchasing, they can be used to identify your diamond. Most of our diamonds come with a report from the GIA, AGS or by our trained certified gemologist stating their quality
GIA's scale from flawless down to imperfect:
Flawless (FL): this means no inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification
Internally Flawless (IF): No inclusions visible under 10x magnification
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2): Inclusions are so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2): Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterized as minor
Slightly Included SI1: Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification, but still difficult for the novice to see.
Slightly included SI2: Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification
Included (I1, I2, and I3): inclusions are noticeable with the unaided eye.
Again, every clarity grade down the scale lowers the value, or price.
Now do you understand why you need a gemologist in your back pocket? Or, a 'Birdie' on your shoulder.
Last, but not least is determining the CUT grade of a diamond.
Most consumers think about the cut of a diamond as it's shape. Whether it's a round brilliant, princess cut, oval cut, etc.. Gemolologically speaking, a diamond's cut grade refers to it's light performance or, the ability to transmit light producing sparkle, brilliance and fire. The level of light performance is due to the proportions. In approximately 1919 the criteria for the Ideal Cut diamond was perfected.
Over the years, the criteria has broadened, or lowered so you really need an expert to help you see the difference.
We have been selling ideal cut diamonds from day one, and now 'Forevermark' diamonds which are the finest in the area. In these diamonds all angles and facets are cut to perfection creating ultimate brilliance back to your eye.
The cut of a diamond can make or break it's beauty. A diamond can be flawless and colorless but cut so poorly that it looks watery or dark.
Take the time to come into our store so we can show you why one diamond is worth more then another. There is a difference!