Diamond Buying Guide in 4 Easy Steps!

Posted by admin on October 22, 2008
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diamond rings

Welcome to the Canadian Diamond Buying Guide. If this is your first visit, please take a look at our introductory buying guide in 4 easy steps!

Step 1, Educate Yourself About Diamonds!

First, you need to educate yourself about diamonds. We recommend that you read our section about the Diamonds 4 c’s : Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat size.

In that section, you will learn why the quality and the price of diamonds always vary based on the 4 c’s.

We also recommend you to take a quick look at our Diamond Shape page which explains the various shapes available these days on the market. It will help you to make the right choice about the shape of your diamond.

Step 2, Establish What Your budget is!

How many month’s salary should a guy spend for an engagement ring? If you spend more money, does that mean she will think that you love her more? We suggest you visit our section called How Much Should I Spend on a Diamond Ring? to find out!

Step 3, Find a Good Jeweler Locally or Online!

You can start by shopping locally by visiting jewelers in your area. Please read the following before you start shopping:

Essential Tips Before you Buy a Diamond Ring

Don’t buy just yet! Now that you’ve found a good setting for your ring, please ask the jeweller to give you the exact price of the diamond he is offering you. Rush back home and look online to compare the price of his diamond with a reputable online retailer of certified diamonds and fine jewellery.

Step 4, Closing the deal!

It’s now time to close the deal with either your local jeweller or your online retailer. See our How to Close the Deal section which provides you with good avise for both online and local retailers.

How Much Should I Spend on a Diamond Ring?

Posted by admin on October 18, 2008
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What is the right amount to spend when buying diamonds?

The selection of beautiful diamonds is almost limitless today. For virtually every budget, there is an option that will surely please the one you love. Also, keep in mind that the love that diamond stands for – not the size or cost of the stone – is more important to a woman than anything else. A diamond is a symbol of enduring love and commitment. A diamond engagement ring is a once in a lifetime gift; and every man wants to be sure that his diamond choice –or the choice they make together – is everything she hoped for and dreamed of.

Emotion aside, when buying diamonds you also want to make sure you are not overextending yourself. So, finding the right balance is key. The first thing you want to be assured of is that whatever diamond you purchase, you have done your homework on how to buy diamonds.

So, what is the right number? If you’re buying a diamond engagement ring, the commonly accepted guideline for purchasing diamonds is two months’ salary. That number may work for some people and not for others.

We, at The Canadian Diamond Buying Guide, highly recommend that you don’t debate the merits of the diamond engagement ring spending guidelines with your potential fiancee! In fact, it’s probably more important to look for a lovely, classic, timeless diamond engagement ring instead of sticking to the old “the bigger the better” philosophy.

Let’s buy that special lady a great diamond :)

Essential Tips Before You Buy a Diamond Ring

Posted by admin on October 18, 2008
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  1. Never (at least try not to) buy a diamond already in a setting. You can’t see the color and they almost never has a lab, e.g. GIA, certificate. In the worst case, ask the jeweler if you can buy the diamond on your own and bring it to him. If he says no, walk away. If he says yes, then buy it online, you’ll be sure to get the very best price for your diamond. The jeweler will set your diamond on his ring.
  2. Only buy from a seller who has been in the business for a number of years and who knows diamonds, e.g. a gemologist. The best sellers will spend time educating you, show you different diamonds, and welcome you to leave and comparison shop. In general, be leery of stores where they shove settings in your face as soon as you enter or use high pressure sales tactics, e.g. offer a “special price” only if you buy right away.
  3. Negotiate (at least in brick & mortar stores). Diamonds and diamond engagement rings are almost always marked up quite a bit. You’ll know what the reasonable price should be if you’ve done your comparison shopping homework. This may be a case where speaking less is better - a seller may actually drop the price by over $1000 for a diamond ring simply because you didn’t give an opinion or say much (sometimes known as a “buying signal”). Those who don’t like to negotiate may find the internet to be a great source to shop and compare offerings. Like we said before, you will get the best price on the Internet anyway!
  4. Good online retailers of diamonds back their products by offering you a 30 days return policy.
  5. Look for a 6 prong ring setting. Prongs hold the diamond inside the ring. A diamond has a greater chance of falling out and being lost if a prong breaks in a 4 vs. 6 prong setting. 4 prong settings also give a round diamond a bit of a square look.
  6. In order to maximum your quality/price ratio, make sure you understand the diamond 4 c’s and that size only does not justify a the price of a diamond. Brilliance is affected by a number of factors including the cut, the color, the clarity and of course the carat weight. If you are not yet familiar with the 4 c’s, please visit our 4 c’s section.

If you have already read our sections about the diamond 4 c’s and Diamond Shapes, we strongly suggest that you take a look at the next step which is to find the perfect vendor.

Diamond Certification and GIA Certificates

Posted by admin on October 18, 2008
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Certification is the key to selecting a quality diamond at the lowest price. Certification is your only assurance of quality. A diamond certification is a detailed diamond quality report issued by an accredited independent gemological laboratory

GIA Certification

G.I.A. - The Gemological Institute of America:  G.I.A. is the most well known and respected laboratory in the world. The division of G.I.A. which is responsible for the certification of diamonds is G.I.A.’s Gem Trade Laboratory.  The G.I.A. diamond quality report provides a carefully drawn plot which illustrates the exact position, size and shape of every internal inclusion and external blemish a diamond possesses. G.I.A. is extremely strict in assigning color and clarity grades. If a diamonds quality is on the line of the next higher quality grade G.I.A. will usually always assign the lower grade. G.I.A. uses a Sarin proportion analyzer, a computer electronic measuring device to determine diamond proportions.

Sample :

Diamond Certification

Click picture to enlarge

G.I.A. Certified Diamond Reports provide this information:

  • Shape
  • Measurements
  • Weight
  • Depth Percentage
  • Table Percentage
  • Girdle Thickness
  • Culet Size
  • Polish
  • Symmetry
  • Clarity Grade
  • Color Grade
  • Fluorescence
  • Comments about Diamond
  • Plot of Internal and External Inclusions

Before you buy a diamond you should always, as a first priority, insist on an independent diamond grading certificate from an accredited laboratory

Know Your Diamonds: The 4 C’s

Posted by admin on October 18, 2008
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Know the 4 C’s of diamonds before buying

Make sure your diamond will be your best friend, by making an educated decision when choosing your diamond. Anyone shopping for a diamond engagement ring should first acquaint themselves with “the four Cs” of diamonds, namely colour, cut, clarity, and caret. These need to be determined before you can determine the fifth “C” – Cost.


When rating the colour of a diamond, jewellers commonly use the letters D through Z. The rating D represents a diamond that is colourless through to the rating Z has a yellow or brownish hue. As a rule, the closer a diamond is to colourless, the more valuable and beautiful it is.

diamond colors

However, even more rare than colourless diamonds are the fancy coloured diamonds. The well-defined colours that include pink, canary yellow, blue and green…highly priced, extremely rare, major showpieces!

White Diamond vs Yellow Diamond

White Diamond vs Yellow Diamond


Many people make the mistake of thinking that cut means the shape of the diamond. The cut actually refers to how many well-proportioned facets are in the stone. A well-cut diamond – regardless of its shape, sparkles and offers the greatest brilliance.

If a stone is cut poorly, it will appear less valuable because it will lack sparkle, brilliance and therefore, beauty. Some cutters will sacrifice cut to create the largest possible diamond, thus making too shallow or too deep of a cut and causing light to “leak” out the sides and bottom of the diamond.

Cut is graded Ideal, Premium, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor. Generally you should seek an Ideal to Very Good Diamond. If you’re shopping with on a budget, opt for good.

diamond cut

Notice how the light is reflected within the well cut diamond on top


Carats refer to the size of the diamond. Each carat has one hundred points. The carat weight refers to the mass of a diamond.

For example, a diamond that is a 1/2 carat can also be referred to as a 50-point diamond. But bigger isn’t necessarily better. A two-carat diamond that is cut poorly is not nearly as beautiful as a smaller diamond, cut by a skilled diamond artisan. Or, it may be cut well, but have poor colour and clarity.

diamond size


Clarity is an indication of a diamond’s purity. Diamonds frequently have inclusions, or small flaws, air bubbles, scratches, or other minerals inside the diamond. The less inclusions a diamond has, the more valuable and beautiful it is.

The scale for grading diamond’s clarity is:

  • Flawless-These diamonds do not have any inclusions and are considered to be perfect.
  • Internally Flawless-These diamonds may have very minor blemishes on the outside of the stone.
  • VVS1, VVS2-These diamonds have very, very small inclusions.
  • VS1, VS2-These diamonds have very small inclusions.
  • SI1, SI2, SI3-These diamonds have small inclusions.
  • I1, I2, I3-These diamonds have flaws which can be seen with the human eye.

diamond clarity

Most couples will opt for something between SI2 and VS1, and will never know the difference.

So which of the characteristics of diamonds is most important?

While you may have certain preferences when it comes to diamonds, all 4Cs should be taken into account before you make your purchase. In the end, if you want a larger diamond, you may prefer a diamond of higher carat weight but lower on the color scale. If beauty is more important, you may want a smaller, colorless stone for the same price.

Whether large or small, cut is critical since releasing a diamond’s maximum potential for beauty and brilliance is an art accomplished only by superior diamond artisans. So which of the characteristics of diamonds is most important? The choice is yours, but make it an educated one.

Diamond and Gemstone Shapes

Posted by admin on October 18, 2008
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These days diamonds come in all shapes imaginable and diamond cutters are still experimenting to discover more. A diamond cutter’s skill will produce a diamond of the greatest size with the fewest flaws and the most brilliance from the rough stone.

diamonds shapes

From traditional round briliant cuts to more interesting marquise, oval, heart shapes…


round brilliant diamond shape By far the most preferred diamond shape, the round-brilliant cut is also the most optically brilliant because of its 360-degree symmetrical shape. A round brilliant is a great choice if you want the most sparkle and the most enduring classic shape. The round shape has been cut for centuries, but in 1919, Marcel Tolkowsky defined specific angles and proportions to yield the most brilliant diamond, which form the basis for the modern ‘Ideal’ cut round-brilliant diamond. Round-brilliant diamonds are the only shape to have this ideal proportion defined. The round silhouette works with almost every mounting, from classic solitaires to the most avant-garde designs. Rounds can be set into four or six prongs, based on the design of the setting, or into bezel mountings (a metal band that runs around the edge of the diamond to hold it securely in the setting). In general, if the round brilliant has an Ideal cut or Very Good cut, you want the setting to have the least amount of metal around the stone so that it is held securely but does not cover up too much of the diamond and block light from entering the stone.


princess shape diamond The princess cut is a modern classic of clean, square lines and beautiful sparkle. This shape is the perfect choice if you prefer a square or rectangular outline but want the brilliance of a round. Developed in the 1970s, the princess cut is now second only to the round brilliant in popularity. The cutting of this diamond combines the step-cutting of the emerald cut with the triangular facets of the brilliant cut and is cut with right-angle corners. Although most prefer a square outline, some stones are cut with a slightly more rectangular outline. The princess cut works beautifully as a solitaire but also looks great paired with side stones, especially trillions or smaller princess-cut diamonds. It is important to protect the more vulnerable corners with a V-shaped prong at each point.


Diamond The marquise cut is a regal, elongated shape with tapering points at both ends. Its shape tends to flatter the finger, making it appear longer. When choosing a marquise cut, the length-to-width ratio should be considered. Usually a ratio of 2:1.0 is preferred, meaning that the length of the stone should be about 2 times the width of the diamond. However, like all fancy shapes, personal preference prevails, and some may prefer a shorter, wider outline or longer, thinner shape. Just look for good symmetry to ensure overall beauty no matter what outline you prefer. This shape works in a simple solitaire setting or looks beautiful with side stones, especially baguette or trillion shapes. A marquise-cut diamond should be mounted with six prongs: four positioned on the sides to hold the body of the stone securely and two V-shaped prongs to protect the points at either end, the most vulnerable part of the diamond.


emerald shape diamond The emerald-cut diamond is among the most classic of diamond shapes. Its clean lines come from step-cutting, or parallel line facets. It is always cut with blocked corners and is usually cut to a rectangular outline, although a few are cut to be more square. Because of its simpler faceting structure, larger inclusions are sometimes more visible to the unaided eye, so diamonds cut in this shape usually need to be higher clarity (I1 or I2 clarities should probably be avoided). Length-to-width ratios should be considered when choosing an emerald cut: Usually a 1.50:1.00 ratio is preferred, meaning that the length of the stone should be about 1½ times the width of the diamond. However, like all fancy shapes, personal preference prevails, and some may prefer a squarer outline, or longer, thinner rectangle. An emerald cut is loved by purists and looks especially wonderful set in platinum, in a simple setting or a baguette side-stone setting.


radiant shape diamond The radiant cut is a beautiful combination of the classic emerald cut and the sparkle of the round brilliant. The radiant cut is similar to the princess cut but is usually (though not always) a more rectangular outline and has blocked corners like those of an emerald cut. The cutting is a combination of the step-cutting of the emerald-cut diamond with some triangular faceting of the brilliant cut. The radiant cut is dramatic as a solitaire but also looks great paired with side stones such as baguettes, trillions, or princess shapes. A radiant-cut stone should be set with special prongs to hold the blocked corners securely.


pear shape diamond The pear shape is a beautiful, feminine diamond shape with a rounded end on one side and a tapering point at the other. It is lovely as the center stone in a ring or outstanding as a pendant or pair of drop earrings. As with many fancy shapes, length-to-width ratio should be considered. Usually a ratio of 1.5:1.0 is preferred, meaning that the length of the stone should be about 1½ times the width of the diamond. Some may prefer a shorter, wider outline or a longer, thinner shape. Good symmetry is a must for pear-cut diamonds. This will ensure that light is reflected evenly, especially in the point. The asymmetrical shape should be considered when setting a pear cut, which looks beautiful as a solitaire, or with side stones, especially smaller pear-cut stones or baguettes. A pear-shaped diamond should be mounted in a special setting with five prongs: two to hold the rounded end, two to hold the curved sides of the stone securely, and one V-shaped prong to protect the point at the other end, the most vulnerable part of the diamond.


oval shape diamond The oval cut is most similar a round-brilliant cut and combines the round’s sparkle with a flattering, elongated outline. It makes a good choice for someone who wants a unique shape but loves the fire and brilliance of a round diamond. The length-to-width ratio of ovals can vary based on personal preference. Generally a ratio of 1.5:1.0 is preferred, meaning that the length of the stone should be about 1½ times the width of the diamond. However, like all fancy shapes, personal choice should guide you; some may prefer a shorter, wider outline or a longer, thinner shape. The relatively symmetrical shape lends itself well to a variety of mounting styles. Most oval cuts look great in any mounting meant for a round brilliant as long as the setting that holds the diamond has six prongs properly spaced for security.


heart shape diamond The heart-shaped diamond is the most romantic of diamond shapes. It is similar to the pear shape but has a cleft in the rounded end that forms the lobes of the heart. The complexity of the shape requires skilled cutting to ensure proper brilliance. Symmetry is a big consideration for this shape, as the outline needs to have a pleasing, obvious heart outline apparent in the setting. The lobes should be rounded (not pointed) and clearly defined. Heart-shaped diamonds should be mounted in special settings with five prongs: two at the lobes of the heart, two on the sides of the heart, and a V-shaped prong to protect the point of the heart, the most vulnerable place on the diamond.

How to Close the Deal

Posted by admin on October 17, 2008
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Now that you’ve chosen whether you are going to buy online or from a local retailer, please read the appropriate last minute tips on how to close the deal:

Local Retailer of Diamonds

  • Ask the retailer to put the quality, grade and value of the stone in writing. If he won’t do it, go somewhere else or buy your diamond online from a trusted retailer.
  • Ask the retailer if you can take a closer look at the diamond under a diamond scope at 10X power, the power at which the diamond industry reviews the stones.
  • If the retailer is selling you a “SI” (slightly included) or a “VSI” (very slightly included) diamond, you should definitely not be able to see ANY inclusions or imperfections when viewed in a face-up position. If you can see some inclusions, the retailer can’t be trusted. Go somewhere else, or buy your diamond online and make sure that he sets YOUR diamond on HIS setting (which you like!)
  • ALWAYS pay with your credit card. If there’s a problem, you can easily get the charge reversed. If you paid cash, you won’t have many options in case of a problem.

Online Retailer of Diamonds

  • Deal only with large online retailers of certified diamonds.
  • Make sure they offer a 100% risk free delivery through FedEx or UPS.
  • Make sure they offer a 100% risk free 30 days returns policy.
  • Again, deal only with online retailers which offer certified diamonds by a well known grading company such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or AGS.

Diamonds Frequently Asked Questions

Posted by admin on October 16, 2008
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What is a Diamond ?

A loose diamond (diamond seperated from a ring) or single diamond is a form of carbon that crystallizes in the crystal system of highest symmetry known as the cubic system born hundreds of miles underneath the surface of the earth. It possesses a hardness far surpassing that of any other substance known in nature with 100 years in the making of its formation. Diamonds were formed more than 100 million years ago when diamond-bearing ore was brought to the surface through volcanic eruption. After the magma cooled, it solidified into blue ground, or kimberlite, where the precious rough is still found today.

The durability of a gem depends on both its hardness and toughness. Diamond, although highest on the scale of hardness (rated 10 on the Mohs scale), is not as tough as some gems because of its good cleavage. (Cleavage is the tendency of a diamond to split in certain directions where the carbon atoms are furthest apart.) Diamonds have a very high degree of transparency, refractivity and dispersion or ‘fire’ which gives rise in cut diamonds to a high degree of brilliancy and a display of prismatic colors. A diamond’s fiery brilliance makes it cherished above all other gemstones by the majority of people. Diamonds occupy a position of incomparable demand.

What is an “Ideal Cut”?

The original “Ideal Cut” was created by gem cutter Marcel Tolkowsky in 1919.

While Tolkowsky’s original theories presented only one particular combination of proportions for creating the best balance of brilliance and dispersion, today the American Gemological Society recognizes any diamond falling within a narrow range of proportions and finish quality as being an “Ideal Cut” (also called an “AGS 0″ or “AGS triple zero”).

In addition, most jewelers now use the term “ideal” to describe any diamond with an exceptionally fine make, whether the diamond is graded by AGS or not.

Where Do Diamonds Come From ?

Diamonds are made up of pure carbon atoms that exist deep in the ground, exposed to intense heat and pressure over billions of years. Over time, this pressure builds up and forces the diamonds and rocks up toward the surface in a volcanic-like explosion. The explosion creates a very deep, wide hole called a “pipe” into which most of the diamonds settle; these deposits of diamonds are known as primary deposits. Other diamonds are washed away by water or erosion, and often settle into the coastal waters of nearby bodies of water; these are alluvial deposits. These deposits occur in many places around the globe; however, the largest commercial deposits exist in Angola, Australia, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Russia and Zaire, which produce 80% of the world’s diamonds.

Walking through the aisle of a jewelry store, you may not think diamonds are especially rare. But consider this: 250 tons (500,000 pounds) of ore must be mined and processed to produce just one carat of rough diamond. Since a rough diamond typically loses 40% to 60% of its weight when cut, that means that all these efforts are necessary to produce just one of the .50 carat polished diamonds you find in the store’s display counters. When you also consider the fact that only about one quarter of all rough diamonds are actually suitable for gem cutting, you can begin to appreciate the rarity and uniqueness of each diamond.

A quick, fun fact: The first diamond deposits were brought to the surface of the earth approximately 2.5 billion years ago. The most recent deposits are roughly 50 million years old. Your diamond is a truly unique piece of history.

Is a Diamond a Good Investment ?

The answer depends on whether you are investing in the diamond itself, or in what a diamond represents.

Diamond prices have been steadily increasing for the past 20 years, and diamonds tend to hold their value. Given this, it is extremely unlikely that diamonds will ever entirely lose their value, in spite of how the market may change in the future. However, no one can predict, with absolute certainty, which way the market will swing and, in general, we do not recommend buying up high-quality diamonds as a main part of a financial/retirement plan.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a source of beauty and a symbol of eternity and everlasting love, there are few objects you can choose that will surpass a diamond’s perfection. Diamonds have inflamed man’s passions since the first moment at which they were discovered, and their power over our emotions and desires has only grown since then. As a timeless and beautiful gift to yourself or as an emblem of your commitment to another, a diamond is an excellent investment.

What Is The Difference Between a Certified Diamond and a Non-Certified Diamond ?

There is no physical difference between a diamond that is certified and one that is not. A certificate does not change the nature of a diamond in any way. The difference between a certified and an uncertified diamond is that, with the certified diamond, you have tangible, legal assurances as to the particular nature and quality of the diamond you are purchasing.

A certified diamond comes with a diamond grading report guaranteed by an accredited gem lab. This report assures the customer that the diamond is independently recognized as possessing all the qualities specified by that report. Most diamonds are graded by either GIA or AGS. In contrast, an uncertified diamond is not accompanied by a diamond grading report, and therefore its stated quality is based only on the word of the seller. An uncertified diamond is not necessarily a bad diamond; certainly, it can be as beautiful as its certified counterpart. However, we encourage you to buy certified diamonds for the following reasons:

Shopping for certified diamonds allows you to make an informed choice about your selections, and to comparison-shop. You can compare one diamond with a particular weight and quality with other diamonds of similar weight and quality to determine which offers the better value. With uncertified diamonds, it is difficult to determine whether the quality assessments of one jeweler will be as stringent and precise as the judgments of other jewelers; that is, not all jewelers may agree about the quality of an uncertified diamond.

A diamond grading report adds value to a diamond. The quality assessments made by independent labs, such as GIA or AGS, are recognized worldwide. These quality assessments are used by appraisers to determine the insurance or replacement value of your diamond. If you purchase an uncertified diamond, there is no guarantee that the appraiser will appraise your diamond at the same level at which the jeweler who sold it to you did. A quick note on how reports from various independent labs compare with one another: GIA and AGS are considered the industry leaders, and the final word on gem quality, among diamond dealers worldwide. While plenty of other independent labs exist, some are a bit lax in their assessments of diamond quality and do not command the same respect for consistency and quality of grading that GIA and AGS do. For this reason, if you are in the market for a diamond, make an effort to buy only GIA- or AGS-graded diamonds.

A diamond grading report adds an increased comfort-level to your purchase. Because the quality of your purchase has been independently verified, you can feel assured that you have made a wise purchase and that you have received exactly what you have paid for.


Yes and no. It is safe if the diamond jeweler uses insured carriers (e.g., FedEx and UPS) to ship its packages and all shipments are insured for the full value of their contents.

Before buying a diamond online, find out what the store’s policy is in case of lost shipments. A professional diamond jeweler should have no objection to providing either a replacement or a refund.

Diamonds Complete Glossary

Posted by admin on October 16, 2008
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This Diamond Glossary is presented to you by The Canadian Diamond Buying Guide

4Cs, 4C’s The four main quality aspects for consumers to consider when buying diamonds

58 There are 58 facets on a round brilliant cut diamond, including the culet.

100 Points 100 points = 1 carat.

Adamas The word diamond comes from the ancient Greek word adamas (αδαμας), meaning unconquerable.

Angle/Angles To achieve maximum brilliance, there are many angles which are important in diamond cutting. Angles determine proportion.

Baguette A rectangular or oblong step or trap cut used for diamonds and other gemstones.

Balance A diamond balance is any scale or balance specially designed for weighing diamonds, and is calibrated in carats, often with a resolution of 1/1000 of a carat.
Bearded, Bearding Small stress cracks around the girdle caused by bruting (rounding) too quickly or with too much force.

Bezel Generally as rim or sloping side. The bezel facets of a diamond are also known as kite facets.

Black Star of Africa At over 200 carats, this is about the 11th largest diamond in the world.

Black Probably the least attractive colour for diamond, although there seems good demand for treated black diamonds. The main attraction surely being the excellent surface lustre. Black is technically the complete absence of any colour. Many black diamonds have poor surface quality and are probably partially carbonado.

Blue A very rare and valuable colour for diamonds. All natural blue diamonds are type 2b, and contain traces of boron.

Blemish An external mark or imperfection on a diamond, implicitly only slight and capable of being removed.

Blocker, Blocking Diamond cutter who grinds or cuts the first 18 facets being table, culet, and first eight facets on the crown and pavilion. A brillianteer polished the final 40 facets.

Blood Diamond Another name for Conflict Diamond.

Body Colour The colour of light seen through a diamond without any dispersion, usually viewed through the side of a stone. A diamond’s actual colour.

Brilliance The brightness and sparkle of a diamond, not to be confused with its fire or dispersion.

Brilliant Cut A diamond cut using modern facetting layouts, as described by Tolkowsky and others, with 58 facets. Normally round, but there are modified variants in other shapes.

Brown Attractive or vivid brown diamonds are rare, and classed as fancy coloured, slightly brownish stones (off-white) are slightly less common than slightly yellow, and offer reasonably priced alternatives to colourless stones.

Canada Diamond prospecting started in Canada in the 1960’s or earlier, kimberlite was found in the 1990’s, and the first commercial mine opened in 1991. Canada now produces over 12 million carats annually worth over $2 billion according to some sources.

Canary Popular name for a vivid fancy yellow diamond.

Carat, Carats Defines and explains the terms carat and carats as applied to diamonds other gemstone and gold alloys.

Carat Weight The weight of diamonds is measured in carats, a metric carat being a fifth of a gram.

Carbon Diamonds are composed entirely, or almost entirely, of carbon.

Carbon Spot A misnomer. As diamonds are composed almost entirely of carbon, any black spots in them are unlikely to be carbon.

Carbonado Imperfectly or partially crystalised diamond.

Cavity A hole or void in a diamond or other gemstone, either internal or extending to the surface. Internal cavities may naturally contain gas, liquid, solid, a combination of two or three of these, and there may be phase changes depending on ambient temperature.

Certificated A diamond which has been graded and certified or certificated by a gemmological laboratory.

Certificates, Certification
Documents issued by gem labs attesting the genuineness and stating the quality of a diamond or other gemstone.

Certified A diamond which has been laboratory graded, and certified as to quality. We offer certified diamonds for sale.

The clearness, purity, absence, or presence of inclusions in a diamond.

Clean An word used informally to mean flawless, or at least to infer flawlessness.

Cloud Area with many microscopically small inclusions but which impair clarity.

Some low clarity diamonds with significant cloudy or milky areas get sold to consumers with a limited knowledge.

Color, Colour
One of the 4 C’s affecting diamond quality and price. Colourless gets promoted as the best, but only because other attractive colours are extremely rare.

Colorimeter A proprietary machine for grading diamond colour.

Fancy coloured diamonds are rare, attractive and valuable.

Colourless, Colorless What most people describe as white. Promoted as being the best “colour”, mainly because real colours are so rare that there is little point promoting them.

Critical Angle The angle of incidence of light measured from the normal (90%) beyond which Total Internal Reflection will occur. From diamond to air, this is a very low figure of 24.4°.

Crown The top part of a diamond, above the girdle.

Crown Angle The angle between the girdle and the crown of a diamond (taken as the kite facets).

Crown Height The height or depth of the top part of a diamond, above the girdle.

Crystal A diamond is a large single crystal of carbon.

Cut One of the four C’s of diamond quality. Also a portion of a diamond parcel split at a random point rather than by selection. Used when a buyer wishes to buy a smaller parcel than is being offered by the seller.

Cuts Glass That fact that diamond will cut glass is often cited, by the less knowledgeable, as some kind of proof that something is diamond. A claim often made by snake oil salesmen and other charlatans selling imitations and attempting to impress potential mugs punters customers.

Cutter One who cuts or polished diamonds.

Cutting The process of cutting, grinding, or polishing rough diamonds into finished goods.

Deep Usually meaning a diamond which has been cut too deep which maximises weight, but sacrifices brilliance. Also refers to deep mines.

Depth The height of a diamond from top to bottom, table to culet.

Density Density is defined as the ratio of the mass of an object to its volume. The density of diamond is 3.52 grams per cubic centimeter.

D, D. Colour D colour denotes colourless on the GIA scale.

Diamond Diamond is an isomer of carbon. The word diamond is often used incorrectly to describe a lozenge shape. The diamond in baseball refers to the infield or the whole pitch, so named because of its lozenge shape.

Diamonds The plural of diamond. Other meaning include the name of one of the four suits in playing cards, the third-highest ranking suit in contract bridge. Diamonds is also the title of a 1975 movie (film) with Robert Shaw and Shelley Winters, and a 1999 movie with Kirk Douglas and Dan Aykroyd.

Durable, Durability Diamond is one of the hardest, toughest, and most durable of substances.

Emerald Cut A square of rectangular shape with cut (mitred) corners, forming an eight sided figure (octagon), and step cut; derives it name because it is the commonest shape of cut for emeralds. Looks glassy, and modern facetting styles such as radiant cut produces more brilliant and attractive stones.

Exceptional White The name of the top colour in the CIBJO colour grading scales, equating to D and E colours in the GIA scale.

Eye Clean No visible inclusions with the human eye, therefore at least SI in clarity.

Facet, Facets The flat surface or planes of a polished diamond.

Fifty Eight Facets The number of facets on a brilliant cut diamond, including the culet.

Finish A word which is loosely used to imply the quality of polish and symmetry on a diamond.

Fissure A crack, gletz, feather, possibly reaching to the surface.

Flaw In inclusion or other feature which is visible or reduces clarity in diamonds or other gems.

Flawless Without any inclusions or features adversely affecting clarity.

Fluorescence Often mis-spelt as flourescence by those who should know better. The emission of visible light displayed by some diamonds and other gems when viewed in ultra-violet or other light. Cause frequent concern by consumers on discovering that one diamond or more in a cluster glow under “disco” lighting.

Four Cs
The four well-known factors affecting the price of a diamond.

Full Cut With 58 facets, i.e. usually a brilliant cut, and usually round.

GIA, G.I.A. The Gemological Institute of America. Styles itself as the world’s leading authority on diamonds and other gemstones. Market leader for diamond and gem certificates by virtue of its location and size.

Girdle The widest part of most diamonds, the middle between the crown and pavilion. May be rough (matt), polished or facetted. Even if facetted, it is only counted as one facet.

Girdle Facet Any of the facets adjacent to the girdle on a brilliant cut or other diamond, split into upper (crown) girdle facets, and lower (pavilion) girdle facets.

Gold Yellow precious metal used in most jewellery in various alloys.

Golden Jubilee The largest faceted diamond in the world, weighing 545.67 carats.

Grade A recognised measure of an aspect of quality, mainly clarity and colour, but can also be applied to proportion and other aspects.

Grading The process of appraising a diamond, and allocating grades to it.

Green A rare colour of diamond.

Grit Small pieces of rough diamond, used as industrial abrasives, may be natural or synthetic.

Hue An aspect of colour, important factor in viewing and grading fancy coloured diamonds.
I1, I2, I3, Included, Imperfect I1, I2, and I3 are all grades in the GIA clarity scale.

Ideal, Ideal Cut Theoretically perfect cutting proportions for (round brilliant cut) diamonds. Exact specifications vary. Many mathematical models ignore girdle thickness.

Inclusion An internal feature or imperfection which reduces the clarity or brilliance of a diamond.

Internally Flawless, IF, I.F. A clarity grade which allows for naturals or other surface features or imperfections.

Investment Although a diamond purchase may prove to become a good investment. Our advice is to buy diamonds for the pleasure they invoke by their ownership and use. Because diamonds are not a homogenous commodity, the secondary market in them is not particularly liquid, compared with that for any other commodity.

Karat, Karats, Karat Weight Karat is the American spelling of carat, although it appears to be used more in respect of gold alloys, whereas the English spelling carat is often used relating to the weight of diamonds or other gemstones.

Light Because of its high dispersion and refractive index, diamond handles light in a characteristic way.

Light Yellow A grade of fancy yellow diamond.

Light, Standard For viewing and appraising diamonds, a standardised light source is desirable. There are lamps which are sold as diamond lights, and at least one specification a standardised light source, and colour temperature.

Loose Unmounted diamond.

Lower Girdle Facet A diamond facet adjacent to and below the girdle (on the pavilion).

Luminescence Some diamonds luminesce (emit light) when exposed to sunlight or other ultraviolet-light sources. The light the diamonds emit is usually light blue, but yellow, orange, and red luminescence occurs in some stones.

Lustre, Luster The lustre of a diamond is its highly reflective surface sheen due to its high refractive index combined with the highly polished surfaces.

Main Facets The first sixteen facets to be ground onto rough diamonds, apart from the table and culet, also the main pavilion facets (the first eight on the pavilion).

Mauve A colour description used for certain pinkish purple diamonds.

Needle A thin, sharp looking inclusion in a diamond.

Octagon, Octagonal See ‘Emerald Cut’, and ‘Radiant Cut’.

Old Cut Any cut, usually round, predating the modern brilliant cut in style.

One Carat A weight of one fifth of a gram. Any diamond of this weight.

Orange A rare fancy colour of diamond.
Oval A fancy shape of diamond, usually a modified brilliant cut.

P1, P2, P3, Piqué, First, Second, Third Clarity grades of diamond in descending order, The American equivalents are I1, I2, I3. In a piquéd stone, the inclusion or inclusions would be visible to the human eye.

Pavilion The lower part of a diamond, below the girdle.

Pavilion Angle The angle between the main pavilion facets and the girdle. In diamond cutting and proportion, this is the single most important dimension, and should be around 40.75° to 41°.

Pavilion Facet Any of the facets on the pavilion of a diamond, but usually referring to the main pavilion facets, as distinct from the lower girdle facets.

Perfect, Perfection Only D colour and flawless diamonds should be described as perfect. It is our view that perfection is illusory or elusive, as “perfect” diamonds viewed under 20 times magnification instead of 10 times, would probably reveal tiny features or imperfections.

Phosphorescence Some diamonds and other gemstones and minerals continue to glow or emit visible light for a period of time after exposure to visible, ultra-violet or other light, after the light source has been removed.

Photoluminescence The emission of visible light by a diamond due to the incidence of light of a different wavelength, including fluorescence and phosphorescence.

Pink One of the rarest and most desirable colours for diamond.

Point A weight of one hundredth of a carat, written as 0.01 cts. The name of an old basic cut. Any sharp meeting place of three or more facets, such as a corner, or a closed culet; forms a weak point in polished diamonds, as a sharp blow to a point could easily cause the diamond to cleave (break).

Polish, Polished, Polishing In diamond manufacturing, polishing can refer to the grinding of facets onto a partially made rough diamond, but more particularly the later stages of brillianteering.

Polished Girdle A girdle which had been finely ground to a polished finish instead of the older and simpler matt finish left by bruting.

Polish Lines Faint surface lines visible either as a result of imperfect polishing, or of grain lines in the diamond.

Princess A square or near square (oblong) diamond, which has been facetted in a brilliant cut style rather than a step cut.

Proportion The consideration of the overall shape of a diamond taking each part in relation to all other parts. An important quality element for diamonds.

Proportionscope A proprietary piece of equipment for assessing, demonstrating, and measuring the proportions of diamonds, and comparing them with ideal.

Purity Another word for clarity.

Purple A very rare and attractive fancy diamond colour.

Quartz Sometimes used a an imitation or simulant for diamond, particularly the transparent colourless form known as rock crystal.

Radiant Cut Radiant cuts combine the best of brilliant cuts, with a square emerald cut outline.

Red One of the rarest, and most desirable colours for diamond.

Rough Rough is the word used to describe all uncut or unpolished diamonds.

Semi Precious, Semi-Precious An expression traditionally used to describe gemstones other than the “big four” of diamond, ruby, sapphire, and emerald, so would include opal, pearl, amethyst an more. CIBJO and others have advised that its use be discontinued, and all gemstones be termed “precious”, a recommendation which has been almost universally ignored.

Set The process of securing a diamond or other gem into a piece of jewellery is known as setting it.

Setter Person who puts diamonds or other gems into jewellery mounts.

Setting The process of fixing a gemstone into a mount to create a piece of jewellery. A setting is a word used by consumers to describe what a jeweller would call a mount. The word setting is sometimes used in referring to a collet.

Shape A word often used interchangeably with “cut”, although the two have different meanings. Shape should refer to the basic outline type, such as round, oval, square, princess, radiant, cushion, oblong, emerald, baguette, pear.

Shapes A term used when sorting rough diamonds. “Shapes” are unbroken crystals, but of less regularity than “stones”.

Single Cut Confusingly, another name for eight cut diamonds, with 18 facets.

Single Refraction Diamond is normally singly refractive, many gemstones are doubly refractive (bi-refringent), and diamonds can also be doubly refractive because of internal strain or inclusions.

Slight Inclusions, SI, SI1, SI2 A clarity grade used by GIA and others, an SI stone should not have inclusions visible to the human eye.

SI3 A clarity grade between SI2 and P1 (I1), not recognised as yet by the GIA, but in use by EGL and Rapaport, plus most of the wholesale diamond trade.

Small Slightly variable term used to describe size ranges of polished diamonds, usually meaning any weight under about 0.08 cts (8 points).

Solitaire A ring or other piece of jewellery containing a single diamond, or sometimes a single major diamond with smaller diamonds as embellishments.

Spotted A clarity grade below P3 (I3), now in danger of become obsolete, as P3 appears to have been extended to include lower grades.

Spread The diameter of a diamond or the normal weight equivalent assuming ideal proportions. Also used to describe a diamond which is cut too shallow, and therefore “spreads” more than it weighs.

Star A fancy shape of polished diamond. A facet name. Small polished diamonds, usually under about one point (0.01 cts) each.

Star Facet One of the eight facets adjacent to the table on a brilliant cut diamond, so called because they from an eight pointed star when viewed from above.

Stars Small polished diamonds, usually under about one point (0.01 cts) each.

Step Cut A traditional method of facetting square, emerald and other shapes, the facets are in the form of sloping “steps”, these cuts fail to capture most of the potential brilliance of diamonds, and will almost certainly be largely superseded by modified brilliant styles of cutting.

Stone, Stones A general word for any gemstone including diamond. Also a shape grade used when sorting rough diamonds. A “stone” is an unbroken crystal of regular formation.

Sunflower Cut One of a number of “flower cuts” developed by Gaby Tolkowsky in about 1997 for De Beers.

Table Facet The top and largest facet on most diamonds including brilliant cuts.

Thermoluminescence The property of diamonds and other materials to emit light when heated.

Thickness Usually describing a girdle, and often expressed as a percentage of the height or depth of the diamond, often using relative terms such as “medium”.

Tone An aspect of colour, important in grading fancy coloured diamonds.

Top The part of the diamond above the pavilion, correctly called the “crown”. Also a modifier used in descriptive colour grading systems, meaning better than or in the upper range of , e.g. top silver cape.

Top Light Brown A relatively lightly coloured brownish diamond, often bordering on white.

Transparent, Transparency Ideally, a diamond should be completely transparent, any opacity is undesirable.

Trap Cut Also known as step cut. A traditional way to cut rectangular, octagonal or other non-round diamonds, including emerald cuts. Looses brilliance compared with more modern brilliant cut styles.

Uncut Uncut diamonds are usually referred to as “rough”. It applies to all unpolished diamonds.

Unpolished Unpolished diamonds are usually referred to as “rough”. It applies to all uncut diamonds.

Unmounted A diamond which is loose, not set in a piece of jewellery.

Upper Girdle Facet Any of the sixteen facets on the crown (top), adjoining the girdle of a diamond.

VS, V.S., Very Slight Inclusions, VS1, VS2 Clarity grade for diamonds, between VVS and SI.

VVS, V.V.S., Very Very Slight Inclusions, VVS1, VVS2 Clarity grade for diamonds, just below Internally Flawless (I.F.)

Weight, Weights The weigh of any diamond is normally expressed in carats.

White When we rather lazily refer to diamonds as white, we actually mean colourless.

Yellow Most diamonds contain nitrogen which gives them a slight yellow tinge. More intense yellow diamonds are considered as fancy coloured, making them rare and valuable.

Zircon Rare, natural blue gemstone. Do not confuse it with Cubic Zirconia.

Zirconia Usually referring to Cubic Zirconia.