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Diamond Shapes

Shape refers to the overall look of a diamond. Diamonds come in a variety of shapes. Shape is not to be confused with Cut, which refers to the proportions of diamonds.

The first step in choosing a diamond is often selecting the preferred shape. The Round Brilliant is by far the most popular shape, and it is the most readily available in every possible quality and size. Below are some pictures of different diamond shapes and their dimensions.

Round Brilliant: 

The most preferred of diamonds, and the only shape not considered "fancy," this shape is very much how it sounds – a  rounded diamond in the shape of a circle. The round brilliant is the classic diamond shape and contains 58 facets including the culet. The round brilliant shape is the most expensive as it is usually possible to retain more carat size by cutting to fancy shapes than cut to a round.

Princess:           
A square cut diamond that has refractive properties almost near round brilliant. The second most popular shape, this squared diamond has only grown in popularity while still being a relatively new shape. The Princess cut is becoming popular because it is both brilliant and unique.

Marquise:          

Long and slender, this shape, originally commissioned by Louis XIV of France, is wonderful for maximizing the carat within the setting. The marquise shape will accentuate the length of the fingers and works well on a person with longer fingers

Emerald:           

A rectangular shaped diamond, this shape is reflective of a classic and aristocratic elegance. The cut corners of an Emerald shape diamond gives stair type resemblance when viewed from the top.

Pear:                 

Mostly used in rings and pendants, the pear shape diamond is shaped in a tear drop shape and has fairly good proportions to refract light well.

Heart:               

Essentially a pear shaped diamond with a cleft at the top, the heart shaped diamond is the ultimate symbol of romance. This shaped diamond is frequently seen in pendants but is more than acceptable as a choice in a ring.

Oval:                  

The oval is similar to the round brilliant but with an elliptical shape. Having a larger surface area, this shape has a very brilliant appeal.

Radiant:             

This square or rectangular shaped diamond does an excellent job of combining the elegant and classic appeal of the Emerald shape with the brilliance of the Round shape.

Asscher:            

This pristine cut is a square with deeply trimmed edges. Asschers are rare and very sought after.

 

The "Five Cs"

Learning about diamonds is first learning about the "Five Cs" of diamonds:

Cut                     Clarity                     Color                     Carat Weight                     Certificates

These are the criteria jewelers use when grading diamonds, and they're the ones you'll need to understand to buy the right diamond for you.


Cut
The cut of a diamond should not be confused with its shape. Shapes are cut from the original rough diamond, and whatever the shape, a well-cut diamond is always better able to reflect light.

The cut of a diamond refers to its proportions. It is one of the most important factors to be considered while choosing your diamond. It is an aspect which is directly influenced by man. The other three are influenced totally by nature.

When a diamond is cut to proper proportions, light is reflected from one facet to another and then dispersed through the top of the stone. Within the well cut standards are the ideal, excellent and very good categories. Other cuts that prevail are good, fair and poor cut.

Ideal / Excellent Cut:
A very rare and an excellent quality of Diamond.
Diamonds with Ideal / Excellent Cut reflect almost all the light that enters the diamond.

Very Good Cut:
The light reflected is nearly same when compared to Ideal / Excellent Cut Diamond, but attracts lower price compared to Ideal / Excellent Cut Diamonds.

Good Cut:
Nearly reflects most light that enters in. Such diamonds are available at a lower cost thereby making it less pricey compared to the Ideal / Very Good cut Diamonds.

Fair Cut:
A fair cut diamond typically reflects small portion of light, still considered to be a better quality diamond. These diamonds have been cut to maximize the carat weight over most other considerations and are considered better value for money.

Poor Cut:
This diamond is generally a diamond that has been cut too deep or too shallow. When this occurs the diamond will lose significant amounts of light. A major benefit of this type of diamond is the price. A diamond that is a poor cut will be significantly lower in price than any other cut grade.

 

Clarity
Clarity refers to the absence or presence of natural inclusion inside or on the surface of a diamond or other gemstone. Clarity is one of the two best-known factors in diamond pricing, along with color. The clarity of a diamond refers to inclusions which can be black, grey or white marks that internally flaw the diamonds appearance. These small imperfections are graded under 10 x magnifications which are the standard to grade diamond clarity.

The entire clarity grid is divided in to several grades:

FL-IF: Internally Flawless. Diamonds falling under this grade have no visible flaws even when examined under 10X magnification. FL-IF diamonds are very rare and attract premium prices.

VVS1–VVS2: Very Very Slightly Included. Diamonds with VVS1 or VVS2 have hardly any inclusions. Any inclusion present are found only under high magnification. These diamonds are rare and exquisite.

VS1–VS2: Very Slightly Included. Minor or very slight inclusions are found under appropriate magnifications. Inclusions are not visible to the unaided eye. Diamonds of VS clarity are of outstanding quality.

SI: Slightly Included. Slight inclusions are easily found under 10x magnifications. At times, diamonds under SI1 and may have minor inclusions visible to the unaided eye. SI diamonds are great value for money.

SI2: Slightly Included Second Degree. Minor inclusions will be visible to unaided eye.

I1: Included. I1 clarity diamonds have inclusions numerous enough or of a nature that can be very easily seen. Diamonds of this clarity represent an incredible value over an SI and higher clarity grades, especially for someone not as sensitive to the presence of inclusions and who wants to maximize size (or weight) of the diamond.

Choosing your perfect Clarity:

If you want perfection regardless of cost - go for IF -VVS
If you want excellent quality without sacrificing appearance - go for VS - SI
If you want a bigger sized diamond and do not want to spend much -- go for I1

 

Color
COLOR in diamond usually refers to the amount of yellow in a stone, but can also indicate brown or gray and sometimes all three. The most treasured diamond color is actually the "colorless" grade -- one without any color at all.

The diamond color scale was devised by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in the mid 1950's to regulate and define the color of diamonds. The GIA proposed starting at D as the best and most colorless diamond available [Why D and not A? well just in case anything better is ever found]. The color scale progresses through the alphabet from D until Z which is the most Yellow in color (excluding fancy).

“D” - Absolutely colorless: These diamonds are very rare and with a very limited supply they demand premium prices. Less than 1% of all diamonds are colorless,which is exceptionally rare.

“E-F” - colorless. Slight color detected by an expert gemologist, but still considered "colorless" grades. These are high-quality diamonds with no noticeable color to naked eye.

“G-H-I” - Near-colorless. G , H and I are the most sought after colors. Classed as near colorless, they are still very white. When compared to a higher color graded diamond there will be a slight noticeable difference, however, they offer fantastic value for money.

“J-K” - Noticeable color. Diamonds in J and K colors are slightly warmer and do command a reduction in price.

“L-Z” - Noticeable color. These diamonds show visible signs of yellow color. These colors are viewed as being poorer quality and there is less demand by the industry and consumers which is a little hard on these natural diamonds. Colors L to Z are fantastic in dress rings, brooches and alternative jewellery but the single solitaire engagement ring demands a better, whiter colored diamond. It is the generally agreed conception that they are not as beautiful as colorless diamonds until they reach a point where the color becomes so evident they become beautiful ‘fancy colors’ which have very high in values (Z+ or Fancy).

Decide on Color:

The color of diamond varies from colorless (most rare and precious) to many shades of yellow (less rare). Slight tints of yellow make a diamond less rare, but some people prefer the personality it gives a stone of good Cut and Clarity.

 

Carat Weight

The word "carat" comes from the ancient practice in India (where diamonds were first discovered and traded) of measuring diamond weights with the one thing in nature that is both small and the most consistent in weight -- the carob seed. Thus the name "carat" evolved in the English language, which is still equivalent to approximately the weight of one carob bean.

A diamonds weight is represented in carats. One Diamond carat is divided into 100 points. A 0.25 carat diamond is the same as a 25 points or 1/4 carat diamond. One carat is the equivalent of 0.2 grams. Carat is often confused with size even though it is actually a measure of weight.


Note: A 2-carat diamond does not appear to be twice the size of a 1-carat diamond when viewed from the top. When diamonds are mined, large gems are discovered much less frequently than small ones, which make large diamonds much more valuable. Weight impacts the price most dramatically out of the various diamond characteristics. This is why some diamonds have poor cut to retain diamond rough and larger carat size equating to a higher selling price

 

Certificates
The diamond certificate, which is sometimes called a grading report, is a complete evaluation of your diamond that has been performed by a qualified professional with the help of special gemological instruments. Each stone bears its own recognizable, individual characteristics, which is listed on the certificate.