Diamond Education

Thinking of popping the question, but don’t know where to start?

There is a lot of information out there and the internet can be full of misinformation. If you are going to make an investment in your future together, you should know what you’re purchasing. We’ve compiled a crash course in diamond education for you!

You’ve probably heard of the “4 C’s” but may not know their full meaning. The 4 c’s of diamonds are; cut, color, carat, and clarity. Okay, but that’s not enough, is it? You could walk into a diamond store today and if you don’t know what to look for in each of those categories, you could walk out with something not worth what you paid. Let’s take a look at what each of those means to you when buying a diamond,


A diamond’s cut refers to the proportion of the diamond as well as its polish and symmetry. A properly cut diamond will show off its brilliance, which is the interior polished diamond and the different facets of the surface allowing the light’s reflection.

A diamond’s proportion is defined by the size and shape of the facets, as well as the angle. To assist consumers in determining if a diamond has a good cut, a grading system has been established. A number of established groups have developed standards in grading the cut of a diamond. Generally speaking, the range goes from “poor” to “excellent”. Here at Mark’s Diamonds we only carry “excellent” cut diamonds.


Or should we say “lack thereof”, as the color of a diamond actually refers to the lack of color of the diamond. Trace amounts of nitrogen that are present during the diamond’s formation causes slight amounts of yellow, gray, or brown hues to form in the diamond. Diamonds that have less of these hues (or colors) are considered more rare and thus have a higher value.

When a diamond has less color, it’s brilliance and fire (the colorful flashes of light) are more prominent. These diamonds will then be given a higher color grade, which actually means less color. Diamond color ranges from D (colorless) all the way to Z. Typically, you want to stay within the D to G range. However, each diamond is unique and different.


The clarity of a diamond defines the cleanliness, or clearness, present. During the diamond’s formation, natural and unique microscopic attributes are trapped within, this is often known as feathers – or small cracks – these attributes are referred to as ‘inclusions’. Inclusions can appear to be white and cloudy or black. Outer attributes are referred to as blemishes.

The clarity of the diamond will measure the size, amount, and location of internal ‘inclusions,’ as well as external ‘blemishes.’ The clarity grades are assigned as ‘flawless,’ with almost no imperfections, to ‘included,’ which contain a number of imperfections visible to the naked eye.
It is a misconception that you need a ‘flawless’ diamond in order to have a high quality stone. There are grades VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2 that appear to be “flawless” from the naked eye.


The diamond’s carat refers to the weight of the diamond, basically the higher the weight, the more pricey the diamond is. Many people think that they can tell the weight of a diamond by its size, but a smaller diamond can have more weight than a larger one based on its cut.


Fluorescence is the emission of a soft-colored glow that a diamond emits when exposed to an ultraviolet light. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has found that 25 to 30 percent of diamonds have a fluorescence at some level and consumers should not consider it a major factor in making a decision to purchase a diamond. They do offer a word of caution that if the diamond has a strong, or very strong, fluorescence as this will indicate the diamonds don’t have enough body color.


First and foremost, you have to consider what your budget is before making a purchase. Your budget is going to depend on what the diamond is for. If it’s an engagement ring or wedding bands, your budget will be different from buying a pair of diamond earrings or a necklace.

Next, you’ll need to decide on the shape of the diamond. For engagement rings, you’ll want to listen to the hints of your fiancé, but if you’ve been given none then you should consider the types of other rings she wears. Also consider her personality and what diamond shape will look good on her hand. If you’re still unsure, try eliciting some help and advice from a trusted friend.


– the most popular shape, but choose a high quality grade to bring out the most amount of brilliance


– exceptionally brilliant due to their cut, and a color that is very unique. The princess cut shows distinct color in each corner, as well as the center of the diamond. This cut is available in both rectangle and square shapes


– maximizes carat weight by showing off its size through its unique shape


– often called a ‘pillow-cut’ diamond, the diamond is named for its pillow-like shape. This diamond usually has an immaculate brilliance and clarity in appearance due to its larger facets and rounded corners. This cut is available in square and rectangular shapes


– providing an unparalleled visual appearance due to the rectangular facets that are step cut


– features trimmed corners, combining the sharp lines of the emerald cut with the round cut’s brilliance


– a combination of the marquise and round cuts, pear shaped diamonds are uniquely cut to produce the most brilliance


– this cut provides a classic look with a current feel. A popular cut in a variety of jewelry, specifically engagement rings, it provides an immaculate brilliance


– more square than it is rectangular, and is often mistaken for an emerald cut due to the similar cut style

Choosing a Setting:

The next thought you should give when shopping for a diamond is the setting for the diamond. This is important because it will add to the diamond’s appeal and charm. Be sure to consider the wearer’s activity, personality and design preference.


Holds the stone like a claw and generally has 3, 4, or 6 prongs holding the gemstone in place. With the prong style, the diamond’s base (girdle) is more exposed to capture the light. But the downside is that the diamond is also more exposed to receiving damage.


The metal rim of the bezel setting surrounds the diamond from every side and its smooth surface protects the ring as well as other objects. Another popular choice, however, the bezel setting does encircle the diamond which limits its brilliance.


Channel set in a grooved band, this setting is mostly used for wedding bands or as an accent to the larger center stone in the engagement ring. The channel is also good for active lifestyles, due to the lack of sharp angles.


This setting places several small princess cut or round diamonds together like a paved path. Sometimes the pave setting will incorporate small prongs to provide additional strength of the setting. Although flush with the band, the prongs can still catch a thread from fabric.


Asking for a grading report will give you valuable information on the diamond that you, as an amateur couldn’t possibly know, no matter how much research you do. However, you should never make your purchasing decision based solely on the certificate grade. That’s because two different diamonds that look identical and are certified by the same laboratory, are not necessarily going to be equal in value.

You have a trusted jeweler at Mark’s Diamonds. Mark can bring a custom design to life and Mark will stand by his ring and design for its lifetime. At Mark’s Diamonds we have a bench jeweler on staff who is able to help maintain the ring and many repairs can be done same-day. Book your appointment now and ease your mind!


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