Judging a diamond requires an understanding of the five main specifications of the gemstone: cut, color, clarity, weight and shape. Each diamond is a unique combination of these elements. The price you pay is dependent on the various grades and specifications of your stone.
A diamond’s cut refers to its depth. Shallow cuts and deep cuts tend to lose light as it moves through the stone, reducing the amount of reflected light from the stone, according to DY Jewels. An ideal-cut diamond reflects light throughout the top surface of the stone. The ideal pavilion depth of a stone, which is the overall percentage of the unseen side of the stone located below the crown, is 41.7 to 44.8 percent, placing the majority of the stone within the crown.
Color refers to the relative yellow tint that appears in the stone and is based on a color rating system. Diamond grades D through F are considered perfectly colorless; grades G through J represent near-colorless quality that often appears perfectly colorless when set into yellow gold. Low-grade diamonds are located further down the grading system but are often valued for their distinctive colors.
Diamond clarity is a measure of the presence of imperfections throughout the stone. The highest quality diamonds are rated as flawless (FL) or internally flawless (IF). The presence of some minor flaws constitutes a clarity rating of very slight inclusions (VS). Further clarity grades exist as numbers, representing the range of possible diamond clarities within the grade, according to DY Jewels. For instance, a rank of VS1 represents diamonds that are slightly more perfect than VS2. High-clarity diamonds are usually reserved for expensive pieces, such as engagement rings.
Carat is a weight measurement for a diamond, but this can be very misleading. A deep-cut diamond will appear smaller than an ideal-cut stone of the same carat weight, and a shallow-cut diamond will appear wider than an ideal-cut one. You must judge the cut and weight of your diamond simultaneously to ensure that you purchase the diamond best suited for your preferences.
Diamonds are available in multiple different shapes, including round, oval, princess, heart and pear. Your diamond shape is a personal choice but consider the size and shape of your setting before making a final choice of diamond shape.