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Diamond 4C's

Diamond education is crucial to finding a beautiful diamond. The educated consumer will understand the basics of carat, color, clarity, and cut. These diamond tutorials are designed to lead the consumer down the path of higher diamond knowledge.

Understanding the diamonds value factors is crucial to buying the best diamond for your budget. Compromising between the various grades to select the ideal combination of diamond carat, color, clarity, and cut.

First, don't confuse diamond "cut" with "shape." Shape refers to the general outward appearance of the diamond, (such as round, emerald, or pear). When a diamond jeweler (or a diamond certificate) says, "cut," that's a reference to the diamond's reflective qualities, not the shape (or at least it should be, we have found that even some "jewelers" don't appear to know the difference between "cut" and "shape").

Diamond cut is perhaps the most important of the four Cs, so it is important to understand how this quality affects the properties and values of a diamond. A good cut gives a diamond its brilliance, which is that brightness that seems to come from the very heart of a diamond. The angles and finish of any diamond are what determine its ability to handle light, which leads to brilliance.

When a diamond is well cut, light enters through the table and travels to the pavilion where it reflects from one side to the other before reflecting back out of the diamond through the table and to the observer's eye. This light is the brilliance we mentioned, and it's this flashing, fiery effect that makes diamonds so mesmerizing.

  • Ideal Cut
  • Fine Cut
  • Shallow Cut
  • Deep Cut

It's easy to see that the deep-cut diamond shown above will have a higher carat weight, but is clearly the less desirable stone! Many jewelers will not discuss cut proportions unless the customer specifically asks; a stone rich in carat weight but poorly proportioned can be deeply "discounted," giving the buyer a false impression of a great deal.

In a poorly cut diamond, the light that enters through the table reaches the facets and then 'leaks' out from the sides or bottom of the diamond rather than reflecting back to the eye. Less light reflected back to the eye means less brilliance.


Gemologists agree that the best cut diamonds are those that follow a set of formulae calculated to maximize brilliance. These formulae can be seen in a diamond's proportions, most importantly how the depth compares to the diameter, and how the diameter of the table compares to the diameter of the diamond.

However, the variance in the proportions between an Ideal Cut and a Poor Cut can be difficult to discern by the casual observer.

Because cut is so important, several grading methods have been developed to help consumers determine the cut of a particular diamond. In general, these grades are:

Selecting the grade of cut is really a matter of preference. To make the best selection, you need to understand the various grades. Please note that the descriptions below are general guidelines.

Ideal Cut
Gemologists agree that the best cut diamonds are those that follow a set of formulae calculated to maximize brilliance. These formulae can be seen in a diamond's proportions, most importantly how the depth compares to the diameter, and how the diameter of the table compares to the diameter of the diamond.

However, the variance in the proportions between an Ideal Cut and a Poor Cut can be difficult to discern by the casual observer.

Because cut is so important, several grading methods have been developed to help consumers determine the cut of a particular diamond. In general, these grades are:

In the case of round diamonds, many Premium Cut diamonds have cuts that are the equal of any Ideal Cut diamond, though they often can be purchased at slightly lower prices than AGS Ideal Cuts. They are intended to provide maximum brilliance and fire. Like the Ideal Cut, these are also for the person who enjoys knowing that he has one of the finest things that money can buy.

Very Good
These diamonds reflect most of the light that enters them, creating a good deal of brilliance. With these diamonds, the cutters have chosen to stray slightly from the preferred diamond proportions in order to create a larger diamond. The result is that these diamonds fall slightly outside of some customers' preferences in terms of, for example, table size or girdle width, though, in many cases many of the parameters of diamonds in this range will overlap with certain parameters of diamonds in the Ideal or Premium ranges. Generally, the price of these diamonds in slightly below that of Premium cuts.

Diamonds that reflect much of the light that enters them. Their proportions fall outside of the preferred range because the cutter has chosen to create the largest possible diamond from the original rough crystal, rather than cutting extra weight off to create a smaller Premium quality diamond. Diamonds in this range offer an excellent cost-savings to customers who want to stay in a budget without sacrificing quality or beauty.

Fair & Poor

A diamond graded as fair or poor reflects only a small proportion of the light that enters it. Typically these diamonds have been cut to maximize the carat weight over most other considerations. Most of these types of cut diamonds can be found in retail mall jewelry stores.

Diamond Shapes

Ring Sizing

Convert your ring size to the ring size used in other countries.
USA size Diam. inch. Diam. mm Circum. mm

British French German Japanese Swiss

Select a ring size in one category, the rest will change to match.

How to determine your ring size
  • Wrap a piece of string or a strip of paper around your finger.
  • Mark the point where the two ends meet.
  • Measure the string or paper against a ruler to get the circumference of your finger.
  • Divide that by 3.14 to get the diameter of your finger.
  • Look up your ring size using the form above.
Ring Size Finder

View and print our Ring Size Finder PDF



The word gold, used by itself, means all gold or 24 karat (24K) gold. Because 24K gold is soft, it’s usually mixed with other metals to increase its hardness and durability. If a piece of jewelry is not 24 karat gold, the karat quality should accompany any claim that the item is gold. The karat quality marking tells you what proportion of the gold is mixed with other metals. Fourteen karat (14K) jewelry contains 14 parts of gold, mixed in throughout with 10 parts of base metal. The higher the karat rating, the higher the proportion of gold in the piece of jewelry. Most jewelry is marked with its karat quality, although law does not require marking.

Solid Gold refers to an item made of any karat gold, if the inside of the item is not hollow. The proportion of gold in the piece of jewelry is still determined by the karat mark. Jewelry can be plated with gold ion a variety of ways. Gold Plate refers to items that are mechanically plated, electroplated, or plated by any other means with gold to a base metal. Eventually, gold plating wears away, but how soon will depend on how often the item is worn and how thick the plating is. Gold -filled, gold overlay and rolled gold plate are terms used to describe jewelry that has a layer of at least 10 karat gold mechanically bonded to a base metal. If the jewelry is marked with one of these terms, the term or abbreviation should follow the karat quality of the gold used (for example, 14K Gold Overlay or 12K RGP). If the layer of karat gold is less than 1/20th of the total weight of the item, any marking must state the actual percentage of karat gold, such as 1/40 14K Gold Overlay. Gold Electroplate describes jewelry that has a layer (at least .175 microns thick) of a minimum of 10 karat gold deposited on a base metal by an electrolytic process. The terms gold flashed or gold washed describe products that have an extremely thin electroplating of gold (less than .175 microns thick). This will wear away more quickly than gold plate, gold-filled or gold electroplate.


Platinum-a precious metal that costs more than gold-usually mixed with other similar metals, known as the platinum group metals: iridium, palladium, ruthenium, rhodium, and osmium. Different markings are used on platinum jewelry as compared with gold jewelry, based on the amount of pure platinum in the piece. The quality markings for platinum are based on parts per thousand. For example, the marking 900 Platinum means that 900 parts out of 1000 are pure platinum, or in other words, the item is %90 platinum and %10 other metals. The abbreviations for platinum - Plat. or Pt. - also can be used in marking jewelry.

Items that contain at least 950 parts per thousand pure platinum can be marked simply platinum. Items that have at least 850 parts per thousand pure platinum can be marked with the amount of pure platinum and the word platinum or an abbreviation (for example, 950 Platinum, 900 Plat. or 850 Pt.). Jewelry that contains less than 850 parts per thousand pure platinum, but has a total of 950 parts per thousand platinum group metals (of which at least 500 parts is pure platinum), may be marked with both the amount of pure platinum and the amount of other platinum group metals in the piece. For example, the marking 600 Plat. 350 Irid. means that the item has 600 parts per thousand (60%) platinum, and 350 parts per thousand (35%) iridium, totaling 950 parts per thousand of platinum group metals, and 50 parts per thousand (5%) other metals.


The words silver and sterling silver describe a product that contains 92.5% silver. Silver products may sometimes be marked with 925, which mean 925 parts per thousand are pure silver. Some jewelry may be described as silverplate: a layer of silver is bonded to a base metal. The mark coin silver is used for compounds that contain 90% silver.


Diamond Care:

Your diamond holds a lifetime of dreams. So, of course, you’ll want it to always radiate as brilliantly as the first day you slip it on. Fortunately, the task of caring for your diamond is quite simple.

Protecting Your Diamond

Even though diamonds are the hardest substance known to man, a diamond will scratch another diamond. So it is important that jewelry is not stored together since it can be scratched or tangled. Also, diamond jewelry should never be worn while doing heavy work. Points are vulnerable to chipping and even everyday activity can loosen a setting. This is why it’s important to visit our professional jeweler every six months to have your diamond’s mountings and settings checked.

To be sure your diamonds always sparkle, it is important to clean them periodically. Here are some recommended methods.

Professional Steam Cleaning

This is the best option. Included in your purchase is a yearly professional steam cleaning. It’s also important to have your jewelry checked occasionally to make sure prongs haven’t bent or weakened.

Mild Liquid Detergent

Soak your jewelry in a small bowl of warm, sudsy water made with any mild liquid detergent. Gently brush the diamond jewelry with a soft toothbrush while it is in the suds. Then, rinse each piece under warm running water. Pat dry with a soft, lint-free cloth. Make sure to always stopper your sink.

Household Ammonia

Place the jewelry in a small bowl containing a half-and-half solution of ammonia and cold water for thirty minutes. Lift out and gently tap around the front and back of the mounting with a small soft brush. Swish in the solution a second time, rinse and drain on tissue paper.

Jewelry Cleaners

Jewelry Masters recommends THIS cleaning solution. To purchase please click HERE. Follow the instruction given on the label.

Vodka on the Rocks

No one is sure how it was actually discovered, but it is safe to say that at some point someone took the idea of a "vodka on the rocks" literally and discovered an imaginative way to clean their precious diamonds. Simply let the diamond soak in a glass of vodka. Preferably one you do not intend to imbibe.

Setting Guide


The prong is the most popular setting. A prong is a narrow piece of metal that folds over the edge of the gemstone to secure it. A prong setting appears to elevate a stone higher than in other settings, and is used most often with diamond solitaires.

Invisible Set

Invisible setting is relatively new. Calibrated stones with slits are placed into a frame with ridges to hold them in place. No metal appears between any stones. This setting only employs baguettes and princess cuts or a combination of both.

Channel Set

Smaller stones are closely set in a row between two metal walls. No metal appears between the stones. Channel settings often include square and baguette stones. They are frequently used in engagement bands or as side accents to a center stone.

Pavé Set

The word actually comes from the French word to pave because of its paved look. The round stones are patterned very closely together and the only metal visible is what is actually used to hold the stones in place.



The American Gem Society, or AGS. This group is recognized by the jewelry industry as an authority for grading gemstones.


The American Gem Trade Association is recognized in the jewelry industry as an authority for grading gemstones.

Bezel Set

Bezel set is the use of a metal tube that is wrapped around the stone. Metal is pulled down over the stone to hold it.


A flaw, such as a scratch or an abrasion, on the surface of a diamond.


White light reflected up through the surface of a diamond. Brilliance is maximized by cutting a diamond to the correct proportions. See also Fire and Sparkle.

Brilliant Cut

A 58-facet round diamond.


A unit of weight for a diamond, equivalent to 200 milligrams, or 0.2 gram.

Center Stone

The central, dominant stone in a piece of jewelry set with multiple stones. In a ring set with one stone, the center stone is also called the solitaire.


A diamond certificate is a blueprint of the diamond. It describes maps and grades everything about the diamond including proportions, color, clarity, shape, cutting style, carat weight, location, size, and type of inclusions, fluorescence, and other lab comments. It does not state the retail value of the stone. An appraisal is needed to confirm the full market retail value.

Channel Set

Channel set refers to the setting of gemstones in a grooved channel between two bars of metal. The stones are set flush to each other.


A grade given to a diamond to describe how many inclusions are within the diamond. The clarity scale ranges from FL (flawless), meaning a diamond has no internal or external flaws, to I3 (severely included), meaning a diamond has many flaws clearly visible to the naked eye.


An internal imperfection which runs in the direction of the grain of the diamond. It sometimes extends to the surface of the diamond, or is "healed" inside the diamond.


A cluster of microscopic white or crystalline inclusions or pinpoints inside a diamond.


A grade given to a diamond to describe the color tones of the stone. The color scale ranges from D, meaning completely colorless, to Z, fancy yellow. As the scale moves from D to Z, it indicates increasing levels of yellow and brown tone.

Comfort Fit

The rounded finish on the inside of a ring’s band. This design does not pinch the skin of the finger as much as other ring bands and provides comfort for constant wear.


The edges of a gemstone above the girdle and surrounding the table. Colored light escapes through the crown in the form of fire.


A facet on the very bottom of a diamond. If the culet is medium to large, when the diamond is viewed from the table, it will look like there is a hole in the bottom of the stone.


Generally, cut refers to both the shape of a stone (round, marquise, princess cut, oval, etc.) and the proportions and finish of a diamond also known as "make". The make of a stone is the most important factor in determining how much sparkle comes from a diamond.


The height of a diamond (measured from the culet to the table).

Depth %

The height of a diamond (measured from the culet to the table) divided by the width of the diamond. The depth % is critical to creating brilliance and fire in a diamond; a depth % that is too low or too high will cause a diamond to lack sparkle.


European Gemological Laboratory. Widely respected in the trade offering independently grading certificates.


A diamond that has no inclusions visible to the naked eye.


The flat polished surfaces on a diamond. A round brilliant diamond has 58 facets.


A common naturally occurring white feather shaped inclusion, which is not visible to the naked eye.


Colored light reflected from within a diamond. Fire is maximized by cutting a diamond to the correct proportions.


A glow, usually of a bluish color, which emanates from certain diamonds when exposed to ultraviolet light. Faint fluorescence usually does not affect the appearance of a diamond. Strong, very strong and sometimes medium blue fluorescence may slightly improve the color appearance of diamonds rated "H" in color or below (I,J,K etc).


An internal or external imperfection which may have developed three million years ago or last week as a result of trauma (usually a hard impact).


Gemological Institute of America, the single most widely accepted diamond authority. An independent, third-party grading service offering diamond grading certificates.


The outermost edge of a diamond, it can be unpolished, polished, or faceted. Usually where the diamond is held in a setting.


The part of the setting that holds the center stone or solitaire in place.


A naturally occurring imperfection often referred to as a feather, pinpoint or cloud in the diamond that may or may not be visible to the naked eye. Inclusions visible to the naked eye are usually graded SI2 clarity and below.

Invisible Set

Invisible set refers to a particular square cut of stone which has been cut with slats that are fitted into a metal grid formed by the mounting’s undercarriage. Each stone is "snapped" into its rail. Two or more row styles may be fashioned in this manner to emphasize an "all diamond" look. The stones on the outside are usually channel set in the mounting.


The proportions to which a diamond has been cut. A good make will have proportions that maximize the brilliance and fire of a diamond. A poor make will lead to a diamond that has little sparkle due to the inability of the cut to properly reflect light.


Diamonds which weigh less than 1/5 of a carat (20 points) are known as melee. They are usually side diamonds or accent diamonds in a larger piece of jewelry.

Metal, precious

Three metals are generally used in fine jewelry: gold, platinum, and silver.


The unit of measure used to determine a pearl’s diameter, equal to about 0.04 inch.


An external characteristic on or near a diamond’s girdle, a natural is actually an unpolished portion of the "skin" of the rough diamond.

Pavé Set

Pavé set is a two-dimensional form of strip setting in a honeycomb pattern. The stones are patterned very closely together. The metal is pulled up to hold the stones. The only metal visible is what is actually used to hold the stones in place.


The faceted portion of the diamond which is below the girdle.


A very small inclusion inside a diamond.


A weight measure equal to one one-hundredth of a carat. (A 0.50 carat diamond is said to be 50 points.)


A grade given to the external finish of a stone. The polish scale ranges from poor to excellent.

Prong Set

Prong Set is the use of metal wire to hold a gemstone in place by tension. A notch is cut out on the inside of the prong to seat a stone into its place. The prongs are pulled over the top of the stone to hold it.

Ring setting

Collective term for the shank and the head of a ring which contains no center stone.

Ring size

A measurement, generally between 4 and 13, determined by two factors: the diameter of the finger on which the ring will be worn and the knuckle, which the ring must slip over comfortably.


Engagement rings set with only the side stones. The center stone is sold separately to accommodate the individual’s preference in the size, shape, etc. of the stone.


The part of the ring that encircles the finger. Strictly speaking, the shank of the ring does not include the head.

Side stone

A gemstone set alongside, or as part of a group of gemstones encircling a center stone.


A single diamond set in a mounting which shows off the simplicity and elegance of the diamond.


Refers to the brilliance of a diamond or the amount of light which reflects from a diamond. See also brilliance and fire.


The overall uniformity of the cut of a diamond. Graded from poor to excellent, it is based on the diamond’s proportions and the relation of one facet to another. Poor symmetry will hurt the sparkle of a diamond.


The largest facet on a diamond, located on the top of the diamond facing out from the setting.

Table %

The width of the table divided by the total diameter of the diamond. The table % is critical to creating sparkle in a diamond; a table % that is too low or too high will cause a diamond to lack sparkle.