## Diamond Carat Weight

### A Look at Diamond Carat Weight

Carat is the term used to express the weight of a diamond, with one carat equaling 200 milligrams of actual weight.

### Carat Abbreviations

• The abbreviation ct is a shortened way to write carat, and refers to the weight of a single diamond.
• The abbreviation ct TW means carat total weight, and is used to express the total weight of multiple diamonds used in a piece of jewelry.

### Carat Weight vs. Size

Carat weight is used as a measure for other gemstones, but different gems of the same weight aren’t necessarily the same size, because some gemstones are more dense than others–meaning that they pack more weight into a smaller space.

### Weight of Small Diamonds

The weight of smaller diamonds is often expressed as points, not carats. There are 100 points in a carat. Another way to look at it is to say that each point equals 0.01, or one-hundredth, of a carat.

Point Examples

• 0.05 means five one-hundredths, so a 0.05 carat diamond equals five points.
• 0.25 means twenty-five one-hundredths, so a 0.25 carat diamond equals twenty-five points–or one quarter of a carat.

### How Carat Weight Affects Value

Larger diamonds are more rare and in more demand than smaller diamonds of the same quality, so they can be sold for a higher price. A one carat diamond solitaire ring is nearly always more expensive than a diamond ring made up of multiple diamonds that are similar, but smaller, even though they total one carat or more.

Diamonds that weigh just under the next full carat are typically less expensive than diamonds passing the full-carat hurdle. In her interview for About Jewelry, Antoinette Matlins offered this opinion about carat weight:

…try to find a diamond that weighs 90-points (9/10ths carat), rather than a full 1-carat, or 1.90 carats rather than a full 2-carats, and so on. When set, no one can see the difference, but you’ll enjoy a big savings in cost.”

### Comparing Diamonds

Diamond comparisons are useless unless they’re made among diamonds with similar qualities and features.

• Considering the price per carat is a good way to compare the costs of similar diamonds. Divide the cost of each stone by its carat weight to calculate its price per carat.

There is no single visual diagram that can illustrate diamonds of different carat weights, because variations in shape and cut make stones of similar weights look very different. A diamond weight estimator, a sheet with cutouts for different diamond shapes and sizes, can help give you a preview of how a diamond’s size relates to its carat weight.

Carat weight is only one diamond characteristic that you should explore before you buy a diamond. Take some time to understand more diamond basics before you go shopping.

`(Sourcing material quote from http://jewelry.about.com/cs/thefourcs/a/carat_weight.htm, written By Carly Wickell)`

## Diamond Clarity

### What Is Diamond Clarity?

Diamond clarity is a term used to describe the absence or presence of flaws inside or on the surface of a diamond or other gemstone. A perfect stone with perfect clarity, or clearness, is rare, and most flaws that do exist in jewelry grade diamonds cannot be seen without looking at the gems through a jeweler’s magnifying loupe.

### Diamond Clarity Terms to Remember

Diamond Inclusions

• Imperfections, or flaws, inside a diamond.
• Tiny spots of white, black, or other colors.
• Cracks. Some cause no problems at all. Other could cause the stone to split.
• Colored and uncolored crystals.

Diamond Blemishes

• Flaws on a diamond’s exterior surface.
• Many exterior flaws are the result of the cutting and polishing process.

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grades diamond clarity using 10X magnification. They tag diamonds as:

Fl, Flawless

• No internal or external flaws.

IF, Internally Flawless

• No internal flaws. Slight external blemishes.

VVS1 & VVS2, Very, very slightly included.

• Minute inclusions. Difficult for even an experienced grader to detect.

VS1 & VS2, Very slightly included

• Minute inclusions. Not easily seen by an experienced grader.

SI1 & SI2, Slightly included

• Inclusions that are noticeable to an experienced grader.

I1 & I2 & I3, Included

• Obvious inclusions that may affect transparency and brilliance.

If you read the detailed explanations for each clarity category, you’ll find that flaws usually cannot be seen without magnification, even by an experienced jeweler. Most are tiny imperfections that do not affect a diamond’s brilliance. It often isn’t until you reach the bottom level of “I” categories that imperfections begin to detract from the beauty of the diamond.

Don’t be concerned if the clarity of the diamond you choose is not near the top the scale.

### Consider the Location of Diamond Flaws

It’s important to consider where a diamond’s flaw is located in relation to the stone’s cut, because some flaws are more noticeable when positioned in specific areas. Your jeweler can offer advice about poor positions of flaws.

In her book “Diamonds, The Antoinette Matlins Buying Guide,” the author encourages us to get to know the imperfections within our diamonds, pointing out that since no two diamonds are alike, the flaws provide an important road map that may help us identify our property.

### Clarity Enhanced Diamonds

Diamond clarity can be enhanced with treatments, but not all enhancement techniques are permanent. The two most popular treatments are:

Diamond Laser Treatments

• A laser is used to remove some types of inclusions. An experienced jeweler can usually see the trail left by the laser.Laser treatments are permanent.

Diamond Fracture Filling

• Tiny cracks in a diamond are filled with a colorless substance.
• Fracture filling is not considered permanent.

Treatments allow us to own a diamond that appears to be of a higher clarity than it truly is. Treated diamonds should cost less, so it’s important to buy diamonds from a jeweler you trust, one who evaluates and discloses any type of treatment that’s been performed.

Clarity is just one element you must consider before you buy a diamond. You’ll look at its color, its cut, its carat weight, its price and many other factors. Your quest to purchase a diamond is kind of like a large jigsaw puzzle. It’s only when all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place that you find the perfect diamond for you.

`(Sourcing material quoted from  http://jewelry.about.com/cs/diamondclarity/a/judge_clarity.htm , written by Carly Wickell)`

## How to Evaluate Diamond Color

### Diamond Color

Diamond color is one of four major characteristics that are considered when determining a diamond’s quality and value. They are known as the Four C’s, and the remaining three are clarity, cut, and carat weight. Understanding these four diamond characteristics and how they interact can help you select a diamond that suits your tastes and your pocketbook.

### Diamond Color Variations

Diamonds are not all truly colorless, but it’s the colorless diamonds, sometimes called white diamonds, which all other shades are judged against.

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has devised a set of guidelines to grade diamond color. The color of graded diamonds is compared to the color of control stones, preselected gems of a specific color.

• To be graded, diamonds must be loose stones, because once a diamond is set into metal the metal can affect its color.
• Diamonds are placed table-down, pavilion-up and viewed with a 10X loupe.
• A lettering system from D to Z is used to identify the amount of color present in each diamond, with D awarded only to rare, totally colorless diamonds.

Colorless diamonds and diamonds that are yellow or yellowish brown are grouped into the categories shown below. These grades do not apply to fancy colored diamonds–they have their own color grading standards.

D-E-F
Colorless.

G-H-I-J
Nearly colorless.

K-L-M
Faintly tinted, usually yellow.

N-O-P-Q-R
Lightly tinted, usually yellow. Tint can be seen with the naked eye.

S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z
Tinted, usually yellow, may progress to brownish. Tint visible to the naked eye, even when mounted.

### Other Factors Affect Diamond Color

Fluorescence
GIA diamond reports and many other lab reports indicate whether or not a diamond exhibits fluorescence, which means the diamond’s color changes when it is exposed to ultraviolet radiation. Since UV radiation is a component of daylight and is also present in fluorescent lit rooms, diamonds with this characteristic can appear to change color quite often.

• Diamonds that produce a blue reaction usually appear whiter, or more colorless, under UV light.
• Stones that fluoresce yellow appear even more yellow under some lighting conditions.

### Diamond Color Treatments

The color of a some diamonds can be dramatically changed by using HPHT (high pressure/high temperature) processing. Unlike diamond treatments used in the past, HPHT changes appear to be permanent.

Coatings are sometimes used to temporarily enhance a diamond’s color.

### Choose Settings that Enhance Diamond Color

A loose diamond that appears lightly yellow to the naked eye will usually appear more colorless when mounted in a white setting–platinum or white-gold. Mounting the same diamond in yellow-gold metal usually enhances the diamond’s yellowish tone.

### Summing Up Diamond Color

A diamond’s color grade affects its price, but it isn’t the most important diamond characteristic to consider before purchasing a diamond. If your budget prevents you from buying a D through F graded diamond it does not mean you can’t own a beautiful gemstone.

Diamond grades G through J can be fine gems and other grades may be perfectly suitable. An experienced jeweler can help you evaluate and select the best diamond for your needs.

`(Sourcing material quoted from  http://jewelry.about.com/cs/diamondcolor/a/color_grades.htm, written by Carly Wickell)`

## Diamond Cut

### Diamond Cut Does not Refer to Diamond Shape

Did you know that the term diamond cut does not refer to its shape? Sure, you have to cut a diamond to make it a shape, but when gemologists say “cut,” they are talking about a diamond’s proportions, such as its depth and width and the uniformity of its facets–all characteristics that control brilliance, durability and other features we look for in a diamond.

A good cut is essential to a diamond’s beauty, because even a diamond with outstanding color and clarity will not display the sparkle that diamonds are famous for if its components don’t interact with light as they should.

### Diamond Width and Depth

The proportions of width and depth have a large impact on diamond brilliance, the reflection of white light that we see when we look at a diamond. Refer to the graphic on this page as you read the following descriptions.

• Light traveling through a shallow cut diamond is lost out of the bottom of the stone and does not back into sight. The lack of light play makes shallow cut diamonds appear lifeless.
• Light traveling through a diamond that’s cut too deep escapes out the sides, darkening all or portions of the stone.
• Light traveling through an ideal cut diamond bounces back out the top of the stone, bringing its brilliance into view.

The graphic illustrates extremes. As with other diamond characteristics, there are are in-betweens for cut quality.

### Diamond Symmetry

Symmetry is a term that refers to the alignment of a diamond’s facets, its flat and polished surfaces. The facets should be cut to achieve the best play of light.

You’ve seen diamonds flash when you move them in the light–that effect is called scintillation, and it occurs when light bounces among the facets. Light doesn’t reflect as it should if facets are misaligned, diminishing the fireworks display.

Diamonds graded Fair and Poor for symmetry usually have facets that are misaligned enough to affect the play of light.

### Diamond Polish

The surface of the facets should be smooth and polished so that light can pass through them.

### Common Problems with Diamond Cuts

• A broken or chipped culet.
• A culet that’s missing or one that’s off center.
• Misaligned or extra facets.
• A  girdle that is too thick, creating poor proportions, or too thin, making it easier to damage.
• A fringed girdle, with tiny cracks going into the diamond.
• A table that slopes to one side.

Always buy diamonds from a reputable jeweler and ask questions about diamond characteristics. Inspect as many diamonds as possible so that you can make good comparisons.

`(Sourcing material quoted from  http://jewelry.about.com/cs/thefourcs/a/diamond_cut.htm, by Carly Wickell)`

# Engagement Ring Advice for Guys

## How to Buy Her an Engagement Ring She’ll Love

Before we get started, can I be honest with you? The best way to buy her an engagement ring she’ll love is to let her pick it out herself. She’ll wear this ring every day. It must feel good on her finger and it must suit her lifestyle. Sometimes it takes trying on many, many diamond shapes and setting styles to determine which ring is truly “best.”

But you still want to go it alone, don’t you? Maybe because you want to surprise her with the engagement ring, or because you don’t want her to be involved with pricing and payment issues. That’s fine–if you put some thought into it you can buy an engagement ring that she’ll love almost as much as she loves you.

### Number 1: Pay Attention!

Paying attention to her jewelry likes and dislikes is the first big step towards finding her the perfect engagement ring:

What metal color does she wear now? Most women have a definite preference. If she loves  white gold or platinum, don’t even look at a diamond or other stone mounted in a yellow gold ring setting.

What style of jewelry does she wear now? Is it contemporary-looking, with bold styling? Does she prefer vintage looking rings? Or would you say that the jewelry she wears is classic, resembling those timeless pieces that never go out of style?

The best indication of her tastes is the jewelry she wears all the time, not items she only wears occasionally, because it’s the full-timers that she’s most comfortable with.

### Number 2: Has She Hinted at her Likes and Dislikes?

Has she ever mentioned her favorite jewelry styles or pointed out engagement rings when you’re shopping together? If not, take her shopping. It isn’t difficult to steer yourselves towards the jewelry stores. If you want to be subtle, say you’re looking for a new watch, but be sure to pause at the engagement ring counters.

Maybe she has a friend who recently became engaged. Does she like her friend’s engagement ring? Why or why not?

Does she like diamonds? Some women don’t. Sapphires and rubies are both durable gemstones that are often set into engagement rings for women who don’t like to wear diamonds.

### Number 3: What Looks Best on Her Hands?

An elongated diamond, such as a marquise or oval, can make short fingers look more sleek–but be careful not to overdo the look or it could have the opposite effect.

Wide bands usually make fingers appear even shorter than they are, so think proportional:

Women with long fingers can easily wear bold ring styles.

• A setting that’s extremely delicate could get lost on large hands, over-emphasizing their size and making the ring look smaller.

### Number 4: Choose the Right Shape & Setting

Round diamonds are the number one shape chosen by brides, but maybe not your bride. She might prefer an elongated marquise, oval or per-shaped stone, or an square or emerald cut diamond. Fancier shapes, such as hearts, are another option.Do you think she’d like a solitaire diamond, set alone in a band, or would she prefer a cluster of stones? Her current jewelry can give you clues about her preferences.

### Number 5: Consider her Lifestyle

How will the ring fit in with her lifestyle? Does she work in a profession where fussy jewelry would look out of place? Even if she doesn’t, remember that a pointed gem with high prongs could snag clothing (and people) and is harder to keep clean. Save that type of ring for gifts that will be worn on special occasions, not every day.

### Number 6: What’s her Ring Size?

Does she have rings that she wears on her engagement finger? Maybe a friend or family member could get hold of one of them long enough for you to have it sized. Of course, you’ll have to swear the messenger to secrecy.

### Number 7: Consider a Loose Diamond

`If you think you know which shape she loves, buy a loose diamond to show her when you ask the big question. The two of you can shop together later for the perfect engagement ring setting.Now that you have a better feel for the style of ring she might prefer, it's time to consider the diamonds that will go into it. Start with the Four C's, then take some time to browse other topics in Diamond Basics and Engagement Ring Resources. If she's not into diamonds, start with the articles in Colored Gemstones.`
• `(Sourcing material quoted from http://jewelry.about.com/cs/engagementrings/a/buying_ring.htm, by Carly Wickell)`