Diamonds 101 for Men Only!
Just Like Marriage Itself, Diamonds are…Complicated.
Luckily, Steven is here to make things easier on you. Starting with the four C’s: Clarity, Color, Cut, and Carat Weight. So sit up. Eyes front. No talking. The (wedding) bell’s about to ring.
Choose a Subject to Hate:
Since we’re in school, let’s talk about a grade some of you may be used to seeing: A big, fat F. In this case, F stands for “Flawless”, and is actually the highest grade of diamond you can get.
Diamonds are graded according to how clear they are—the clearer, the better. We call that purity.
All diamonds have certain identifying characteristics, or inclusions. These are like a diamond’s fingerprints. As such, they distinguish it from any other diamond in the world, because no two diamonds are alike. They also help make your diamond more affordable, because a diamond with few identifying characteristics is rare, and thus more expensive. Of course, an expensive stone means she’ll love you more, and you’ll hate Steven more…pretty much your typical win-win.
Anyway—all diamonds are rated on the following scale:
A rare breed. Belongs in The Smithsonian.
Belongs in an exhibit.
Very, Very Slight 1
An inclusion only Superman can see.
Very, Very Slight 2
A second tier superhero, like the Green Hornet, could spot this tiny, tiny inclusion.
Very Slight 1
Few mortals—probably not you, though. And definitely not your bride-to-be—could see this inclusion, even with the help of 10-power microscope.
Very Slight 2
Same as above. The only difference between a VS1 and VS2 are the quantity and placement of the inclusions.
Slightly Included 1
A regular Joe could find this inclusion using a jeweler’s loupe or a microscope magnified 10x.
Slightly Included 2
Here’s where you come in. Squint into a microscope (or have really good eyesight) and you could spot an identifying characteristic.
Even without a microscope, assuming 20/20 vision, you can sometimes see an identifying characteristic. This is the most popular clarity on the scale.
Take off the sunglasses and you’ll always see this inclusion.
Your half-blind octogenarian aunt could spot this inclusion from across the room.
Next subject: Color. Again, this is the kind of class where a D or an F is good. Finally, right?
Diamonds are graded according to their color, which range from very clear “colorless” to shades of yellow. Here’s the color scale:
These are colorless diamonds, without even a trace of yellow. The human eye can’t detect a bit of difference between D, E, and F. Buy her a colorless diamond, and you’ll be her prince forever. On a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the perfect diamond, these diamonds are 10.
Nearly colorless, this is the most popular range of color grades. You’ll save quite a bit of cash, but still give her a beautiful, sparkly white diamond.
Hint of Yellow
A barely-there hint of yellow. You know it’s there, but someone would have to look mighty hard to see it.
Very Light Yellow
These diamonds have a very light yellow hue to them. Maybe it’s the lights. Most likely not.
Now you’re really seeing yellow. As in fear. Of commitment, maybe? Come on, man—step up.
Round? Princess? Oval? In all reality, this is where she’ll let you know if your diamond made the cut. And with that in mind, here’s what you need to know.
Cut refers to a diamond’s proportions, finish, symmetry and polish. It’s how a diamond-in-the-rough becomes the beautiful gemstone your lovely lady shows all her friends. The cut is directly responsible for just how good your diamond is going to look—and how good you’re going to look for buying it.
A diamond with precise cuts and shape will sparkle and shine because its many facets catch the light perfectly. On the other hand, a diamond with imperfect cuts just sorta sits there. You know…like you.
As an example, look at this round brilliant cut with 58 facets. Since the diamond’s beauty directly reflects the quality of the cut, the precision with which the facets are arranged is of prime importance. They determine the amount of light reflected to the eye, which we call brilliance. And if you’re smart, you’re taking notes.
A diamond is measured according to its carat weight. And before you ask, yes—this is one of those times when size really does matter. Of course, anything over one is well above average. And two is huge.
But let’s weigh it all against the context of the three other C’s. A one-carat diamond with no visible inclusions, with shiny white color and flawlessly cut is going to look just as amazing as any two-carat rock. The choice is yours, love it or hate it.
The above illustration is not to scale. Diamonds sizes are shown for comparison purposes only.
Isn’t this class over yet? Almost. Now that you’ve been schooled on the 4 Cs, let’s cover shapes.
Round Brilliant Diamonds
This shape has set the standard for all other diamond shapes, and accounts for more than 75% of diamonds sold today. Its 58-facet cut, divided among its crown (top), girdle (widest part) and pavilion (base), is calibrated through a precise formula to achieve maximum brilliance.
This square or rectangular shaped diamond is a mixed cut diamond, shaped like a pillow, hence the name. This diamond combines the brilliance of a brilliant cut diamond with the beauty and elegance of an emerald cut.
Princess Cut Diamonds
This square or rectangular cut has many sparkling facets. It’s a relatively new cut and often finds its way into solitaire engagement rings. Flattering to a hand with long fingers, it is often embellished with triangular stones at its sides.
An even, perfectly symmetrical design popular among women with small hands or short fingers. Its elongated shape gives a flattering illusion of length to the hand.
This square or rectangular cut combines the elegance of the emerald shape diamond with the brilliance of the round, and its 70 facets maximize the effect of its color refraction.
This square shaped diamond is cut identical to an emerald cut, using the elegance of the stepped cut diamond, with a rectangular cut pavilion. Like the Emerald Cut, it shows everything. Pick carefully.
Emerald Cut Diamonds
A rectangular shape with cut corners, known as a step cut because its concentric broad, flat planes resemble stair steps. Since inclusions and inferior color are more pronounced in this particular cut, you should select a stone of superior clarity and color.
An elongated shape with pointed ends. This cut is enhanced by smaller diamonds that surround the main stone.
Pear Shaped Diamonds
A hybrid cut, combining the best of the oval and the marquise, it is shaped most like a sparkling teardrop.
Heart Shaped Diamonds
This ultimate symbol of romance is essentially a pear-shaped diamond with a cleft at the top. It's a heart...she’ll love it!
This newer cut is definitely for the adventurous. It may be a traditional triangular shape with pointed corners or a more rounded triangular shape with 25 facets on the crown, 19 facets on the pavilion, and a polished girdle.
This diamond is rectangular, cut with step-like facets. Baguettes come in the straight and tapered shapes most often. This diamond is hardly the center of attention, leaving it to make a great accent on the side of another beautiful shaped diamond.
Steven’s Cheat Sheet
Don’t be a Diamond Dunce. Remember these notes when you buy, and you’ll ace it.
What clarity should I get?
SI1–I1 is most popular. These diamonds look amazing and save you a bundle. If you can afford a diamond with fewer inclusions, great. But nobody will know the difference.
Do I need colorless?
G–J is nearly colorless, and just as sparkly. This is a great way to save and still give her a beautiful diamond.
How big should I go?
It’s always about size, isn’t it? Look at it this way: Some girls want a bigger diamond, some girls are happy with anything. In our experience, a 1-carat diamond with perfectly cut facets can look just as good as a 2-carat diamond that just sits there. Buy what your girl will love. Then let the Steven Singer hate begin.
“Buy what your girl will love. Then let the Steven Singer hate begin.”
So. There you have it. Everything you need to know about Diamonds. Explore Steven’s Collections armed with your newfound knowledge. Raise your hand if you have any questions. Or, better yet, raise her hand—and put a ring on that thing!