The most important aspect of a diamond is the cut. The right cut can make even a lower color or clarity diamond sparkle like a star. Although there is a lot of science behind a diamond, there is also the matter of taste and individual perception of what makes a diamond beautiful. While not everyone will share the same opinion as to what constitutes beauty, most people do want a diamond that expresses their individual taste and personality. We are your local Neenah, WI experts in helping you find the best quality diamond at the best possible price. Here’s what you should consider before making a purchase: Diamond Cut, Diamond Color, Diamond Clarity, and Carat Weight. These are known as the 4Cs of diamond grading. To see a full explanation of each of the 4Cs, click on the characteristic you wish to learn more about:
Diamond Color Grade
The Experts at Work It’s truly fascinating to see our skilled diamond graders at work analyzing a diamond’s color. Using a master set of diamonds specifically chosen based on their range of color, the graders pick up the diamond they are grading with tweezers and place it next to the individual diamonds in the master set. The diamond grader then makes a skilled judgment call — something that requires good eyes and extensive experience.
Unmounted Diamonds Provide a More Accurate Grade
Diamonds not in a setting and, therefore, loose are called unmounted. That’s how we grade ALL our diamonds. We do this so that the color is not influenced by the metal of the setting. For example, a diamond set in a yellow-gold ring could appear more yellowish in tone than one in a white-metal mounting. By grading loose diamonds, we get the best and most accurate read possible.
An Easy to Understand 0 to 10 Scale
The American Gem Society Color Grade indicates where a diamond’s color falls on a scale that runs from 0 (colorless) to 10 (light yellow or light brown). Most labs grade based on using D as the best color, down to Z. We felt we could give a more accurate and specific description of the color of your diamond if we used a numeric scale. This way, you will have a better understanding of its color. If you look at the scale on this page, you can learn what each numerical grade means in term of color.
Color is only one of J. Anthony Jewelers five C’s. Now just because a stone can have a color of J or K and lower doesn’t mean it can’t be a beautiful stone. The cut and clarity is also very important to the beauty of the diamond. When deciding on which stone to buy, strictly thinking about color of the diamond here, you must consider what kind of metal you’re going to have the diamond set into. A more yellowish diamond such as a K would look much better in a yellow gold setting because the yellow gold will actually make the stone seem whiter than it is. Setting a yellow diamond into a white metal such as silver or platinum can make the diamond seem like it has a more dramatic yellow color than it truly has. White diamonds and near colorless diamond will go great in just about any metal color however, white metals will accent the whitest of diamonds the best as the white metal will reflect white light through the stone. Yellow gold will reflect a yellowish color through the stone.
Diamonds are found with a vast range of color just like the rainbow. Diamond colors include red, orange, yellow, green and blue with various shades between. Bright yellow diamonds are often called “canary” diamonds. These bright colors are graded as Z+ and carry the name “fancy” diamonds. These colored diamonds are very rare and can sell quite often for more per carat than the whitest diamonds.
A Cut Grade Like No Other
You’ve probably heard that the most important factor of the 4Cs is Cut. The AGS Laboratories built its reputation on developing a Cut Grade that has no rival. We present this information to you based on the easy-to-understand numeric and verbal descriptors.
The grades in AGS Laboratories diamond grading reports for a diamond’s cut are based on proprietary numeric and verbal descriptors. The numeric descriptors for the diamond Cut Grade follow the American Gem Society’s standards for how well a diamond is cut. The expressed range is from zero to ten, with zero being the very best and ten representing the lowest grade. The verbal descriptors are AGS Ideal, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. It’s pretty clear-cut that way — no guessing what it all means!
Cut is the human contribution to a diamond’s beauty, brilliance and fire. The 58-facet round brilliant cut is the most popular because of its fire and brilliance. This is achieved by cutting the stone to very exacting mathematically-determined proportions so as much light as possible is reflected out the top of the diamond. In the 1920’s a Russian mathematician by the name of Marcel Tolkowsky calculated the proportions of the facets in a round diamond that would bring an ideal balance between brilliance and dispersion.
The cut of a diamond refers not only to the shape of the diamond and number of facets, but also to the quality of the cut. The way a diamond is cut will affect all of the other C’s.
A well-cut diamond will allow light to enter the stone, bounce off the internal facets and be reflected back through the top, creating the brilliance and fire only a diamond can. A diamond with uneven or poorly proportioned facets won’t be given the same grade of cut as an ideally proportioned and masterfully cut stone. Diamonds can be cut to virtually any shape and size. Some popular diamond cuts include round, oval, marquise, pear, heart, emerald, princess and radiant. There is no doubt that round brilliant is the most popular cut today.
We will examine the world’s most popular diamond cut, the round brilliant cut, or RBC. RBC’s and many other types of cuts can be divided into 3 parts of the diamond, the table, girdle and pavilion. The crown of the diamond is the upper section of the diamond. This is the part of the diamond facing up from the widest point of the stone. The middle section of the stone is the girdle and this is the widest point of the stone. Below the girdle is pavilion.
A RBC will have either 57 or 58 facets, depending on whether or not the culet is polished or not. On the crown, there is a large octagonal table surrounded by 8 triangular star facets; 8 kite bezel facets and 16 triangular upper girdle facets, arranged in pairs that circle the crown’s perimeter. A culet on the pavilion connects 8 elongated, kite-shaped pavilion mains to the girdles’ edge. Separating the pavilion mains are 16 elongated, triangular lower girdle facets arranged in pairs. The picture here is labeled like this. Part “a” is the table, “b” is the bezel facet and “c” is the star facet. “d” is the upper girdle facet and then on the bottom of the stone are more facets. These are labeled “e” and “f.” “e” is the main pavilion facet and the ‘f” is the lower girdle facet.
Any deviation from the exact proportions calculated by Marcel Tolkowsky will result in the beauty of the stone being compromised. When cutting a diamond, cutters have to choose between optimizing weight or optimizing beauty. More often than not diamond cutters will sacrifice the beauty of the diamond for the carat weight which can mean more money.
They can get away with this only because stores have been keeping customers in the dark and pushing weight rather than beautiful proportions. It is easier to convince someone to buy a bigger diamond than a more beautiful one. This is not the case at our store however. We supply our customers with ideal cut diamonds, because we’re not afraid to push beauty over carat weight. After all, your wife or girlfriends friends will be more impressed with a diamond that is much more beautiful than weighs more especially considering most people don’t understand how much carat’s weigh.
We can show you in our store how a beautiful ideal cut diamond weighing a little less than a heavier poor cut diamond will “dance” with the light so much more. For many customers of ours, buying the ideal cut diamond over a poor cut diamond and sacrificing weight for beauty is the only route to take. Ideal cuts do come in all sizes so if you want a 1.0ct ideal or 5.0ct ideal cut, it can be found and we can help. Often times we can find the right stone for you in our case, but if not, we can find them at one our suppliers and have the stone in our store sometimes the next day for you to look at, with no commitment to buying from us.
For reference, here is a handy diagram that show’s the ideal cut proportion percentages:
Like the Cut grade, the AGS Laboratories’ reports come with numeric and verbal descriptors for Clarity. The numeric system is the same as for Cut — from zero to ten, zero being the best. The verbal descriptors are trade terms originally developed to describe diamonds for diamond manufacturers and retailers. Over time, these terms have become recognized at the consumer level as well, and because they are widely accepted, we adhere to them, too.
The Story of SI3
Over time, diamond manufacturers, retailers, and some laboratories adopted the term SI3. This is supposed to represent a class of diamonds with a diamond clarity of between SI2 and I1. The AGS does not recognize this term. In our book, a diamond is either SI1 or SI2, and should be priced accordingly on the market. This is just one more way we keep your best interest — and investment — a priority.
The Grades are from highest to lowest in Clarity quality as follows:
- Flawless/Internally Flawless (F/IF) — Very rare for diamonds!
- Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) — Also very rare.
- LVery Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2)
- Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2)
- Included (I1, I2, and I3)
Flawless diamonds show no inclusions or blemishes of any sort when examined by a skilled grader under 10X binocular magnification. These diamonds are very rare and the price does reflect that. However the price though, these stones are absolutely magnificent. IF: (Internally Flawless) No inclusions, and only insignificant surface blemishes. Normally, what separates IF from FL diamonds are characteristics that can be removed by very minor re-polishing.
VVS1 and VVS2: (Very Very Slightly Included)
These stones have very small inclusions that are hard for a skilled jeweler to see under 10x magnifaction. In VVS1, they are extremely difficult to see, visible only from the pavilion. They can be small and shallow enough to be removed easily by re-polishing. In VVS2, inclusions are still difficult to see. The most common inclusions found in these stones are: scattered pinpoints, taint clouds, slightly bearded girdles, internal graining, and tiny feathers, chips and bruises.</td>
VS1 and VS2: (Very Slightly Included)Minor inclusions ranging from difficult to somewhat easy for a trained grader to see when examined using 10X magnification. These stones are often the highest clarity we stock because the do not sacrifice the beauty of the stone, only a little bit of the price is sacrificed. Inclusions most common in these stones: small included crystals and feathers, distinct clouds, and groups of pinpoints.</td>
SI1 and SI2: (Slightly Included)Noticeable inclusions that are easy (SI1) or very easy (SI2) to see when examined by an experience jeweler under 10x magnifaction. SI stones are the lowest clarity we stock, often times these stones are sought after for their pricing. Most common inclusions: small included crystals, clouds, feathers.</td>
I1,12 and I3: (Imperfect)These stones have inclusions that are obvious to an unaided eye. I3 stones are dangberous in that I3’s can hinder durability. Most common inclusions: large included crystals and feathers.</td>
A carat is a unit of weight for diamonds and other gems. The metric carat of .200 grams, or 200 milligrams was adopted in the United States in 1913 and now standardized in the principle countries of the world. It takes a little over 142 carats to equal 1 ounce. Diamond weights are numerically expressed by the carat. Diamond weight is subdivided further into smaller units commonly referred to as points. A point is a scale of weight that is equal to .01 carat. A one carat diamond is made up of 100 points. The term point does not refer to the amount of facets or individual flat surfaces a diamond possesses as its definition is sometimes incorrectly interpreted. Diamonds weighing less than 20 points are often called melee.
Another term often used is grain or grainer. A diamond that weighs .50 carat or 50 points would be considered 1/2 carat in size. A diamond that weighs 1.00 carat or 100 points is considered a carat. A two carat diamond would weigh 2.00 carats, 200 points or 400 milligrams. In jewelry pieces with more than one diamond, the carats may be described in terms of total carat weight, TW or CTW. This is the combined total weight of all the stones in the piece.
Diamonds can range in size from a fraction of a carat to several carats. Given the rarity of large stones, however, the price increases rapidly with size; therefore, a single 2-carat diamond will cost much more than two 1-carat diamonds. Very large diamonds with good color and clarity are very rare.
Expect to pay a premium for stones that are above a full carat weight. For example, a .95 carat diamond will cost a bit more than a .90 carat stone, but a 1-carat stone will cost significantly more than a .95 carat stone.
Customers shopping for diamonds can expect to pay a premium for diamonds that have a carat weight of greater than 1.0. For example, .95ct diamonds will a little more than .90ct diamonds of the same color and clarity. However, a 1.0ct diamond will cost considerably more than the .95ct diamonds. As the carat weight of diamonds increases above 1.0ct, the price will seem to increase exponentially as larger diamonds are rarer than smaller diamonds. Also keep in mind this little trick if you’re shopping for a 1.0ct stone. We like to call it “magic” size in the industry.
Consumers tend to prefer a 1.0ct diamond over a 0.99ct diamond. For this reason alone a 1.00ct diamond is worth much more than a 0.99ct diamond. Even the most experienced diamond dealer cannot tell the difference without a diamond scale. Could you visualize less than one fourteen-thousandth of an ounce? And yet, people are willing to pay hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars for this minute difference. However, these stones are very difficult to come across and often times the diamond cutter will sacrifice cutting perfection for a little more carat weight making the stone not ideal. It is possible though to find .95-.99ct ideal cut diamonds.