The Karat, the Carat, what they are and how they came to be

Over human history, we’ve used a ton of different measurements systems, with almost every culture having invented their own. Just in mass, you can find several dozens. This includes such colorfully named ones as the Dutch Cask, Oka, Pood and Pennyweight.

As the world has become more connected and there was an ever greater need for standardization (I’m sorry, but how many Poods to a Pennyweight?) a lot of these systems have fallen by the wayside and the majority (95 percent) has switched over to the decimally-based metric system.

Still, there are a few alternative ways of measurements which somehow manage to hold out. No, I’m not talking about the Imperial System (though to somebody who grew up with the metric system that is an odd system to want hold on to).

Instead, here I’m going to discuss the Karat and the Carat.

No, they have nothing to do with carrots

No, they have nothing to do with carrots

In fact, they don’t have anything to do with vegetables (though there is a relationship to seeds, which we’ll cover later). Heck, they don’t even measure the same thing! Instead, the Karat is used to measure precious metal purity while gem carats measure weight, just like grams and ounces do.

Let’s look at precious-metal first. Interesting fact, only in the US is this karat spelled with a ‘k’. In the rest of the world, it is also spelled with a ‘c’, just like the gemstone carat. As if giving two measurement systems almost the same name isn’t confusing enough! In order to help us tell them apart, we’ll use the American spelling here.

The karat measure purity, with 24 karats meaning something has no extra metals mixed in and is 100% pure. That means that each karat is about 4.17 percent (I say ‘about’ because it would really be 4.16 with the six recurring). This means that 12 karats is half pure, while 18 karats is 3/4 pure.

As for gem carats, here it’s not about purity but instead, they measure weight. Each carat weighs 200 milligrams. That’s .007 ounces for the remaining 5% of the world.

So, to recap quickly: If somebody gives you a piece of jewelry that’s 2 karats, go ahead and get really offended. That’s not even 10% pure! On the other hand, if somebody gives you a two-carat diamond you should feel quite flattered, as a stone that big retails for somewhere in the $5,000 to $60,000 range.

Why do they use the same name but measure different things?

Why do they use the same name but measure different things?

Back in yea olden days, measurement was difficult. For a long time, there was no centrally located measurement bureau that decided how much a certain measurement – like the pound – weighed. Even when there was, carrying the weights all over the world on horseback would have been difficult indeed.

The solution merchants came up with was to find something that weighed the same everywhere. People somehow got it into their heads that the carob seed was such a thing and that it varied less in weight than other seeds did. This turns out not to be true, these seeds vary just as much as other seeds in weight. But then belief often trumps reality.

And so, Carats varied widely, with one weighing 187 milligrams in Cyprus and 205.649 milligrams in South Africa. Obviously, that led to all sorts of problems. For that reason, in 1907, at the Fourth General Conference on Weights and Measures, the weight was standardized as the metric carat which weighed 200 milligrams.

The precious-metal karat, in the meantime, reputedly comes from medieval times in Germany. There they had a gold coin called the Mark, which had a standardized weight of 24 carobs. The problem was, as anybody who has ever had the opportunity to play with gold before knows, pure gold is too soft to use this way. You’d end up with bent coins and defaced monarchs!

For that reason, the custom was to add copper to create a harder alloy. Of course, as copper is less valuable than gold, people wanted to know the relationship of gold to copper. The people who minted the coin decided to state how much gold there was in the gold by giving the karat weight of the gold only. From there it then became associated with purity, with a 22 karat gold mark being 91.667 percent pure.

So there you have it. That’s the story of the karat, the carat and how they came to be. Now, you’ll have a great story to tell when somebody next shows off their diamond ring and drops in how many carats it is!

Want to learn more about how the number of carats affects the value of a diamond? Check out our diamond grading guide for more information!

Posted in  Uncategorized |   Tagged 


5 Places to Buy a Diamond Engagement Ring

Buying an engagement ring is a momentous occasion. It means you and your loved one are ready to take the big leap into marriage. It is an object that will have sentimental and monetary value. This makes it so important to buy the right type of place to buy the diamond. You want to get the diamond from a reputable seller who will tell you about the diamond so you know what you are getting. You want to make sure wherever you go to get your diamond that you will be able to see the actual diamond you are considering buying. You want to make sure that they have graded diamonds, so you know what you’re getting. There are different considerations when you look at diamonds. You want to consider Diamond Carat Weight, do you want a 1 karat diamond or a half karat. The larger the size and weight (when looking at same quality) the more it will cost. Diamond Cut is also important. This will affect the overall brilliance of the diamond.

Diamond Color is important. White diamonds are rated D-Z in color grade. This shows if they have any tint or yellow color. The least color is in the D-F range. Diamond Clarity, this is very important. It is the grade that shows if it is flawless or has some imperfections or inclusions. A higher clarity grade is important as it indicates you can’t see the imperfections with the naked eye.

So where should you find this important piece of jewelry? Here are a 5 places you can buy a diamond engagement ring:

1. Online Retailers

This is something that wasn’t really available 15 years ago. Today you can find reputable jewelry online that will give you detailed information about their diamonds and settings. Look for an online stellar who is ranked well in reviews. You want to pick an online site that has videos and pictures of the actual diamond you would be purchasing. There should be magnified pictures available so you can see the detail. You also want a site that offers a return policy along with free shipping and insurance. You should find a site that also offers ratings from the laboratories of GIA and AGS.

2. Online at a Second hand store

You can search for second hand diamonds online at stores like etsy and eBay. You want to be careful that they have the documentation to back up the type of diamond they are selling. They should have an appraisal report. You also want to make sure they have a return policy. This will give you the chance to get it appraised by someone locally.

3. Use a inherited ring

Some families have jewelry that is handed down over generations. If you are lucky enough to have jewelry with a nice diamond in it you can have an engagement ring made at a local jeweler using your family diamond. This is a nice way to connect your family history to your new growing family.

4. Local Retailer

Some local jewelry stores have knowledgeable and reputable jewelers. They can help you select the best ring within your budget. This can be very convenient. Make sure you know their reputation before choosing the retailer.

5. Diamond District

Some cities have Diamond districts. For example, New York City has a very famous Diamond district. If you live close to a city you can spend a day going to the various jewelers in the district. Usually prices are quite good at these stores and there is a lot of selection to choose from.

Best of luck on your search for perfect diamond engagement ring!

Posted in  Buying a Diamond, Diamond Engagement Rings |   Tagged 


6 Fun Engagement Announcement Ideas

So he finally popped the question and you said yes, now it’s time to make it even more official and announce it to the world (or at least to friends and family). Whether you plan to just post the announcement online or send cards through the mail, adding some fun elements into your announcement will make it extra memorable for everyone.

Make an impact with your engagement announcement with these fun ideas:

  1. Announce it on Video

If you have time and creative editing skills, making a short video or movie to announce your engagement will definitely make yours an announcement to remember. Some couples even hire professional videographers to capture this very special moment but it can be done with just a little bit of creativity and the right editing software.

Whether it’s focused on you and your fiancée or inspired by one of your favorite movies, as long as it reflects your life and journey as a couple, it will definitely be a video worth keeping and re-watching over and over again. Share you love with everyone in motion.

  1. Show Off That Ring

Let’s be honest, when someone gets engaged one of the first things we check out is the engagement ring. Show off that rock by making it the focal point of interest on your engagement announcement. Sometimes, a photo of the ring is all you need to announce your engagement but you can also make it more fun and romantic by adding creative touches to the photo.

Love Engagement Picture


I Said Yes

Don’t make a sign if you say no

  1. Spell it Out

Schedule a photo shoot with a friend or a professional photographer and get creative with your engagement announcement. Spell out your announcement with different poses of you and your fiancée. You can either spell out the entire phrase or just part of the phrase. You can fill out the rest in the post-processing stage of the image. Choose a great location, preferably with a beautiful landscape view, and get creative with your fiancée.

Landscape Engagement Announcement

Photo Credit: Green Wedding Shoes

  1. Magazine or Movie Poster Inspired Announcement

Creating a magazine cover inspired engagement announcement is a fun and novel way to get the word out of your impending union. It’s attention grabbing and definitely memorable! You can also make a movie inspired announcement just for the fun of it.

Magazine Engagement Announcement

Gossip Column Announcement

TV Wedding Announcement

HIMYM? Well, close.

  1. Send a Telegram

Go retro by sending a telegram-inspired note to friends and family to officially announce your engagement. Do this before you post anything online to make the news even more of a surprise.

Unique engagement announcements

Marriages last forever, just like telegrams

  1. Host a Party

If you want to announce your engagement personally, you can host a party and invite your closest friends and family. You can either tell them straight or have a guessing game where your guests can each give a guess about what the party is all about; they shouldn’t take long figuring it out.

You can even leave clues or signs all over the party until one of them figures it out or you can announce it through food (like popcorn).

Engagement Announcement Party

Why not one more party? What a great way to tell everyone at once.

There are so many other fun ways to announce your engagement but these ideas are sure to be a hit among your friends and family. You can even use them in combination if you want the announcement to be extra memorable.

Posted in  Diamond Engagement Rings |   Tagged 


Guide to Wedding & Engagement Ring Settings – Make it Special!

The diamond may be the most important component of an engagement ring but without the ring setting, all you’ll have is a loose diamond. The ring setting is the foundation of the ring, the base that will hold the diamond in place, which is why you should give it just as much importance as the gemstone you’ll be placing on it.

There are many different styles of ring settings and it can be overwhelming to choose especially if you’re not sure what the recipient wants. Most people buy ready-made rings and don’t really bother to research the different kinds of settings available. After all, if a ring looks good, you don’t really have to know what type of setting it is. However, if you want to make it special and you want to explore all your available options before you purchase the first ready-made ring you find, knowing the different kinds of settings can prove valuable to your search for the perfect ring.

Top Engagement Ring and Wedding Ring Settings

The Prong Setting

The prong setting is, without a doubt, the most popular ring setting today. Commonly seen on solitaires, the prong setting is characterized by either four or six prongs/claws enclosing the diamond. The prong setting is notable for allowing maximum light to enter the diamond in different angles. It is the most optimal setting for maximizing the brilliance of a diamond. It also makes the center stone look bigger. The prong setting is not only the perfect backdrop for a diamond but it also offers adequate protection as the claws protect the diamond from chipping or falling off, which can be a problem with daily use.

Prong settings are flexible and can be used for most diamond shapes. It is commonly seen on round brilliant solitaire rings but it is also used alongside a variety of ring settings and styles, including pave rings, three-stone rings, and channel rings.

Channel Setting

Channel setting is commonly used alongside prong setting for engagement rings. The center stone is usually set in a prong setting and the side stones are set on a channel setting. A channel setting is characterized by two lines of metals holding a row of diamonds or gemstones in between. There is no metal separating the gemstones from each other.

Channel setting is also popular in wedding rings with diamonds, particularly in eternity rings. The setting gives adequate protection to the stones while allowing adequate brilliance.

Pave Setting

Pave setting is another popular setting option for engagement rings. It is characterized by a row of small stones set very closely together. Unlike channel set stones, pave set stones have tiny beads of metal separating them from each other. For engagement rings, it is common to have a center stone set on a prong setting alongside pave set accent stones. Pave setting is also used widely in eternity diamond wedding rings.

Micro-pave setting is a variation of the pave setting where smaller stones are set closely to each other.

Bezel Setting

The bezel setting is also fairly popular in engagement rings. It is best for fancy shape diamonds like heart, triangle, and octagonal diamonds, as it emphasizes the shape of the diamond. In a bezel setting, the stone is surrounded entirely with a thin piece of metal. Not only does it offer extra protection for oddly shaped diamonds but it also helps emphasize the shape of smaller diamonds. It is perhaps one of the oldest settings for jewelry and is commonly used in engagement rings, as well as pendants and earrings.

Tension Setting

The tension setting is a slightly more modern option compared to the aforementioned ring settings. In a tension setting, two bars of metal hold the diamond in place. Unlike other settings, the tension setting does not offer as much protection for the diamond but it does offer a lot of flexibility when it comes to style. Tension set rings come in a wide-variety of styles and are commonly used in contemporary ring designs.

Illusion/ Cluster Setting

Illusion and cluster settings are sometimes used interchangeably because both are made of several smaller stones that make up one big centerpiece. In an illusion setting, smaller diamonds are set close to each other to create the illusion that they are one big stone instead of several small stones. A cluster ring is similar but a larger center stone is usually clustered with smaller stones to create the illusion of a bigger diamond.

Wedding ring settings are typically more straightforward than engagement ring settings because the stones used on wedding rings are a lot smaller. Some wedding rings are even just made up of plain precious metal without any gemstones.

Women usually choose a matching setting for their engagement ring and wedding ring so that both rings complement each other when worn on the same finger.

Regardless of the setting you choose for your engagement ring and wedding ring, the most important thing to consider is your personal style. Wedding rings don’t always have to match so the couple can express their personal styles individually.

Posted in  Diamond Engagement Rings |   Tagged 


Diamond Bridal Rings – Diamonds in Your Wedding Band

Engagement rings are special but it’s the wedding band that will really be worn most of the time. While most women wear both rings on a daily basis, many also choose to just wear their wedding bands for practical reasons.

Most women prefer to have diamonds on their bridal rings and understandably so, as diamonds can really make the band sparkle even when worn alone. Even women who prefer a simpler band design often choose to add a few small diamonds on the band as accents. When choosing diamond bridal rings, it’s important to choose not only in terms of style and aesthetic value but also durability, especially since you’ll be wearing your wedding ring everyday.

If you’re looking for the perfect diamond bridal ring to suit your lifestyle, you might find inspiration in the following styles:

Eternity Rings

Eternity rings are one of the most popular options for women because they complement solitaire engagement rings well. They are also just as beautiful when worn on their own. The ideal setting for eternity rings are either pave or channel because these settings provide extra protection for the tiny diamonds in between and are ideal for daily wear. However, some women prefer prong setting because they allow maximum brilliance for the diamonds. Eternity diamond rings are also symbolic of the commitment of marriage.

Round brilliant diamonds are often used for eternity rings but princess cut diamonds and emerald cut diamonds are also quite popular in many modern eternity ring designs.

Infinity Diamond RingHalf Eternity Rings

Half eternity rings are also quite popular. Instead of a full circle of diamonds like in a diamond eternity ring, half-eternity rings only have diamonds on the face of the wedding band. It’s a cheaper option compared to eternity rings because half the amount of diamonds are used unless you opt for bigger stones.

The half-eternity band style is ideal for bigger stones because diamonds are only used on the face of the band, making it more comfortable and practical for everyday use.

Eternity Diamond RingCurved Diamond Wedding Bands

A curved diamond wedding band has a slight curve in the face of the band to accommodate the main stone on the engagement ring. The curved design makes it so that when the wedding band is worn with the engagement ring, the main stone can sit nicely around the curved area. These rings are designed to complement the engagement ring and are often custom-made to suit the proportions of the stone on the engagement ring. Most bridal ring sets also come with curved wedding bands.

Curved Diamond RingDiamond Embedded Wedding Band

Wedding bands embedded with diamonds are suitable for those who don’t want too much sparkle on their wedding bands. These are also suitable for men because they are much more minimalistic than wedding bands completely studded with diamonds. The number of diamonds can be anywhere from one (placed at the center face of the band) to ten or more (dotting the circumference of the ring).

Diamond Embedded Wedding RingDiamond Bridal Sets

Some couples prefer to buy bridal sets (i.e. the engagement ring and wedding band are purchased together in a set) to ensure that they complement each other. Although for proposals, it may not always be recommended to purchase a bridal set unless you’re absolutely sure that the answer is “yes” and that the style is something the bride-to-be will not want to change. However, if you are purchasing the engagement ring with your partner, then diamond bridal sets are a great option especially since they are usually sold at a cheaper price than if you buy the rings separately.

Diamond Bridal RingsMatching Wedding Bands

There are some couples that prefer to get matching wedding bands to make the rings more symbolic. Most matching wedding band sets aren’t exactly similar, as the bridal ring is often designed to look more feminine and typically carry more diamonds than the groom’s ring. Although, there are also a lot of wedding band sets that are designed to look exactly the same, as some couples prefer to wear the same ring.

There is a wide-variety of diamond bridal ring styles out there and if you can’t find exactly what you have in mind, you always have the option to have your wedding band custom-made to suit your exact design preferences.

Matching Wedding Rings

Posted in  Diamond Engagement Rings |   Tagged 


More Than Just Rings – Our Other Favorite Diamond Jewelry Pieces

When people think of diamonds, one of the first jewelry pieces that come to mind are engagement rings. The tradition of using a diamond ring in marriage proposals dates back to as early as the late 1400s when the archduke of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy with a diamond ring.

Diamond jewelry, however, isn’t limited to engagement rings. Diamonds are arguably one of the most coveted jewels today. They represent a classic symbol of elegance, beauty, and grace. As such, you can find diamonds in just about any piece of jewelry.

In this article, we feature some of our favorite diamond jewelry pieces other than diamond rings.

Diamond Earrings

Diamond earrings are perhaps the second most popular jewelry piece next to diamond engagement rings. While diamond earrings come in many different styles, diamond stud earrings are the most popular and often considered a wardrobe staple by many people.

Diamond stud earrings are simple, classic, and elegant and can be used both in formal and casual wear. Just like in engagement rings, the most popular shapes for diamond solitaire stud earrings are round brilliant and princess cut diamonds set in a four-prong or six-prong stone setting.

Cluster diamond stud earrings are also quite popular because of their versatility. Smaller diamonds are clustered together to form different shapes. Since smaller diamonds are used, cluster diamond earrings are generally cheaper than solitaires.

Aside from diamond stud earrings, some of our favorite diamond earring styles also include diamond hoop earrings and drop earrings.

Diamond Necklaces

Whether in the form of a solitaire diamond pendant on a simple white or yellow gold chain or elaborate pendants consisting of smaller diamonds in different settings, diamond necklaces are a favorite among many women. From the simplest of necklaces with a diamond pendant centerpiece to extravagant diamond eternity necklaces, diamond necklaces can add elegance and flair to any outfit.

The classic round brilliant solitaire pendant on a chain of white gold or platinum is perhaps the most popular style. Other favorites include fancy color diamond necklaces like pink or blue diamonds set on a halo setting. Cross and heart diamond pendants consisting of small colorless diamonds are also popular options, as well as diamond drop necklaces that feature intricate metal work with diamonds of varying sizes.

Diamond Bracelets

When it comes to diamond bracelets, classic favorites include diamond tennis bracelets and diamond pave bangles. These bracelets look elegant whether worn as a solitary piece or stacked on top of each other. You can also easily mix and match different pieces together to create a unique look.

Diamond cuff bracelets are also a modern favorite. These pieces combine the classic elegance of diamonds with intricate metalwork.

Diamond Brooches and Pins

While not considered a staple like diamond earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, we love diamond brooches and pin jewelry because of their versatility. You can wear them with anything and easily transform a simple outfit into an elegant ensemble. An elegant diamond brooch can also add a classic touch to any modern outfit combination.

Classic diamond jewelry pieces are a good investment for anyone. A pair of diamond stud earrings or a simple diamond pendant necklace can be your go-to pieces whenever you need to accessorize for a dinner date, a business meeting, or even a casual night-out with friends. The key is to invest in classic pieces first before you venture into modern, trendier pieces. These classic diamond jewelry pieces are not only something you can wear even years into the future but they also have excellent resale value should you decide to sell them later on.

Posted in  Diamond Jewelry |   Tagged 


Unique Diamond Engagement Rings- Cuts, Styles, & Costs

While most people prefer classic engagement ring styles like round brilliant or princess cut solitaire engagement rings, others are more particular about the style of their rings. It’s natural to want to own something that is unlike anything found in the market. This is why many couples prefer to have their engagement rings custom-designed to suit their individual tastes and preferences.

There are many unique diamond engagement rings in the market, some feature intricate metalwork paired with unique diamond shapes or cuts and look more like wearable art than jewelry.

From uncommon metals like tungsten to unusual band designs featuring lots of intricate patterns, there are many different techniques and styles you can employ to create a truly unique engagement ring. It’s inspiring to see the diversity of engagement ring styles out there.

Cuts of Unique Diamond Engagement Rings

When it comes to unique diamond engagement rings, people are more likely to experiment with the setting rather than the diamond cut or shape. This is because the setting can easily be changed but the diamond itself is not always easy to replace.

However, if you are in the market for a less-than-common diamond cut or shape, then you may want to consider the following options:

The Triangle or Trillion

Triangle DiamondThis is a diamond shape rarely seen on engagement rings but can be a stunner when set on the right band and stone setting. While finding a perfect triangle cut is not always easy, there’s a wide-variety of triangular diamonds available online. Setting a triangle diamond on a pave band and a three-prong setting creates a good balance between classic and unique. For a more subtle design, you can set the diamond on a solitaire setting with a bezel stone setting to provide added security to the stone.

The Marquise

Marquise Diamond styleMarquise diamonds offer an advantage when it comes to visual size. Since the diamond is narrow and elongated, it typically appears bigger than it actually is.  The marquise is a modified brilliant cut and as such, it is notable for its excellent brilliance. This cut is suitable for those looking for a unique alternative to traditional brilliant cuts like the round brilliant cut or the princess cut.

The Hexagonal Cut

Hexigonal Diamond Cut

The hexagon is another unique and interesting cut for diamonds. Popular in the 1920s, this is a great option for those looking for something unique for modern standards. To protect the corners, set it on a hexagonal bezel stone setting or a 6-prong setting. You can also experiment with art deco-inspired bands to give it a vintage appeal.

Styles of Unique Diamond Engagement Rings

A popular trend for unique engagement rings is combining different fancy color diamonds on one ring. A blue center diamond paired with colorless side stones makes for a good combination. Some styles also feature double halos surrounding a center stone for extra flair. Black diamonds also go well with a tungsten band and with white accent stones for contrast.

Unique Black Diamond Ring

Most unique diamond engagement rings found in the market experiment with the setting style rather than the diamond. Tension settings are great for creating a unique ring that puts emphasis on the stone. Although tension settings are generally less safe than prong settings, they offer a great alternative to the more common four-prong or six-prong diamond engagement rings.

6-prong diamond ringA unique alternative to yellow gold is rose gold. It offers a rustic but feminine appeal than cannot be found on more common options like white gold, yellow gold, or platinum. For a unique engagement ring style, you can opt for a rose gold setting and have the band custom-designed to add vintage-inspired patterns like filigrees and floral patterns.

floral diamond ring

When it comes to creating a truly unique ring, there isn’t a set pattern or trend you should follow. Just work with your jeweler to have it designed the way you want. However, it is recommended that you still stick to classic diamond cuts, as they are easier to work with and are generally easier to find. After all, it’s easier and cheaper to have the setting custom made compared to having a custom diamond shape cut to your exact preferences.

Unique Diamond Engagement Ring Sizes

Sizes are pretty standard for most diamond engagement rings. In the US and in Canada, sizes come in a range from 5 to 13. However, there are different sizes in other countries like the UK and France so if you’re shopping abroad, make sure to have the exact measurements of the recipient’s ring finger ready.

If you are buying a ring with intricate metal work on the band, it’s best if you have the size right when you buy the ring or have it designed because it’s often harder to resize ring bands with patterns on them. You might end up having to cut the pattern or worse, ruin the pattern when you have it resized.

Posted in  Diamond Cuts, Diamond Engagement Rings |   Tagged 


Diamond Rings – Which is Better: A Larger Diamond Size or a Clearer Diamond?

There are four basic parameters that diamond buyers must take into consideration when choosing a diamond, these are: cut, clarity, color, and carat weight. While all these factors affect a diamond’s appearance, most people don’t mind sacrificing one or two qualities in exchange for a bigger diamond.

For instance, some buyers might not mind a diamond that shows a visible tinge of color as long as it is bigger in size. However, when it comes to clarity vs. carat weight, the decision might be harder to make. This is because visible inclusions can tarnish a diamond’s overall appeal especially if it is a big stone.

When cutting diamonds, diamond cutters try their best to conceal any inclusions and blemishes. Inclusions are tiny defects or imperfections found inside the diamond. Some diamonds might also have some imperfections on the surface; these are called blemishes. Both inclusions and blemishes affect a diamond’s brilliance (i.e. how much light they reflect).

When it comes to diamond clarity, the size, number, and position of inclusions are all taken into consideration and affect a diamond’s value. This is why diamond cutters make it a point to hide them in strategic areas like the girdle or under the facets in the bezel where they won’t do much to affect a diamond’s visible appearance.

How Much Clarity Can You Sacrifice for Carat Weight?

If there were no budget constraints, anyone would be happy to receive a flawless diamond that is bigger than 1 or 2 carats in size but since diamonds in the flawless range can be incredibly expensive, sacrifices must be made to suit one’s budget.

Ideally, you shouldn’t settle for a diamond lower than VS2 (very slightly included). Diamonds in the VS1 to VS2 range normally have several inclusions that are visible under 10x magnification. Since you won’t be staring at your diamond under a magnifying glass all the time anyway, you’ll hardly notice the existence of these inclusions at all. It usually requires a skilled observer to view these inclusions even with magnification. Most diamonds sold in the market are of the VS1 to VS2 range.

However, if you are very particular about clarity, you might want to go a little higher by getting a diamond from the VVS1 to VVS2  (very, very slightly included) range. Diamonds in this range often appear flawless to the naked eye and even under 10x magnification, only a skilled observer should be able to notice the inclusions.

If you prefer a bigger carat size and you don’t mind sacrificing a bit of clarity to get the size you want, diamonds in the SI1 range should be ideal. Diamonds in this range have inclusions that may be visible upon close inspection even without magnification but the defects aren’t severe enough to affect the diamond’s overall appearance.

If size is your priority and your goal is a diamond that is bigger than 1 carat, a clarity value of SI1 should be your limit. This is because diamonds in the SI2 range tend to have visible inclusions for stones that are 1 carat and above. SI2 clarity is only ideal for stones that are less than 1 carat in size.

You should keep in mind that inclusions become mush more visible the bigger the diamond is. This is why it’s challenging to get a good balance between clarity and carat weight.

Most diamonds in the market are priced on a per-carat basis. The price of diamonds that are of the same cut, clarity, and color tend to double as you go up a carat. If for instance, the price of a diamond is $2,000 per carat, then you should expect to have to pay $4,000 for a 2-carat diamond of the same quality.

It’s okay to sacrifice clarity for carat weight just as long as you still find a good balance between the two. Diamonds, after all, are meant to be admired and it would be a shame if you cannot fully appreciate its beauty because you sacrificed too much clarity for size.

On the other hand, clarity is still a subjective matter. So if you do not mind a lower clarity range, then by all means go for that bigger stone. It’s your diamond to enjoy after all.

Posted in  Buying a Diamond, Cash for Diamonds, Diamond Colors, Diamond Cuts, Valuing Diamonds |   Tagged 


Guide to Black Diamond Rings – Costs, Styles, & Sizes

Natural black diamonds are extremely rare and are only found in two places in the world, Brazil and the Central African Republic. As such, most black diamonds used for jewelry are heat-treated low-grade colorless diamonds.

The color of natural black diamonds is either black or dark grey and is caused by graphite inclusions in the stone. Black diamonds are the toughest natural diamonds and they are usually denser than colorless diamonds. Natural black diamonds are porous and are made up of millions of small crystals stuck together. Due to its composition, it is a lot more difficult to cut into different shapes compared to other diamonds.

Unlike colorless diamonds and other fancy color diamonds, black diamonds absorb light instead of reflecting it. Due to the unique appearance of the stone, more and more people are choosing to buy black diamond rings over traditional colorless diamond rings.

Costs of Black Diamond Rings

There is a lot of mystery surrounding the formation of black diamonds; some theories state that black diamonds or carbonados come from outer space as a result of a supernova whereas others believe that black diamonds were formed by meteoritic impact on the surface of the earth. The most common theory, however, is that black diamonds are formed in the earth’s interior under extreme high-pressure and heat.

Regardless of the actual formation of natural black diamonds, these theories have a hand in increasing the price of black diamonds in the market.  Due to large interest in the mysteries surrounding the black diamond, there has also been an increase in the demand for natural black diamonds in the market.

Lab-treated black diamonds (those that are heat-treated through irradiation to change the color to black) are generally cheaper than colorless diamonds because they are usually made from low-grade colorless diamonds. The prices of lab-treated black diamond rings typically start at $1400 if the quality of the stone is relatively decent.

Natural black diamonds, known as fancy black diamonds, are generally very expensive because they are extremely rare. Price is determined by the intensity of the color, the absence of white inclusions in the stone, and the stone shape. The price for the average fancy black diamond typically starts at $2000 to $2500 per carat. Due to the difficulty of the cutting process, larger black diamond rings are a lot more expensive than smaller stones. For instance, a 3-carat fancy black diamond can cost over $8000 whereas a 9-carat stone can cost over $27000 without the ring setting.

Natural black diamonds typically have dark brown edges when viewed under a fiber optic light whereas black diamonds treated through irradiation appear dark green under the same light. It’s a quick way to determine whether a black diamond is natural or treated.

Styles of Black Diamond Rings

Black diamond rings come in a wide-range of styles. The unique, dark color of the stone makes it suitable for experimenting with different settings.

For instance, a growing trend in the jewelry market is setting a black diamond (whether natural or irradiated) in a tungsten ring band. Since both are black, they complement each other quite nicely. For a bit of contrast, small white diamonds are added as accent stones or a white gold or platinum stone setting is used to create contrast against the tungsten band.

It’s also fairly common to set a round black diamond in a halo and pave setting with small white diamonds as accent stones. Since black goes better with white, the most common material used for black diamond rings are silver, white gold, and platinum.

Rose gold and yellow gold are also used but they are relatively rare because the color of the stone clashes with the color of the metal.

Style is, of course, subjective so it’s up to you to decide which metal is suitable for a black diamond ring. While there is certainly a lot of interesting black diamond rings in the market, custom rings are always an option if you can’t find one that suits your taste.


Black diamond rings come in standard ring sizes. In the US and Canada, the standard ring sizes come in sizes 5 to 13. In the UK and in other countries, different sizing values are used so it’s best to measure your ring size in inches or centimeters so you can easily convert to its equivalent size in the country where you are purchasing the ring.

You can obtain the size of your ring finger either by using a standard ring size chart or by wrapping your ring finger in a piece of paper or string and manually measuring the length with a ruler.

If you are buying for someone else, it’s best to just discreetly borrow a ring from that person so you can use it for sizing when you buy the black diamond ring. Don’t worry if you don’t get the size right, as most jewelers offer resizing services for free if you purchase the ring from them.

Posted in  Colored Diamonds, Diamond Colors, Diamond Cuts, Valuing Diamonds |   Tagged 


Comparing Princess Cut Diamonds & Radiant Cut Diamonds

Princess cut and radiant cut diamonds share some similarities. Both are square cuts and both have a complete brilliant-cut pattern. When set on a ring, these two cuts can easily be interchanged at first glance.

Choosing between the two can be a difficult task, especially since both are superior when it comes to brilliance. You might want to compare two stones of the same carat, clarity, and color grade to determine which shape is more to your liking.

To determine the differences, let’s compare the two cuts based on the following factors:

Physical Characteristics

Princess cut is the second most popular cut next to the round brilliant. It is notable for its square shape and sharp corners. It is the first square cut to achieve the same brilliance as a round brilliant cut diamond.

While princess cut diamonds are traditionally square, there are some stones that are more rectangular than they are square. This depends on the length to width ratio of the diamond.

The radiant cut diamond is the second square cut to carry the same brilliant-cut pattern seen on round brilliant diamonds. Whereas the princess cut has sharp corners, radiant cut diamonds are square in shape with cropped corners. Its cropped corners may offer some practical advantages when it comes to stone setting.

Princess cut diamonds are always set on a prong stone setting to protect its corners from damage and chipping, an issue that is not present with the cropped corners of a radiant cut.

Princess cut diamonds also often have a larger table and more depth compared to radiant cuts.

Price and Demand

When it comes to pricing, princess cut diamonds are typically priced lower than radiant cut diamonds because there is very little waste when cutting a princess cut from the rough stone. This means that a diamond cutter can easily yield two princess cut diamonds from one rough stone with very little waste and as such, the market price is lower.

There is also a higher demand for princess cut diamonds compared to radiant cut diamonds so there is a bigger selection for the average consumer. Jewelers don’t stock up as much on radiant cuts as they do on princess cuts because of consumer demand so if you want more options, princess cut might be a more suitable choice for you.


A radiant cut diamond generally reflects more light than a princess cut diamond when viewed from the top. This is because when light enters a radiant cut diamond, it creates a circular pattern giving it more sparkle when it reflects light. Due to its cutting style, radiant cut diamonds also have more angles to let light in, allowing for more light to be reflected back to the surface.

Princess cut diamonds, on the other hand, are notable for its linear life. When light enters a princess cut diamond, the facets create an X in the center as a result of the contrast between light and dark facets. Due to the number of dark facets, princess cut diamonds don’t appear as sparkly as radiant cut diamonds when viewed from the top.

Radiant cut diamonds sometimes create a bow-tie effect as a result of the misalignment of facets in the diamond when light enters its surface.

Cut Quality

Princess cut diamonds are more abundant because manufacturers are able to maximize more of the rough stone during the diamond cutting process. As a result, there are more poor quality princess cut diamonds available in the market compared to radiant cut diamonds that focus more on preserving the aesthetic appeal of the stone over quantity.

Both cut styles have their own appeal and aesthetic value. In the end, it all boils down to personal preference. If price is the primary determining factor, however, princess cut diamonds are a better option because they have a cheaper per-carat price compared to radiant cut diamonds.

Posted in  Diamond Cuts |   Tagged