Category Archives: Types of Diamonds

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

Posted on Oct 03,2014

While not as popular as colorless diamond rings, blue diamond rings also has its share of the jewelry market. They are suited especially for people who are looking for a unique alternative to colorless diamonds.

Unlike colorless diamonds that are valued for the absence of color on the stone, blue diamonds are valued based on the intensity of color. There is also a different grading system for fancy color diamonds like blue diamonds.

Instead of being graded for their fire and brilliance, they are graded for the amount of color they show. As such, they are graded from light (showing the least color) to vivid (showing the most color).

For fancy color diamonds like blue diamonds, color is top-priority for jewelers.

Cost of Blue Diamond Rings

Compared to other fancy color diamonds, blue diamonds are very rare. Blue diamonds in the fancy intense and fancy vivid range are the rarest and most expensive.

Since natural blue diamonds are rare, a lot of the blue diamonds sold in jewelry stores are color-treated white diamonds. This is why it is important to check the origin report of the diamond before making a purchase to find out whether it is natural or color-treated.

Color-treated blue diamonds are relatively inexpensive since they are usually low-grade colorless diamonds that are treated to change color. Color treated blue diamond rings can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, depending on the treatment method, carat weight, clarity, and ring setting.

Natural blue diamonds, however, can cost as much as $250,000 per carat depending on the color intensity. Blue diamonds from the fancy light color range can also cost as much as $100,000 per carat, depending on the clarity and overall carat weight of the stone.

While clarity is also a consideration in pricing, color is still top-priority. As such, intense blue diamonds with visible inclusions are still priced very high as long as the face-up color value is desirable.

Styles of Blue Diamond Rings

Like colorless diamonds, blue diamond rings come in a wide-range of styles. For blue diamond engagement rings, halo and pave settings are very popular. These rings feature one large blue diamond in the center surrounded by a halo of small colorless diamonds on a pave diamond band.

Solitaire diamond rings are also very popular and are typically set in a prong setting of white gold. White gold and platinum are the most popular metals used for blue diamond rings but some styles also feature a combination of both yellow and white gold. A popular style for mixed metals is setting the diamond on a yellow gold prong stone setting and a white gold ring band.

While most blue diamond rings are paired with colorless diamond side stones, some also choose to pair blue diamonds with other fancy color diamonds like pink, yellow, red, or black.

There are some very unique blue diamond rings available online, such as art deco-inspired rings and blue diamonds set on a black band made of tungsten carbide.

When it comes to blue diamond ring styles, the options are virtually unlimited. If you can’t find a style you want, you can always have a blue diamond ring custom-made by a jeweler to suit your exact preferences.


Blue diamond rings can come in just about any ring size. If you’re shopping for yourself, then you can easily find a ring that fits you or have a ready-made ring resized for your finger.

However, if you are shopping for someone else, a good option would be to borrow a ring from the recipient and measure its size using a standard ring size chart.

In the US and Canada, ring sizes range from 5 to 13 and in the UK, ring sizes range from A to Z. Other countries may use different values for sizes so if you’re shopping abroad, it’s best to just convert the US ring size to its equivalent in the country you are buying the ring from.

You can always have the ring resized if you get the wrong size but for engagements, it’s always a plus if you get it right the first time.

Posted in  Colored Diamonds, Diamond Colors, Types of Diamonds |   Tagged 


Diamond Engagement Ring Styles – What Type of Ring Should You Get?

Posted on Sep 11,2014

For many brides-to-be, one of the main highlights of getting engaged is the engagement ring. This is why their partners go through such great lengths just to find the perfect ring for when they finally pop the question. While some couples choose to buy the ring together, many people still prefer to surprise their partners with an engagement ring ready when they propose.

While many modern engagement ring designs tend to be seasonal in style, it is not advisable to purchase a ring based on current trends. An engagement ring should be a classic and timeless piece that the bride can wear for the rest of her life. This does not mean, however, that you should only stick to classic styles, as every bride-to-be has her own personal preference when it comes to engagement rings. When choosing an engagement ring style, it all boils down to knowing your partner’s personal style and preference.   If you have questions on pricing, SMDJ has a resource on how engagement rings are priced.

If it is impossible to find out what style your partner prefers and you can’t get hints from close friends and family, there are some classic styles that you can choose from. These styles aren’t only safe options but they are also timeless in their elegance and appeal and will surely provide that “wow” factor when you finally propose.

The Classic Solitaire

The classic solitaire setting is perhaps the most popular style for engagement rings and is likely to remain that way in the future. Notable for its simplicity and elegance, a solitaire setting adds extra emphasis to the diamond. While round brilliant diamonds are the most popular diamond shape used for solitaires, virtually all fancy shapes will look good in the right solitaire setting. It’s just a matter of choosing the best stone setting to complement the diamond (i.e. prong, bezel, channel).

When it comes to solitaire engagement rings, however, the most popular stone setting style is the four-prong and six-prong (more popularly known as the tiffany setting). A classic solitaire engagement ring typically features a round brilliant stone with a thin band (in gold, white gold, or platinum) and a six prong setting.

A classic solitaire setting is a very safe option for people who want to propose with the ring in hand while still giving the bride-to-be the option to have the diamond reset in a different style of their choice later on. Since solitaire settings are relatively inexpensive, jewelers will often allow returns so the diamond can be reset in a different band.

Three-Stone Style

Three-stone rings typically feature three diamonds of the same shape with the two side stones being slightly smaller than the center stone. Some three-stone rings, however, may feature stones of similar sizes. Three-stone rings are more expensive than solitaires because of the number of diamonds on the ring. Three-stone rings usually hold a special meaning, as the three stones traditionally symbolize the couple’s past, present, and future. The most common stone setting used for this style is the prong setting, although other stone setting styles can also be used depending on preference.

Side-Stone Rings

Engagement rings with side stones are also very popular among couples. Rings with side stones come in an array of styles. Emerald cut engagement rings with side stones are usually set in a prong setting or channel setting for the side stones. The sides stones may or may not have the same shape as the center stone, depending on personal preference.

The most common style for rings with side stones is the pave setting. In a pave setting, the band is embedded with several tiny diamonds, giving extra emphasis and sparkle to the center stone. Side stones can be set in a pave setting, prong setting, channel setting, or bezel setting but the most popular option for engagement rings are either pave or channel setting.

Rings with Side Stones and Halo Setting

A popular trend in many engagements lately is a cushion cut engagement ring with a halo and pave setting. The center stone is surrounded in a halo of smaller diamonds and the band is also embedded with similar tiny diamonds, typically round brilliant diamonds. This adds extra sparkle and elegance to the center stone and can give the illusion of the center stone being bigger than its actual size.

Rose Gold Engagement Rings

While yellow gold, white gold, and platinum are the most popular metals used for engagement rings, rose gold is also gaining popularity among many couples. The feminine and vintage appeal of rose gold adds to its charm. Rose gold is a good option for pink diamonds because it emphasizes the presence of color in the diamond.

Vintage Engagement Rings   

Vintage engagement rings may not be as popular as their modern counterparts but there are some people who prefer vintage engagement rings for their charm and historical value. If you’re buying a vintage engagement ring, it’s important to know exactly what your partner prefers, as there are many styles from different periods (e.g. Edwardian, Victorian, art deco, etc). If your partner only likes the style of vintage engagement rings but would prefer a brand new ring, you can have a vintage style engagement ring custom made by your jeweler instead of buying an authentic vintage engagement ring. This is a safer option as you can handpick the diamond and the style to suit the recipient’s exact style preference.  You can read our full post on vintage engagement rings here.

Choosing an engagement ring for your bride-to-be might seem very intimidating but as long as you keep your partner’s personality and style in mind, you’ll be able to find something that would best suit her. Of course, you can always choose the safer route and either choose a ring together or have the ring set in a solitaire setting.  And if you need to sell a diamond ring (maybe she said no :( ), you can always sell an engagement ring online too.

Posted in  Diamond Engagement Rings, Types of Diamonds |   Tagged 


Guide to Diamond Cuts – Comparing Diamond Cuts

Posted on Sep 03,2014

Diamond cut can refer to two different aspects of a diamond’s physical characteristics: diamond cut grade and diamond shape. A diamond’s cut grade refers to how a diamond is cut, its proportions, polish, and symmetry whereas shape simply refers to the diamond’s physical shape (i.e. round, pear, emerald). We have discussed diamond cut grade extensively in previous posts and it has been established that the way a diamond is cut is one of the most important aspects that affects a diamond’s physical appearance. However, a diamond’s shape is just as important especially since it is one of the first things a person will notice when looking at a diamond (whether loose or set in a band).

Diamond shape is a matter of personal preference and as such, there are no fixed parameters that determine whether one shape is better than the other. One person might prefer the sparkle of a brilliant cut diamond whereas another might prefer the more subdued elegance of an emerald cut diamond.

While there is a myriad of diamond cuts available today, the most popular diamond cuts in terms of availability and demand are as follows:

Round Brilliant Cut     

The round brilliant cut is undoubtedly the most popular diamond cut today—accounting for 75% of all diamond sales. Its classic shape and ability to offer maximum fire and brilliance because of the way it is cut make it the most popular choice for many diamond buyers. It is also a very versatile shape that goes well with virtually any setting. Due to the high demand for round brilliant cuts, it is generally priced higher per carat compared to fancy cut diamonds.

Princess Cut     

The princess cut is the second most popular cut next to the round brilliant and the most popular fancy shape for diamonds. It is notable for its square shape, pointed corners, and excellent fire and brilliance. It is the closest square cut to achieve almost the same fire and brilliance as the round brilliant cut. Its shape also makes it a flexible option for many settings, although it is recommended to always set a princess cut diamond in a four-prong setting to protect its corners.

Compared to round brilliant cuts that wastes a lot of the rough stone when cut, princess cut diamonds have very little waste leading to a lower price per carat.

Emerald Cut                        

The emerald cut is adapted from the classic shape that emeralds are cut into, hence the name. It is popular for its subdued elegance, unique shape, and the hall-of-mirrors effect it creates when viewed from the surface. The emerald cut is a type of steps cut that is rectangular in shape and has cropped corners.

Since the emerald cut does not offer much fire and brilliance, inclusions and imperfections are much more visible on an emerald cut diamond compared to brilliant cuts. As such, buyers should pay extra attention to clarity when buying an emerald cut diamond especially for bigger stones.

Asscher Cut        

The Asscher cut is very similar to the emerald cut in appearance but it is square in shape instead of rectangular. While some refer to this cut as a modified emerald cut, it actually preceded the emerald cut. The Asscher cut has been in existence since 1902.

Asscher cut diamonds have larger step facets and a smaller table. It also typically has a higher crown than an emerald cut diamond. A well-cut asscher cut diamond will often deliver more brilliance than a well-cut emerald cut diamond because of its facet and table size.

Cushion Cut

Cushion cut diamonds are square in shape with rounded corners. It has been around for more than 2 centuries and used to be the shape of choice among diamond buyers. It used to be the most popular diamond shape before the round brilliant cut exceeded its demand. Due to recent cut improvements, the cushion cut is slowly regaining popularity. It is especially popular in many celebrity engagements and is typically set in a halo pave setting. While the cushion cut does not offer as much brilliance as the round brilliant cut, it typically offers more fire than other cuts.

Radiant Cut                              

Notable for its vibrancy and brightness, the radiant cut is an ideal option for those who want the fire and brilliance of a round brilliant cut but the rectangular shape of an emerald cut. The radiant cut is a brilliant cut diamond that is faceted both in the pavilion and the crown for extra fire and brilliance. While traditionally rectangular with cropped corners, some variations are squarer in shape than rectangular.


The oval shape is a modified brilliant cut. It is very similar to the round brilliant cut in terms of the amount of fire and brilliance it exhibits when viewed from the surface. While not as popular as the round brilliant, some people prefer the oval shape because they are elongated and appear bigger even with smaller carat sizes.


The heart shape is also a modified brilliant cut. It is very similar to the pear shape except it has two clefts on the top of each side to create an obvious heart shape. It is more popularly used in earrings and pendants. When used in engagement rings, it is not recommended to get anything smaller than .50 carats as it is difficult to notice the heart shape at all. For smaller heart shaped diamonds, a three-prong setting is recommended to accentuate its shape.


The pear shape is another modified brilliant cut that is noted for its similarity to the round brilliant cut on one end and the marquise cut on the other end. One of the most important characteristics that any buyer should look for when choosing a pear shape diamond is symmetry. It is important for pear shaped diamonds to have excellent symmetry because of its shape. Ideally, the point at one end of a pear shape diamond should be in line with the highest part of the rounded end to achieve a perfect pear shape.

Comparison Chart for Different Cuts       

A diamond’s shape will have an effect on its physical size regardless of carat weight. Different cuts have different sizes, which is why some people prefer shapes that make a diamond appear bigger than it actually is. Below is a side-by-side comparison of the different diamond shapes and their estimated physical size, although it is worth noting that no two diamonds are the same even with the similar carat weights:

Diamond Cut Chart

Posted in  Diamond Cuts, Types of Diamonds |   Tagged 


4Cs Diamond Chart – Cut, Clarity, Carat, and Color

Posted on Aug 25,2014

Buying a diamond might seem like a daunting task especially for the first-time buyer but using established standards to determine what sets a quality stone apart from the rest should make the process a whole lot easier. Anyone who is interested in buying a diamond or learning more about diamonds should start with the 4Cs (Cut, Clarity, Carat, and Color). Established by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America), the 4Cs is the global standard used for grading and describing diamonds.

The 4Cs in Detail

The 4Cs make it easy for jewelers to set prices for diamonds and consumers to determine whether a particular diamond suits their personal preferences. A diamond’s characteristics based on standards of cut, color, clarity, and carat heavily determines its value.


Some people mistake a diamond’s cut for a diamond’s shape. Cut is different from shape. A diamond’s cut refers to how it is proportioned, its symmetry, and as well as its polish.  A diamond’s cut is determined not only by the quality of the rough stone but by the craftsmanship and preciseness of the diamond cutter. Cut is very important in a diamond, as it can greatly affect its external appearance. Even the most flawless of diamonds can look dull if not cut to exacting proportions.

The GIA uses the following grading system to describe a diamond’s cut:


A diamond with an excellent cut grade offers maximum fire (amount of light that is reflected by the diamond as result of the optimum dispersion of light as it enters the diamond) and brilliance (brightness of the diamond). It is neither cut too deep nor too shallow. It also has excellent symmetry (refers to how each facet of a diamond is angled to allow for maximum brilliance) and has excellent polish  (refers to how smooth each facet is).

A diamond that has an excellent cut grade is able to reflect most of the light that enters the diamond.

Very Good

Diamonds that are graded “Very Good” are cheaper than excellent cuts but are almost very similar in terms of fire and brilliance when viewed with normal lighting. While there are differences in cut quality compared to excellent cut diamonds, it is unnoticeable to the untrained eye.


Diamonds that are graded “Good” in terms of cut quality offer the best value for money. They are not nearly as expensive as diamonds with very good or excellent cut grades but they offer superior fire and brilliance. Such diamonds are able to reflect most of the light that enters the diamond.


A diamond with a fair cut grade allows most of the light that enters the stone to escape either from the bottom or the sides of the diamond. As such, fire and brilliance is significantly reduced resulting in a dull and lifeless appearance especially for bigger stones. It is recommended not to get a diamond with a fair cut grade for stones that are bigger than .75 carats, as the effects of the cut quality are quite apparent.


Diamonds of poor cut grading cannot reflect majority of the light that enters it. Instead, most of the light is allowed to escape from the bottom and sides. As a result, diamonds of this caliber are very dull and lifeless. Most jewelers don’t offer diamonds of poor cut grades because of the low demand.

Since Cut is the most important quality when it comes to a diamond’s appearance, it is important to pay close attention to a diamond’s cut grade. Cut is extremely important in brilliant cuts like the round brilliant and princess cut, as these diamond shapes are valued for their excellent fire and brilliance.


Most diamonds contain inclusions (imperfections within the diamond). Inclusions that are concealed or hidden from plain sight are ideal because they don’t affect the way a diamond reflects light. Inclusions that are very visible can affect the way light bounces on individual facets of a diamond and can therefore greatly affect a diamond’s fire, brilliance, and scintillation.

A diamond’s clarity is graded based on the quantity of inclusions and their location in the diamond.  The GIA uses the following parameters to describe a diamond’s clarity grade:

FL (Flawless)

Do not contain any visible inclusions (internal flaws) and blemishes (flaws located on the surface) even under 10x magnification. These diamonds are virtually flawless and are extremely rare and expensive.

IF (Internally Flawless)

IF diamonds have no visible inclusions or blemishes unless viewed under 10x magnification by a trained expert.

VVS1 VVS2 (Very Very Slightly Included)

VVS1 and VVS2 diamonds contain some inclusions and blemishes but they are not visible to the untrained eye. Even under 10x magnification, only a skilled grader is able to spot the inclusions on a diamond of VVS1 or VVS2 Clarity.


VS1 VS2 (Very Slightly Included)

Diamonds of VS1 or VS2 clarity grades contain minor inclusions that are not visible to the naked eye. The inclusions can only be seen under 10x magnification.

SI1 SI2 (Slightly Included)

Diamonds with SI1 clarity contain inclusions that are still invisible to the naked eye and can usually only be observed under 10x magnification. SI2 diamonds, on the other hand, contain inclusions that can be seen by the naked eye upon close inspection.

I1, I2, I3 (Included)

I1 to I3 Diamonds contain very visible inclusions that can be observed by the naked eye. I2 and I3 diamonds usually contain inclusions that can affect a diamond’s overall quality and appearance.


The color of diamonds, except for fancy color diamonds, are graded based on the absence of color in the diamond. Colorless diamonds are very clear and contain no traces of color (e.g. yellow or brown).

Diamond color is graded on a scale of D to Z. D, E, and F diamonds are considered the rarest, as they are virtually colorless whereas diamonds in the G and H color range are near colorless except for a slight tinge which can be eliminated with the proper setting (e.g. white gold or platinum). Diamonds in the I to J color range offer the best value for money, as they are about 10% cheaper than diamonds in the G to H range but still appear colorless to the naked eye.

The chart below illustrates the color range of diamonds from A to Z.

Diamond Color Chart

Carat Weight

While many people think of carat weight in relation to a diamond’s size, it actually refers to how heavy a diamond is. The size of a diamond is determined by its diameter and crown size (measured in mm and mm2, respectively).

A diamond’s value increases the heavier it is, although two diamonds of the same carat size can have different prices depending on their cut, color, and clarity. In addition, two diamonds of the same carat weight can have different sizes depending on how they are cut.

Most diamonds of equal quality are sold on a price-per-carat basis. So if a diamond is priced at $3000 per carat, you can expect to pay double that amount for a 2-carat diamond of the same quality. This system makes it easier to compare prices and determine budgets for diamonds of the same quality.

The chart below illustrates different diamonds of varying carat weights in relation to their size in mm.

Diamond Carat Weight

Posted in  Diamond Cuts, Types of Diamonds |   Tagged 


Diamond Color Chart & Guide – What Different Colors Do Diamonds Come In?

Posted on Jul 23,2014

Diamonds come in a wide-range of colors (e.g. pink, blue, black, yellow) but in white diamonds color actually refers to the absence of color in the diamond. White diamonds are valued higher; the more colorless they appear to the naked eye.

Color is a very important characteristic in a white diamond. Part of the 4Cs of diamond grading, it is one of the most important factors that consumers consider when purchasing a stone. The GIA uses a scale of D to Z when grading diamond color, with D being the most colorless and Z showing the most color. While diamonds on the lower end of the scale can show some color, they are still categorized as white diamonds. Fancy yellow diamonds are graded differently and are valued higher the more color they show.

Diamond Color Guide for White Diamonds

Diamond Color Chart

Colorless Diamonds

D, E, F

D to F diamonds are all graded as colorless diamonds. Despite belonging to the same colorless grade, there are slight differences in color among the three but it’s difficult to spot with an untrained eye. Only gemologists and trained valuation experts are able to notice these differences in color.

Near Colorless Diamonds

G, H

G and H Diamonds are near colorless. While they show some color, it is barely visible to the naked eye. As such, diamonds in the G to H range are still considered very valuable and are priced very high.

Near Colorless – Slightly Tinted

I, J

Still categorized as near colorless, I to J diamonds are abundant in jewelry stores and other retail establishments. Such diamonds offer great value to consumers, as they sell for much lower than diamonds in the D to F range and diamonds in the G to H range white still maintaining a near colorless appearance especially when set in a platinum or white gold band. Diamonds in these color grades typically retail for 50% less than those in the D to F range.

Faint Yellow

K, L, M

Diamonds in this color range often carry some noticeable color that can be seen by the naked, untrained eye. They usually sell for half the price of diamonds in the G to H range. Setting a diamond in this color range on a platinum or white gold setting may lessen the visible yellow tinge but color is still visible when viewed up-close.

Very Light Yellow

N to R

N to R diamonds show more color than those in the K to M range and are usually avoided by many, as the yellow color may sometimes appear brown and murky. Due to the presence of color, there isn’t a very high demand for diamonds in this color range. As such, most jewelers don’t carry diamonds in the N to R color range.

Light Yellow

S to Z

Diamonds in the S to Z range show a lot of color. Like diamonds in the N to R range, there is a low demand for diamonds in this color range, which is why few jewelers stock such diamonds.

Yellow and Brown Diamonds

Diamonds that show an intense yellow or brown color are graded as fancy color diamonds. The color in these diamonds are much more intense than Z-color diamonds and are valued not for the absence of color but rather for the presence of color. The Tiffany Diamond is one of the most valuable fancy yellow diamonds discovered. It is also one of the largest, weighing 287.42 carats. Fancy yellow diamonds have gained popularity in recent years due to jewelry chains like Tiffany and Co. and some celebrity engagements.

Other Fancy Color Diamonds

Unlike colorless diamonds, which are graded for the absence of color on the stone, fancy color diamonds like blue, pink, and black are graded for the presence of color in the stone. The more intense and saturated the color in fancy color diamonds, the higher the value.

Since diamonds are priced and valued for their rarity, fancy color diamonds typically sell for much higher than colorless diamonds (sometimes, even higher than colorless diamonds in the D to F color range).

Some of the most expensive diamonds in the world are green diamonds, blue diamonds, and pink diamonds that are high in saturation. Natural black diamonds can also be very expensive especially since most black diamonds in the market are lab treated low-grade colorless diamonds.

Like white diamonds, slight differences in color on fancy color diamonds can significantly affect its value and price.

Since not all diamonds of the same color show the same amount of intensity and saturation, they are graded based on the intensity of the color they show when in the face-up position.  They are classified using the following color grades: Faint, Very Light, Light, Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, Fancy Dark, Fancy Deep, and Fancy Vivid.

Basically, the more intense and saturated the color is in a fancy color diamond, the more valuable and expensive it is.

Available Colors

Fancy Colored Diamonds

Diamond colors come in a very large variety and gem laboratories use 27 different color hues to describe a diamond (e.g. orange, red, green, blue, violet, purple, orangish red, bluish-green, bluish-violet, reddish-purple, etc.)

Diamond colors can come in red, pink, purple, yellow, blue, steel gray, black, milky white, and brown. Of all the fancy color diamonds, brown diamonds are the most common. Despite being the earliest diamonds used in jewelry, they are not very popular with consumers. Consumers usually prefer brown diamonds that are very dark in color compared to lighter varieties.

Aside from rarity, fancy color diamonds typically increase in popularity when they are featured in celebrity engagements and other high-profile engagements.

Posted in  Diamond Colors, Types of Diamonds |   Tagged 


Diamond Solitaire Engagement Rings – Classic, Timeless Ring Styles

Posted on Jul 14,2014

There’s nothing quite like a solitaire engagement ring setting to emphasize the beauty and brilliance of a diamond. It is one of the most popular styles when it comes to engagement rings because of its classic appeal and elegance. Many women prefer the solitaire style because it suits just about any diamond shape.

If you’ve chosen to propose with a diamond solitaire engagement ring, you’ve made the right choice. Not only is it one of the safest options if you’re not sure about the recipient’s style preference but it is also the easiest style to find in jewelry stores and other venues.

Choosing the perfect diamond solitaire engagement ring can be a daunting task especially with the number of options available to you from different venues. The key to finding the perfect ring is setting some parameters before making a purchase. Shopping around online and viewing different styles will allow you to make a much more informed decision when it comes to the stone and the setting of the ring. Below are some factors to consider aside from the 4Cs (carat, color, clarity, and cut) when buying a solitaire engagement ring:

Stone Shape

Since a diamond solitaire engagement ring only features one diamond, the shape of the stone is one of the most important things that you should consider. It is best to have this aspect set before the buying process begins so that you won’t be overwhelmed with the number of available diamond shapes once you do start to view rings.

Without a doubt, the most popular stone shape for solitaire engagement rings is the round brilliant. Over half of engagement ring purchases are round brilliant solitaires. Since a solitaire setting puts special emphasis on the stone, you’ll probably want to choose a stone that has exceptional brilliance. Brilliant cuts like the round brilliant and princess cut are excellent options. Other brilliant cut stone shapes include oval, cushion, heart, and marquise.

The beauty in the solitaire style is that it suits just about any stone shape available even step cuts like the emerald cut and the asscher cut so it really is just a matter of style preference. If you are unsure about the style preference of the recipient, the round brilliant would be the safest option for a diamond solitaire engagement ring.

Stone Setting

Another important factor when choosing a diamond solitaire engagement ring is the stone’s setting. This aspect goes beyond aesthetics, as you’ll also have to consider functionality (i.e. whether the setting will be able to hold the stone safely even with everyday use). The type of stone setting you choose will depend on its size and its shape.

The most popular stone setting for round brilliant solitaire engagement rings is the prong setting because it is not only practical but also minimalistic in design, giving the stone extra emphasis. Prong settings usually come with either four or six prongs (tiffany setting) but for diamond shapes like the heart, a three-prong setting is ideal to emphasize the shape of the stone.

Another popular setting is the cathedral setting, named as such because the arches that hold the stone resemble the vaulted ceilings of old cathedrals. This stone setting is ideal for smaller diamonds, as it offers the diamond more visibility, making it look bigger in size.

Modern stone settings for solitaire engagement rings include the bezel setting and the tension setting. While the bezel setting is more popularly used in earrings and pendants, it has gained popularity for engagement rings as well, particularly for round brilliants and square cuts like the radiant cut or emerald cut.

For the perfect diamond solitaire engagement ring, you might want to consider choosing a loose stone and then choosing the setting separately instead of buying a pre-designed ring. This will make it easier to design a ring that would suit the recipient’s personality and preference.

Posted in  Buying a Diamond, Diamond Cuts, Diamond Engagement Rings, Types of Diamonds |   Tagged 


Asscher Cut Engagement Rings

Posted on Jun 05,2014

The asscher cut diamond has regained its popularity over the last decade due to improvements made to its cut. The modern day asscher cut has more fire and brilliance than the classic asscher cut. Its square shape, large facets, and its elegant and regal appeal have made it a popular choice especially for engagement rings.

Asscher cut diamonds are stepped-cut, undergoing a similar process of cutting to emerald cuts. As a result, asscher cut diamonds are very similar to square emerald cuts; both have 58 facets and have cropped corners.

Selling Asscher Cut Engagement Rings

The rising popularity of asscher cut engagement rings is good news for sellers as it means that prices have also increased. However, since step cuts like the asscher cut and emerald cut emphasize a stone’s clarity, inclusions are more visible compared to round brilliant cut diamonds so it might be harder to get a good price especially for lower grade stones if you sell to a pawnshop.

If you have an Asscher cut engagement ring that you want to sell, it’s best to consider several options so that you can get a fair deal for your diamond. As with selling any diamond, knowing the exact specifications of your stone will make it easier for you to find a fair deal. You can have your stone appraised at a local pawnshop and jeweler to get an idea of its value and what you can get for it. However, if you want to get the best deal out of the transaction, one of your best options would be to sell to an online diamond buyer. Online diamond buyers offer better prices for diamonds because they have lower overhead costs and all reputable ones have expertise in diamond valuations. Transactions are also a lot more convenient since everything is done over the Internet.

Buying Asscher Cut Engagement Rings

If you’re in the market for an engagement ring and you have your heart set on an Asscher cut diamond, knowing the ideal specifications will help you out a great deal when choosing the ideal ring suited for your taste and your budget.


The original asscher cut diamond did not have much fire and brilliance, which is why modern ones have undergone many improvements to add more fire and brilliance to the stone. Modern asscher cut diamonds are very similar to square emerald cut diamonds except that an asscher cut diamond, cut to modern standards, typically have larger facets, a smaller table, and a taller crown height. Many people prefer a well-cut asscher cut diamond over an emerald cut because the former, when cut to exacting standards are capable of more brilliance than emerald cuts.

The length to width ratio of an asscher cut diamond is 1.00 but the GIA’s range for a square diamond is 1.00 to 1.05.

If you’re buying an asscher cut diamond engagement ring, you should also take note of the following parameters when it comes to cut to get the most ideal stone for your budget:

Depth Percentage

When shopping for Asscher cut diamonds, look for a depth percentage within the 60% to 68% range.

Table Percentage

Asscher cuts that have a table percentage within the 60% to 68% range are considered very good to excellent. While the ideal range would be around 65% to 67%, these can be difficult to find.


Step cuts like the asscher cut show more color than round brilliants and princess cuts so if you’re looking for a diamond that is colorless or as near colorless as possible, we recommend you set a minimum standard of H. While any color above H is better, price can significantly go up the more colorless the stone especially for asscher cuts. While color is subjective, most people prefer colorless diamonds to those that retain color.


Since the classic asscher cut does not have as much fire and brilliance than round brilliant or princess cut diamonds, flaws and inclusions are much more visible on the surface. This is why clarity is of utmost importance when choosing an Asscher cut diamond. Setting a minimum standard of VS2 is recommended if you want the stone to appear as flawless as possible to the naked eye.

Where to Buy

Blue Nile

Blue Nile offers a wide selection of asscher cut diamonds. Those who want a truly excellent asscher cut would find the Blue Nile signature asscher cut to be a worthy option.  Their signature cuts have smaller tables, taller crown heights, and wider corners, which allow the diamond to capture more light and produce more brilliance. Below are some suitable options from Blue Nile:

Choices from Amazon:

Amazon features several asscher cut diamond engagement rings that suit different budgets. We have preselected a few options below:

Posted in  Diamond Cuts, Types of Diamonds |   Tagged 


What is a Radiant Cut Diamond?

Posted on Jun 03,2014

Radiant Cut DiamondA radiant cut diamond, also known as a cut cornered modified brilliant, is a square or rectangular diamond with cropped corners. Radiant cut diamonds are famous for their fire and brilliance. It is the first square cut diamond that feature brilliant cut facets on the pavilion and crown. As such, it is recommended for those who want the brilliance of the classic round cut and the unique shape of the asscher cut or emerald cut.  Whereas an emerald cut is notable for its long lines, a radiant cut is more faceted to maximize fire and brilliance.

Rectangular radiant cut diamonds sometimes display an effect called the “bow-tie” effect. This is common in elongated diamond shapes like pear, marquise, and oval. While some people prefer a more visible bow tie that runs through the middle of a diamond, the only way to ascertain its visibility is through close inspection of the stone.



Like the emerald cut, radiant cut diamonds can sometimes appear square or rectangular. The ideal length to width ration of a radiant cut depends entirely on personal preference, as some people may prefer a more elongated cut whereas others may prefer a square cut.

A perfect square radiant cut has a length-to-width ratio of 1.00 but anything that is less than 1.05 will still appear square to the naked eye. Those who prefer a more rectangular cut should look for a length-to-width ratio of 1.15 to 1.30. People who are looking for a diamond that has the appeal of both a princess cut and a cushion cut might find a square radiant cut a suitable option whereas those who like the rectangular shape of a classic emerald cut but want the brilliance of a round brilliant cut would find a rectangular cut a more suitable choice.

For a well-cut radiant cut diamond, look for a table percentage of 58% to 69% and a depth percentage of 59% to 67%.


Radiant cut diamonds are known for maximizing color so it may show more color than other diamond types. If you prefer a colorless diamond, look for something within the D to F range but if you prefer a warmer diamond with a tinge of yellow, you can explore diamonds within the G to K range. Radiant cut diamonds within the S to Z range may sometimes be classified as fancy yellow depending on how much color is visible on the diamond. If you prefer a fancy yellow diamond, you can look for stones within that range.

Loose Radiant Cut DiamondClarity

Since radiant cut diamonds are brilliant cuts, flaws and inclusions aren’t as visible on them as they are on emerald cut diamonds or asscher cut diamonds. As such, those in the SI1 range are still considered very good even in 1-carat stones. However, for stones larger than 1.0 carat, a minimum clarity of VS2 is recommended.


Due to its fire and brilliance, a radiant cut diamond will look good in a solitaire setting but it can also look excellent with square cornered or rounded accent stones. While the setting entirely depends on preference, it is recommended that the diamond be set with a minimum of four prongs for safety.

While not nearly as popular as round brilliant cuts, radiant cut diamonds are just as stunning as they combine the elegant appeal of princess cut diamonds and emerald cut diamonds with the shine and sparkle of round brilliants.

Posted in  Types of Diamonds, Valuing Diamonds |   Tagged 


What is a Cushion Cut Diamond?

Posted on May 28,2014

Cushion Cut DiamondA cushion cut diamond, also known as pillow-cut, is a square-shaped diamond with rounded corners. Unlike other fancy cuts that are relatively newer, the cushion cut has been around for almost two centuries and before the round brilliant cut rose in popularity; the cushion cut was the cut of choice among many diamond buyers.

Today, due to its popularity especially with celebrity engagements, the cushion cut has become the third most popular diamond cut next to the round brilliant and princess cuts.

The primary appeal of a cushion cut diamond, aside from its unique shape, is its fire and brilliance. Cushion cut diamonds have larger facets, which increase their brilliance and showcases their clarity.  For more information on the 4C’s, you can take a look at our diamond grading page.



Traditionally, the cushion cut had a bigger culet but this has been decreased over the decades as a result of cut improvements. While cushion cuts are traditionally square, some may prefer more rectangular cuts but the rounded corners remain a key feature.

The ideal length to width ratio of square cushion cuts is 1.00 (a perfect square) but anything within the 1.00 to 1.05 range is still considered an ideal square.

Those who prefer slightly more rectangular cuts should look for a length to width ratio of 1.10 to 1.20. The basic range for table and depth percentages for cushion cuts is 54% to 62% and 59% to 64%, respectively.

However, since cushion cuts have more variety when it comes to its characteristics, some may prefer table and depth percentages within 58% to 67%. It is recommended that the table percentage be smaller than the depth percentage but this is also a matter of personal taste.

Since small to no culets are preferred in modern cuts, a very good cut should have a very small culet and an excellent cut should have no culet.

Loose Cushion Cut DiamondColor

Like other fancy cut diamonds, color is subjective in cushion cut diamonds. If you prefer colorless cushion cuts or as close to colorless as possible, look for diamonds within the D to G color range for stones less than .50 carats. As for stones bigger than half a carat, look for diamonds within the D to F range. Some people may prefer more color in cushion cut diamonds because it adds to its antique charm.


Since cushion cuts have larger facets that emphasize its clarity, inclusions are more obvious in cushion cuts than they are in round brilliant cuts. If you’re purchasing a diamond within the SI range clarity, make sure that the inclusions are not in the visible areas. Depending on your setting, you can conceal more obvious inclusions with accent stones such as in a halo setting. As with most cuts, diamonds that are smaller than .50 carats within the SI range are still considered “Very Good” but the bigger the diamond, the more obvious the inclusions. So if you are considering a bigger stone, you have to pay close attention to where these inclusions are located within the stone.


While solitaire cushion cuts are also relatively popular, the most popular setting for cushion cuts for consumers is the halo setting, as it makes the main stone look bigger. A halo setting also gives it a more elegant, regal charm. Some may also prefer a halo setting along with a pave band to give the ring more sparkle. When placed in a halo setting, some people may prefer the bezel set design over the prong set design, although this is also a matter of personal preference.

Posted in  Diamond Cuts, Diamond Engagement Rings, Types of Diamonds |   Tagged 


What is a Princess Cut Diamond?

Posted on May 15,2014

The princess cut or square modified brilliant is the second most popular diamond shape used on engagement rings next to the traditional round brilliant cut. Princess cut diamonds are traditionally square with sharp corners but some appear to be more rectangular than square. When viewed from the side, its shape looks like an inverted pyramid. Unlike the round brilliant cut which has been around for more than 100 years, the princess cut is a relatively new shape, only having been invented in the 1960s.


Princess cut diamonds and round brilliant diamonds generally have the same degree of brilliance, although they have different faceting styles. A round brilliant diamond has 58 facets whereas a princess cut diamond has 76 facets, which highly contributes to its fire and brilliance.


As previously mentioned, most princess cut diamonds are square from the surface but others are more rectangular. This will depend on the buyer’s preference. To determine how square or rectangular a princess cut diamond is, you should look at the length to width ratio of the diamond (i.e. length/width= length to width ratio). Square princess cut diamonds are within the 1 to 1.05 ratio so if you want a square diamond, you should check if the length to width ratio falls within this range. Those with length to width rations higher than 1.10 are more rectangular.

Square princess cuts are more expensive than rectangular ones but some people may prefer a more rectangular princess cut depending on the setting. When set with side stones, rectangular princess cut diamonds can look squarer than it actually is.

Princess Cut DiamondsColor

When it comes to color, valuing a princess cut diamond is the same as any other colorless diamond; with the D to F range being excellent and more expensive and warmer colors from G to Z being cheaper. It is worth noting, however, that color may be more visible on the edges of a princess cut diamond than it is on a round brilliant diamond so a J-color diamond may appear more yellow on the sides compared to a J-color round brilliant diamond. While some people prefer warmer colors for princess cut diamonds (i.e. around the G to H range). The smaller the diamond, the less visible the color is, which is why G-color princess cut diamonds that are less than .50 carats are still rated excellent.


Princess cut diamonds can conceal inclusions better than round brilliant diamonds because of their brilliance. Some customers don’t mind not having such an excellent clarity grading as long as the inclusions are not very visible, although others are more particular about the clarity of their diamonds in a technical sense.


It is highly recommended that princess cut diamonds be set with prongs on each corner because the corners are susceptible to chipping and should be protected. The corners of princess cut diamonds may also have extra inclusions and facets, which would not look very good if not concealed.

Princess cut diamonds are highly preferred by consumers because its fire and brilliance is almost at par with that of round brilliant diamonds. Its unique shape and bigger appearance also adds to its appeal. Of all the diamond cuts, the princess cut wastes the least of the original rough stone that it is cut from. As a result, it is cheaper in price compared to round brilliant diamonds and other cuts.

Princess Cut Diamond Setting

Posted in  Cash for Diamonds, Types of Diamonds |   Tagged