Tag Archives: Diamond Grading

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 Grade Chart – Grading Diamonds for their Value Using the 4C’s

Posted on Aug 04,2014

A diamond’s grade is often what determines its price and value. Most diamonds sold in jewelry stores and online stores come with a diamond grading report that illustrates its qualities and specifications. Larger, higher-grade diamonds typically come with a grading report from a reputable third party institute like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), EGL, AGS, and others.

A diamond’s grade is determined by the 4Cs (cut, color, clarity, and carat weight). While there are other factors that can affect a diamond’s physical appearance and value, the four Cs of a diamond are the most important characteristics. As such, gemologists worldwide use these four parameters to determine the grade of most diamonds.

Diamond Grade Chart

Cut Grade

Chart of different Diamond Cuts

Chart of different Diamond Cuts

When buying a diamond, one of the most important factors you should consider is its cut grade. The cut determines a diamond’s physical appearance and as such, should be prioritized. Diamond cut is graded from excellent (provides maximized brilliance, reflects the most light back to the surface) to poor (most light escapes at the bottom or the sides of the diamond, providing little to no brilliance).  Below are the most important parameters that determine a diamond’s cut grade:

Cut Proportions

A diamond’s cut proportions affect the stone’s fire, brilliance, and scintillation. It is determined by how each facet in the diamond is angled, sized, and shaped. In a well-cut diamond, each facet is strategically placed so that the most amount of life is reflected out of the crown for the observer to enjoy. A poorly cut diamond (i.e. too shallow or too deep) does not reflect much light because the facets allow the light to escape from the bottom or the sides instead of being reflected back to the observer’s eye.


As the term suggests, symmetry refers to how symmetrical the facets of each diamond are in relation to each other (i.e. how each facet aligns and intersects). A diamond’s symmetry is graded from excellent to poor.


Polish is determined by how smooth the facets are in a diamond. A diamond with an excellent polish will not show any defects even under 10x magnification whereas a diamond with poor polish will show defects even without magnification.

Other factors that determine a diamond’s cut grade include girdle width and culet size, which also affect a diamond’s brilliance and overall appearance.

Color Grade

In colorless diamonds, color grade refers to the amount or lack of color in a diamond. The more colorless a diamond, the higher its color grade. Colorless diamonds are more valuable than diamonds that show a yellow tinge.

Colorless diamonds in the D, E, and F color range are the most expensive of all.  Diamonds in the G to J range are still near colorless but there is about a 10% price difference in each color grade. Diamonds in the I and J color range have the most demand in the market because they are readily available and offer great value for money.

GIA Certification Color Grading Scale

GIA Certification Color Grading Scale

Clarity Grade

All diamonds contain inclusions  (defects or blemishes within the diamond). Inclusions can affect a diamond’s physical appearance, as it can interfere with the passage of light in the diamond, which in turn can affect the amount of light reflected back to the surface. A diamond’s clarity grade determines the amount of inclusions in the diamond. When grading a diamond, gemologists consider several factors including the position, size, and quantity of these inclusions under 10x magnification. Inclusions that are located in the girdle or under the bezel of a diamond is ideal because they are not visible and barely affects a diamond’s brilliance.

The GIA uses 11 categories for a diamond’s clarity these include: flawless (FL),  internally flawless(IF), very very slightly included (VVS1, VVS2), Very Slightly Included (VS1, VS2), Slightly Included (SI1, SI2), and Included (I1, I2, I3).

Brilliant cuts are more forgiving of inclusions because their facets are positioned in such a way as to maximize brilliance whereas other fancy cuts like the emerald cut and asscher cut (which are step cuts) are less forgiving of inclusions.

Diamond Clarity Grading Chart

Diamond Clarity Grading Chart


Of all the qualities of a diamond, the carat weight is probably one of the most important for most people. Diamonds can significantly increase in price and value the bigger it is. This is because rough stones that can produce a 1-carat diamond is rare. This is why price increases so much as you go up per carat.

It is worth noting, however, that carat refers to a diamond’s weight and not necessarily its size. The size of a diamond is determined by its diameter and crown size. This means that two diamonds of the same carat weight may not necessarily have the same physical size when viewed from the top. Its cut proportions determine the actual size of the diamond; carat weight merely refers to how heavy the diamond is. The length x width ratio of a diamond also determines how big it will appear once set in a ring.

Diamond Carat Size Chart

Diamond Carat Size Chart

All the characteristics mentioned above determine how valuable a diamond is and are therefore, dependent of each other. While no two diamonds are virtually the same, these parameters help jewelers and consumers determine the price and value of a diamond.

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


Pink Diamond Engagement Rings

Posted on Jul 02,2014

Pink Engagement RingsWhile colorless diamonds are still the most popular option for many people, there is an increasing interest in fancy color diamonds like pink diamonds due to their rarity and unique appeal. Most fancy color diamonds obtain their coloring from impurities but unlike colorless diamonds which are prized especially for their flawlessness, fancy color diamonds are highly prized for the presence of color even with the presence of some inclusions.

Pink diamonds come in a range of colors, some appear brownish pink, purplish pink, orange pink, and some fancy deep pinks appear almost red. Most pink diamonds in the market are very pale as they are more common than intense pink diamonds.

Like other fancy color diamonds, the more intense the color in a pink diamond, the more expensive and rare it is.

Selling Pink Diamond Engagement Rings

Due to their rarity, pink diamonds are very much prized by jewelers and collectors. If you have a pink diamond engagement ring that you want to sell, you’ll certainly be able to find many interested buyers. However, pricing still depends on a variety of factors including the intensity of color, carat weight, clarity, and cut.

Since fancy color diamonds are graded primarily for their color before other factors are considered, it might be best if you sell your pink diamond engagement ring to a buyer who has a good understanding of fancy color diamond grading. While you can always approach a pawnshop or your local jeweler to get a quote, if you want to get a good price for your engagement ring, it’s better to sell to someone who has a lot of experience in fancy color diamond grading. Not only will they have a better idea of your diamond’s worth but they’ll also be able to offer a better price.

A good choice, especially for fancy color diamonds and other rare stones, is to sell to an online diamond buyer. Most reputable online diamond buyers have diamond valuations experts who will be able to value your fancy color diamond properly and offer you a fair price for it.

Buying Pink Diamond Engagement Rings

Buying a fancy pink diamond for engagement rings is not only a good option for those who are looking to veer away from the more common colorless variety, but it is also a good investment. As fancy color diamonds don’t wear out as easily as colorless diamonds, they increase in value overtime. Pink diamond engagement rings aren’t only valuable for their unique color but as well as for their financial appeal.

If you are in the market for a pink diamond engagement ring, then you might want to consider the following diamond grading factors when choosing the stone:


Like all fancy diamonds, the value of a pink diamond increases the more color it shows. While clarity, carat, and cut are still important factors to consider when choosing a pink diamond, color is the most important consideration.

Pink diamonds are graded according to the intensity of color. The terms used for color grading are: faint pink, very light pink, light pink, fancy light pink, fancy pink, fancy intense pink, fancy dark pink, fancy deep pink, and fancy vivid pink. Other jewelers use very specific terms when referring to a pink diamond’s color. For example, you might find descriptions like “fancy deep brown pink”, “fancy light brown pink”, and “fancy vivid purplish pink” to refer to pink diamonds.

Since majority of pink diamonds in the market are of the pale pink variety, it is easier to find light pink diamonds especially for engagement rings. They are also more affordable than darker pink diamonds.


When choosing a pink diamond engagement ring, the most important consideration you should keep in mind next to color is the carat weight. Since most recipients of engagement rings have a very specific idea of how big they want the stone to be, it is best if you stay as close to their ideal size (as your budget would allow). Bigger diamonds also show more color than smaller ones especially in the case of light pink diamonds.


The clarity of a pink diamond will depend on the shape you choose. Brilliant cuts are more forgiving of inclusions and step cuts show more inclusions. However, darker pink diamonds conceal inclusions better than lighter pink diamonds so it is often okay to sacrifice a bit of clarity for color when it comes to fancy pink diamonds.

Treated Diamonds

A cheaper option for those who want a pink diamond engagement ring is to buy a lab-treated diamond. There are different treatments used to add color to a regular diamond. However, since most color treated diamonds are of a lower grade, you should be more particular about pricing. Color treated diamonds should be cheaper than colorless diamonds and fancy color diamonds so they should be priced accordingly. Make sure not to overpay for such stones, as they are generally of the poor variety.

Color treated pink diamonds typically go through a process called annealing. Color treated diamonds should also come with a certificate stating their origin and the method of coloring used.

Where to Buy:


Amazon carries several pink diamond engagement ring options, ranging from color treated diamonds to natural pink diamonds. You can find them in a variety of settings and styles. Below are a few notable options from their selection:

Blue Nile

Blue Nile also carries a few fancy pink diamond options, although all of their pink diamonds are of the expensive range. If you’re looking to really splurge on your engagement ring, then these options might appeal to you. You can purchase the diamond as a loose stone or choose your ideal setting on the site.

Marquise Cut

Purple Pink Radiant Cut

Orange Heart Shaped Diamond

Posted in  Diamond Colors, Diamond Engagement Rings |   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 an Emerald Cut Diamond?

Posted on May 20,2014

Emerald Cut DiamondAn emerald cut diamond is classified as a fancy shape diamond. It is a step cut stone and as such, it is not as fiery or brilliant as round brilliant or princess cut diamonds. Due to the cutting process, the surface produces a “hall-of-mirrors” effect and while it does not have as much sparkle as other diamond cuts, the long, crisp lines on its surface give off elegant flashes of light that add to its elegance and unique appeal.

As the shape’s name suggests, the emerald cut was originally developed to cut emeralds but when applied to diamonds, the result is as stunning as when used on an actual emerald stone.


Shape and Length-to-Width Ratio

The emerald cut is traditionally rectangular in shape, although some emerald cuts are squarer than they are rectangular. Square emerald cuts are very similar to the asscher cut.

The perfect length-to-width ratio of a rectangular emerald cut diamond is 1.50. If you want the classic rectangular emerald cut, you should look for a LW ratio of 1.30 to 1.50, although a LW ratio of 1.20 is still acceptable.

However, if you want a square emerald cut diamond, you should look for a diamond with a LW ratio of 1.05 to 1.00. A perfect square has a LW ratio of 1.00.


While colorless diamonds in the D to F range are considered rare and are more favorable to most consumers, color is a subjective matter and some customers may prefer emerald cuts with a tinge of yellow. If you want an almost colorless diamond, you can set the minimum at J-colored emerald cuts. For smaller stones that are less than .50 carats, D to G colored diamonds are considered excellent and for stones larger than .50 carats, D to F are considered excellent.


Most step cut diamonds like emerald cut diamonds emphasize its clarity rather than its fire and brilliance. This is why when choosing an emerald cut diamond, it is best if you prioritize clarity over carat weight especially since inclusions and other flaws are more visible on an emerald cut diamond than they are on other cuts. For an emerald cut diamond to appear flawless to the naked eye, it is recommended that you set a minimum clarity of VS2 on an emerald cut, as inclusions are already visible on diamonds in the SI1 range unless they are smaller than .50 carats.


Well-cut emerald diamonds usually look bigger from the surface compared to other cuts like round brilliants and princess cuts. When looking at the cut quality, pay close attention to the following aspects:

Table Percentage

Emerald cut diamonds with a table percentage ranging from 56 to 60 are classified under the good to very good range and those within the 61 to 69 range are classified as excellent.

Depth Percentage

Excellent: 61 to 67

Very Good: 59 to 60.9

Good: 57 to 58.9


Excellent to Very Good: Very Thin to Slightly Thick

Good: Very Thin to Thick


Excellent: None

Very Good: Very Small

Good: Small

Price of Emerald Cut Diamonds

Emerald cut diamonds are cheaper than round brilliant cuts or princess cuts. Since they appear bigger than round brilliant cuts of the same carat weight, people who prefer larger looking diamonds find the emerald cut a favorable choice. You can also get more for your money in terms of carat weight and clarity for an emerald cut diamond than a round brilliant cut.

An emerald cut diamond can look stunning when placed in any setting. Even smaller sized emerald cuts can look bigger next to accent stones in the right setting. Cathedral settings or classic solitaire settings are also good options if you want to make the stone look bigger.

Posted in  Diamond Cuts |   Tagged 


Black Diamond Rings – Value, Grading, and How to Buy

Posted on May 05,2014

While black diamonds used to be comparably cheaper than colorless diamonds, their prices have increased in the past years due to the increasing demand for black diamond jewelry. Black diamond engagement rings are becoming a popular choice for many people as a unique alternative to traditional flawless diamonds found on most rings.

If you’re thinking of purchasing a black diamond ring, one important factor to keep in mind is that most black diamonds used in jewelry are not naturally black. Low-color stones are usually used and are treated to turn the color black, either through irradiation or heat treatment. Since they are not naturally black, you can expect their prices to be lower than a colorless diamond in the same size.

Natural black diamonds usually come in blocks called carbonados. They have a different composition compared to colorless diamonds because they don’t reflect light; they absorb it. They are also porous and are usually very small in size. If you ever see a large black diamond, it is not just made up of one crystal but millions of crystals stuck together. As such, they are difficult to cut for jewelry making.

How to Know If a Black Diamond is Natural or Treated

Most black diamonds sold in the market are treated through irradiation. Natural black diamonds are very expensive because they are only found in two places (Africa and Brazil). Since they are very difficult to cut and polish, you can expect to pay quite a hefty amount of cash for a natural black diamond, especially if cut for jewelry use.

When you buy a treated black diamond ring or any black diamond jewelry, it should come with a lab certificate stating that it was treated. If you want to be able to examine a black diamond to know if it is treated, you can place it under a fiber optic light and observe the diamond. If you see that it is a dark shade of green, then it is most definitely treated through irradiation. Most natural black diamonds appear to have dark brown edges under a fiber optic light.

 Black Diamond Grading

Black diamonds are not graded in the same manner as colorless diamonds. The GIA does not issue a normal certificate for black diamonds; they only issue a Colored Diamond Identification and Origin Report (CDIOR). The CDIOR indicates the color grade and color origin (whether it is natural or treated), carat weight, and a diagram of its clarity.   Black diamonds are usually harder and denser than colorless diamonds so you should expect a 1-carat black diamond to be smaller than a 1-carat colorless diamond.

Buying a Natural Black Diamond

Untreated diamonds are called “Fancy Black”. If you’re in the market for a natural black diamond, it’s useful to know the terminology and grading system used. Since most black diamonds in the market are treated, if you’re expecting a natural black diamond it’s best to buy one with a CDIOR from the GIA.

Natural black diamonds are certainly very expensive; a 0.47-carat stone can cost you more than USD2,000 without the setting so expect more for larger diamonds. You can find several suppliers and jewelers that offer natural black diamonds online; some also offer GIA reports so you can be assured of its authenticity.

When buying a black diamond ring or any black diamond jewelry, make sure to do as much research on the stone first. Since most information on diamonds is about colorless diamonds, it’s useful to find out as much as you can about the qualities of a black diamond.

If you can’t find a natural black diamond that fits your price range, you can get a treated stone instead. Since they are easier to cut, you’ll find more options. Treated black diamonds can be just as beautiful in the right cut and setting and there’s an abundance of them too so prices are more reasonable, whether online or in retail jewelry chains.

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