Diamonds are known for their resilience and durability, which makes them the perfect feature in engagement and wedding ring design.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) created a global standard for describing and determining the value and quality of a diamond called the four C’s: colour, cut, clarity and carat. This universal language around the value of a diamond is a way for you to know exactly what you’re going to be wearing and investing your money in.
So here’s the low down on diamonds. And of COURSE, we can chat through it if all this gem nerd talk is a bit much.
The GIA colour scale extends from D (colourless) to Z (light yellow or brown). Although many people think of diamonds as colourless, truly colourless diamonds are rare. Most diamonds used in jewellery are nearly colourless with tints of yellow or brown.
The GIA clarity scale has eleven clarity grades from Flawless to I3. Because diamonds form under heat and pressure, it’s rare to find a diamond without characteristics (known as inclusions or blemishes). Think of it as glorious imperfections because these characteristics help gemologists separate natural diamonds from, well, fakers. Don’t worry, though, most of these characteristics can’t be seen by the naked eye.
The GIA cut scale ranges from ‘excellent’ to ‘poor’. It takes careful artistry to cut a diamond in a way that delivers the best return of light. A polished diamond has a beautiful way of interacting with light. Brightness is the combination of all white light reflecting from the surface and interior of the diamond, fire describes the flares of colour emitted from a diamond, and scintillation is the light flash when the diamond, light, or your ring’s fan club move.
There are all sorts of cut shapes and names to describe them. Round, pear, heart and oval are all pretty self-explanatory.
Princess cut is the second most popular diamond cut shape (round has been winning first place for years). The face-up shape of the princess cut is usually square and the profile is like an inverted pyramid with four beveled sides.
An emerald cut is more hall-of-mirrors kinda flashy instead of your regular I’m-so-sparkly engagement ring cut.
The marquise cut is known as the football-shaped cut or the eye-shaped cut, you get the point. It’s a beautifully rare find!
The radiant cut was designed to get the most ooh’s and aah’s from your girl gang (aka it has a lotta bling). Radiant cuts tend to be rectangular.
A cushion cut is usually purchased as an engagement ring or fashion statement because it’s a little bit fancy! It combines a square cut with large facets for max bling but then gently rounded corners for a soft, romantic feel. Cushion cut was the default diamond cut back in the day so a lot of vintage rings have this diamond shape.
Diamond weight is conveyed in carats. One carat is 200 milligrams, or 100 points. The thing is, two diamonds of the same carat can have totally different price tags depending on how they rate with the other C’s.
Info on Janai’s relationship to diamonds. How are they sourced, who does the cut, talk about how they are hand set.