Diamond Education

You have probably heard about the 4C’s of diamond buying.  These are standard guidelines and a nice place to start.

At Fire in Ice, we go a step further.  We encourage you to sit down with us have a look and ask questions.  We don’t need you to know exactly what you want – we will help you to figure that out along the way.

It’s important to remember that no two diamonds are alike and each stone has unique characteristics.  Please contact us to discuss the right diamond for you.

Standard 4 C’s

There are a certain number of criteria to look for when purchasing a diamond, referred to as the “four Cs:”
cut, color, clarity, and carat. These elements together will determine the cost of the diamond.

Cut

The cut of a diamond is a product of its craftsmanship. (The shape is a matter of personal taste and aesthetics, yielding a round, rectangular, teardrop, heart, or oval stone.)  The cut is what brings out the vibrancy of the diamond as well as what minimizes flaws.

  • The more facets (angles) cut into the stone, the more brilliant it will be as long as the diamond is cut to re-reflect the light out the top, or the table.
  • Avoid deep or shallow cut diamonds because they let the light seep out the bottom instead of reflecting out the top, which will make the diamond look dimmer and not as sparkly.
  • Check the diamond’s grade: ideal, premium, very good, good, fair, poor. The higher the grade, the more costly the diamond. Generally, an ideal diamond will have balanced proportions.

Carat

The carat (or weight) of a diamond is directly associated with its size, and even the untrained eye can tell when a diamond has a higher carat. Carat also affects the price of a diamond. Keep in mind that a ring with several smaller diamonds measuring 2 carats, let’s say, is not as valuable as a single diamond weighing 2 carats. If you want to save some money or are on a tight budget, find the highest carat you can afford, then go down in size by .05 carats and you may be able to save quite a bit of money.

  • Measurements are as follows: one carat equals 0.2 grams. For anything smaller than a carat, the gem’s size is referred to in points. For example, a gem with 25 points would be .25 carats. Diamond size in carats ranges from .05 to 3.
  • What size to buy?
    • Some say that for engagement rings, two months salary is about right. As with the shape, this is a matter of personal preference.
    • Keep in mind the size of the hand that the ring will be worn on. Small hands make a small diamond look bigger.
    • Consider what type of jewelry the wearer normally likes. If s/he likes big jewelry, you may need to sacrifice some quality.

Color

Besides carat weight, color is another value-inducing factor of a diamond. Diamonds should be as clear and as colorless as possible without cloudiness or brown or gray spots. To the naked eye they may all seem clear, but in fact, they all have traces of yellow in them. Colored diamonds, which are very rare and expensive, actually should have color, either blue, green, or yellow.

  • Color is rated on the GIA (International Gemological Institute) professional color scale. The most colorless are rated a D, while those with tinges of yellow are found in anything with a K-X rating.
  • It may be obvious now that anything between D and F are probably very valuable, while anything from G-I is of good quality, meaning that little color is seen by the untrained eye.
  • Most people try to get the best quality diamond there is. However, some prefer the warmer tones of diamonds that have slight color to them.
  • Another thing to look for is diamond fluorescence (or colored glow). Some like it, some don’t. See what you prefer.

Clarity

Spots, cracks, blemishes, air bubbles, and inclusions are all considered to decrease a diamond’s clarity. Clarity and transparency is often fixed by oils, resins, and chemicals used by gemstone manufacturers.

  • Like with color, clarity is also measured on an alphabet scale. F through SI means that there are no visible flaws, even though there may be some internal ones (F=Flawless and SI=Slightly Included).
  • Even going down to an I grade will not affect the outward appearance of a diamond unless you look at it through a magnifying glass. It will however lower the value.
  • Some manufacturers use lasers to remove imperfections and even treatments.

Certificate, the Fifth C

Do not confuse a certificate with an appraisal. Just because its market worth is one thing, doesn’t mean that the diamond is of real quality. Certificates are the true measure of the diamond’s worth based on the specifications explained above. The certificate will be from a lab that tells whether or not the diamond is organic (natural or genuine and not grown in a laboratory). It also lists the grade of the diamond as far as carat, color, clarity, and cut.

  • The lab should be reputable. Do a background check first just to be sure. If you look for the lab and the name doesn’t come up, chances are that it is bogus. Some names to rely on are the GIA, IGI, AGSL, and EGL-US.
  • Evaluate the picture on the certificate and cross check it with the serial number on the diamond. Sometimes you can even cross-check this information online.

Kimberley Process

Fire in Ice only sources diamonds from manufacturers and distributors that adhere to the worldwide conflict diamond policies set forth by the United Nations.  This is known as the Kimberley Process.  For more information on the Kimberley Process, please visit our Policies section.