Diamond Education

Buying a piece of jewelry sometimes can be overwhelming. At Fashion Island Jewelers, we empower our customers with knowledge and educate them into understanding the 4C's (Cut, Carat, Color & Clarity). Because each diamond is unique, understanding the 4C's will give you perspective of how each diamond differs from one another, and help you understand how subtle distinctions can have a huge effect on quality and price.

CUT

The cut is the most complicated yet the most important characteristic in a diamond in respect to its beauty. The cut of the diamond does not refer to its shape, rather to the balance of proportion, symmetry and polish achieved by the diamond cutter. A diamond's cut grade is an objective measure of a diamond's light performance, or, what we generally think of as sparkle. In the diagram below, three common light patterns are shown. When light meets any facet of a diamond, it will either reflect (bounce back) or refract (bend while passing through the facet). The angle that the light hits the facet determines whether the majority of light reflects or refracts, which is why cut is so important.

COLOR

The color grade of a diamond is determined based on the absence of color. Color grades range from D (colorless) to Z (yellow / light brown). As a diamond's color grade improves, the better its light absorption becomes and the better diamonds light performance becomes. Many of these color distinctions are so subtle that they are invisible to the untrained eye; however, these distinctions make a very big difference in diamond quality and price. Below is the diamond color chart with definitions.

clarity

A diamond’s clarity is rated by the presence of internal and external features or imperfections. Clarity refers to how clean or clear the diamond is with respect to natural microscopic characteristics that were trapped within or on the diamond while it was forming. Evaluating diamond clarity involves determining the number, size, relief, nature, and position of these characteristics, as well as how these affect the overall appearance of the stone. While no diamond is perfectly pure, the closer it comes, the higher its value becomes. The truth is that in most gem-grade diamonds, inclusions are only visible under 10X magnification and are very difficult to be detected with the naked eye. The Diamond Clarity Grade scale has five main categories of clarity characteristics with 11 grades in all. ​

CARAT

The most well-known and misunderstood characteristic of the 4Cs is Carat Weight. It actually refers to the diamond's weight, not its size. The carat is subdivided into 100 equal parts called 'points.' One point equals .01 carat or 1/100 carat. A one carat diamond equals 100 points. For instance, the jeweler may refer to a diamond that weighs 0.25 carats as a 'twenty-five pointer' or "quarter of a carat". As the carat size of a diamond increases, the diamond's price increases at an increasing rate due to its rarity. Determining the carat weight that is right for you depends primarily on your budget and taste. Two diamonds of equal carat weight can have very different values (and prices) depending on three other factors (Cut, Color & Clarity) of the diamond 4Cs.

DIAMOND SHAPE

Following is an introduction to each shape, including information on how to determine the best combination of size, color, and clarity for your needs. View our side-by-side comparison of each diamond shape to see how shape affects apparent size as well.

ROUND DIAMOND

The round cut diamond is the most popular diamond shape, representing approximately 75% of all diamonds sold. Due to the mechanics of its shape, the round diamond is generally superior to fancy shapes at the proper reflection of light, maximizing potential brightness.

PRINCESS CUT DIAMOND

The princess cut diamond, first created in 1980, is the most popular fancy diamond shape, especially for engagement rings. Like round cut diamonds, princess cut diamonds are a good choice for their flexibility in working in almost any style of ring.

OVAL DIAMOND

Because the oval diamond is a modified brilliant-cut (like virtually all round cut diamonds), the two diamond shapes possess a similar fire and brilliance. However, oval cut diamonds have the added advantage of an elongated shape, which can create the illusion of greater size

MARQUISE DIAMOND

The marquise cut diamond is a football-shaped, modified brilliant-cut. Because the marquise diamond is long and narrow, it can also create the illusion of greater size. Carat for carat, the marquise diamond has one of the largest surface areas of any diamond shape, making it a good choice when trying to maximize perceived size.

PEAR SHAPED DIAMOND

The modified brilliant-cut pear shaped diamond is a combination of a round and a marquise shape, with a tapered point on one end. Ideally, a pear shaped diamond should possess excellent or very good symmetry. The point should line up with the apex of the rounded end. The shoulders and wings (the upper and lower curves on the right and left side of the diamond) should form uniform, symmetrical curves.

CUSHION CUT DIAMOND

The modified brilliant-cut pear shaped diamond is a combination of a round and a marquise shape, with a tapered point on one end. Ideally, a pear shaped diamond should possess excellent or very good symmetry. The point should line up with the apex of the rounded end. The shoulders and wings (the upper and lower curves on the right and left side of the diamond) should form uniform, symmetrical curves.

EMERALD CUT DIAMOND

The modified brilliant-cut pear shaped diamond is a combination of a round and a marquise shape, with a tapered point on one end. Ideally, a pear shaped diamond should possess excellent or very good symmetry. The point should line up with the apex of the rounded end. The shoulders and wings (the upper and lower curves on the right and left side of the diamond) should form uniform, symmetrical curves.

ASSCHER CUT DIAMONDS

The asscher cut diamond was first produced in 1902 by the Asscher Brothers of Holland, an is a forerunner to the emerald cut. The asscher cut diamond is similar to the emerald cut, but in a square shape with larger step facets, a higher crown, and a smaller table. This combination often produces more brilliance than the emerald cut.

RADIANT CUT DIAMONDS

The radiant cut diamond is the first rectangular cut to have a complete brilliant-cut facet pattern applied to both the crown and pavilion, creating a vibrant and lively diamond. The modified square shape is a nice bridge between a cushion and a princess cut, and for that reason looks beautiful set with both rounded or square cornered diamonds.

HEART SHAPED DIAMONDS

The radiant cut diamond is the first rectangular cut to have a complete brilliant-cut facet pattern applied to both the crown and pavilion, creating a vibrant and lively diamond. The modified square shape is a nice bridge between a cushion and a princess cut, and for that reason looks beautiful set with both rounded or square cornered diamonds.