Welcome to Diamond Boutique


 Picture of a diamond ring. Picture of a Round Brilliant diamond being held by tweezers.  Picture of many loose, different shaped diamonds.




Before you buy a diamond, you should first learn about the four characteristics that determine a diamond's quality and ultimately its value.  These characteristics are collectively known as the 4 C’s of a Diamond and are used to calculate a diamond's price.

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Q: What are the 4 C's of a Diamond?

The four C's highlight the four most important characteristics of a diamond: Carat Weight, Clarity, Color, and Cut.  


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The First "C" is for CARAT WEIGHT

The weight of a Diamond, or Gemstone, is expressed as Carat Weight; with one carat being equal to 0.2 grams, about the same weight as a paperclip. (Don’t confuse carat with karat, as in “18K gold,” which refers to gold purity.)  A carat is divided into 100 points, just as a dollar can be divided into 100 pennies. A 50-point diamond will weigh 0.50 carats. The diamond industry rounds a diamond's weight to a hundredth of a carat. Diamond weights greater than one carat are expressed in carats and decimals. For instance, a 1.08 ct. stone is referred to as “one point oh eight carats,” or simply “one oh eight.”  Even though two diamonds can be of equal weight, their prices vary depending on the other three characteristics of that diamond: Clarity, Color, and Cut. Even a fraction of a carat can make a considerable difference in the diamond's price, so precision in measuring the diamond's weight is crucial. 

This picture shows the difference in size of diamonds that range from 0.50 carats to 5.0 carats.

" Two diamonds of equal weight can have very different prices. "

How did the carat system start? 

The carat, the standard unit of weight for diamonds and other gemstones, adopted its name from the Carob seed. Since these seeds have a uniform weight, early gem traders used them as counterweights in their balance scales. The modern metric carat, equal to 0.2 grams, was adopted by the United States in 1913 and then other countries took suit soon after. Today, a carat weighs the same in every corner of the world.


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The Second "C" is for COLOR

Diamond color is all about what the color you can’t see in a diamond. Diamonds are valued based on their color being as close to colorlessness as possible – the less color in a diamond, the higher its value. (The exception to this is fancy-color diamonds, such as pinks and blues, which lie outside the standard D-Z color range.) Most diamonds sold at jewelry stores run from colorless to near-colorless, with slight hints of yellow or brown as the color range approaches Z color. 



The GIA Color Scale is profiled in these diamonds that range from D - Z in color.

" The less color in a diamond, the higher its value. "

GIA’s Diamond Color Chart above is the industry standard. The scale begins with the letter D, representing a colorless diamond, and decreases down to the letter Z as the presence of color becomes more visible. Each letter grade from D-to-Z has a clearly defined range of color.

Diamonds are color-graded by comparing them to stones of known color under controlled lighting, using precise viewing conditions. Many of these color distinctions are so subtle that they are invisible to the untrained eye, but these slight differences make a huge difference in quality and price of a diamond.


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The Third "C" is for CLARITY

Diamond clarity refers to the absence of inclusions and blemishes both inside and outside of a diamond. Diamonds without these birthmarks are rare, and rarity increases the value of a diamond. The GIA Diamond Clarity Scale assigns a clarity grade to each diamond that ranges from a grade of Flawless (FL) - the grade assigned to a diamond that shows no inclusions at all - to a grade of Included (I3) - where the inclusions can be seen by the naked eye.

Every diamond is unique! No diamond is perfect under 10X magnification, though some do come close.  These almost perfect diamonds are known as Flawless Diamonds, meaning that there are no internal or external imperfections. Flawless diamonds are scarce and extremely valuable, which makes a clarity grade of FLAWLESS the best clarity grade for diamonds.


The GIA Clarity Scale ranges from Flawless to Imperfect.

" Most inclusions are not visible to the naked eye. "

The GIA Clarity Scale spans eleven grades, with most diamonds falling into the VS (Very Slightly Included) or SI (Slightly Included) categories. In determining a diamond's clarity grade, the GIA system considers the size, nature, position, color (or relief), and the number of these characteristics present in a diamond to determine the clarity grade of a diamond that is visible under 10X magnification. The GIA Clarity Scale of Diamonds is described in further detail below:


     Flawless (FL) – No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification

     Internally Flawless (IF) – No inclusions are visible, but blemishes can be seen by a skilled grader using 10× magnification

     Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) – These inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10× magnification

     Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) – Inclusions are visible under 10× magnification but are characterized as Minor Inclusions.

     Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) – Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader using 10× magnification

     Included (I1, I2, and I3) – Inclusions are obvious under 10× magnification and may affect the diamond's transparency and brilliance


How did the GIA Clarity Scale come about?

Like the color scale, GIA’s clarity grading system was developed to aid jewelers in discussing a universal diamond grading system.  Before GIA introduced the Clarity Scale of Diamonds, jewelers were using terms that were easily misinterpreted, such as the term “loupe clean", which was often used to describe the appearance of a diamond through a 10X magnification loop. Today, jewelers from around the world are likely to describe a Diamond's Clarity using terms such as VVS1 or SI2, even when they are speaking French or Japanese.


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The Fourth "C" is for CUT

Diamond cut is the primary characteristic that fuels the diamond’s fire, sparkle, and brilliance. The traditional 58 facets, or windows, of a round brilliant diamond, are each precisely cut and defined; they measure, as small as, two millimeters in diameter. This defined cutting precision showcases a diamond's true beauty and shine.  The allure of a diamond depends more on cut than anything else, making Cut the most important of the 4 C's.

GIA Cut Scale ranges from Excellent to Poor.


Though extremely difficult to analyze or quantify, every diamond is cut with these three attributes in mind: 


     Brilliance: the total light reflected from a diamond

     Fire: the dispersion of light into the colors of the spectrum

     Scintillation: the flashes of light, or sparkle, when the diamond moves

An understanding of a diamond's cut begins with the shape of a diamond. The standard round brilliant shaped diamond is the most popular diamond shape used in diamond engagement rings and diamond jewelry.  All other shapes are referred to as Fancy. Traditional fancy shapes include the Aascher, Cushion, Trillion, Emerald, Heart, Marquise, Pear, Princess, and Oval cut diamonds. Emerald and Marquise-cut diamonds are gaining popularity in diamond jewelry trends today.

Picture of Different Shaped Diamonds


As a value factor, cut refers to a diamond’s Proportions, Symmetry, and Polish. For example, look at a side view of the standard round brilliant in the diagram below. The major components, from top to bottom, are the Crown, Girdle, and Pavilion. A round brilliant cut diamond has either 57 or 58 facets, with the 58th facet being a tiny flat facet at the bottom of the pavilion, also known as the "Culet". The "Table" is the large, flat facet on the top of the diamond; it is the large window upon which you first glance at a diamond.  

Diamond Proportions reflect the relationship between the measurements of a diamond's Table, Crown Angle, and Pavilion Depth. A wide range of combinations in a diamond's proportions are possible, and these ultimately affect the stone’s interaction with light.


This image shows each face of a diamond cut.

" The allure of a particular diamond depends more on cut than anything else. "

In early 2005, GIA unveiled a diamond cut grading system for standard round brilliants in the D-to-Z color range. This system was the product of more than 15 years of extensive research and testing that ultimately assigned each diamond an overall diamond cut grade ranging from Excellent to Poor.  A GIA Diamond Grading Report details the cut of a diamond in great detail.  

It has become popular in recent years for diamond cutters to cut a diamond to the optimal dimensions so as to allow the most light to enter the diamond and be reflected back to the viewer's eye. We have always relied on nature to dictate the diamond's color and clarity, but as we look forward, diamond cutting companies now realize the importance of increasing a diamond's brilliance, fire, and scintillation by manipulating the human element of Cut. 


How does Pavilion Depth affect a diamond’s cut?

The distance from the bottom of the Girdle to the Culet is known as the Pavilion Depth. The Pavillion Depth is directly relational to how much light is emitted from a diamond.  A Pavilion Depth that’s too shallow or too deep will allow light to escape through the sides or the bottom of the stone. Whereas, a well-cut diamond that has the optimal Pavilion Depth will direct more light through the Crown, and will be reflected back to the human eye as brilliance, fire, and scintillation. 

Information from GIA.edu

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Q: What is a Diamond?

A diamond is a mineral composed essentially of carbon crystallized at extremely high temperatures and pressures; in nature, diamonds form 150 to 200 kilometers (93 to 124 miles) or more below the earth’s surface. Diamond is the hardest of all known natural substances (10 on the Mohs Hardness Scale). It is 2.417, dispersion 0.044, specific gravity 3.52, and its luster is adamantine. Diamond forms in the cubic, or isometric, crystal system, has four directions of perfect octahedral cleavage and shows a step-like fracture surface. Its color ranges from colorless to yellow, brown, gray, orange, green, blue, white, black, purple, pink and (extremely rarely) red.

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Q: How is a Diamond Certified?

A diamond is evaluated, measured, and scrutinized by trained individuals at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the American Gem Society Laboratories (AGSL), using various industry tools. A certificate includes an analysis of the diamond’s clarity, color, dimensions, symmetry, polish and other characteristics. You should receive a certificate with any diamond you purchase. The GIA and AGSL laboratories are among the most respected in the diamond industry.

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Q. Why do I need an Independent Diamond Grading Report?

For the ultimate peace of mind, ask your jeweler to provide an independent diamond grading report with your diamond. The most widely used and respected reports are those issued by the independent GIA Laboratory, which provides grading reports on the world’s most important diamonds. A professional jeweler can arrange to have your diamond graded and even have a personal message or unique GIA Diamond Grading Report number laser-inscribed onto the diamond’s girdle (its outer edge).

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Q. Why get a Diamond Grading Report or Certificate from GIA?

Most consumer purchases of significant value come with important certified documentation. Houses have deeds. Vehicles have titles and registration, but what about something as important as a diamond? A Diamond Grading Report isn’t an appraisal but a scientific blueprint of your stone’s exact qualities. GIA’s heritage as a research and educational institution means they are trusted to provide accurate, unbiased diamond evaluations. All GIA diamond-grading reports contain a hologram, a security screen, and microprint lines as well as other security features that exceed industry guidelines. Simply put, they’re here to help you know what you’re buying. The most widely used and trusted means of verifying a diamond’s quality and provide positive identification is a Diamond Grading Report or Diamond Dossier®. A GIA grading report provides an expert analysis of a diamond’s quality based upon the “4Cs” of diamond grading: carat, color, cut and clarity. The GIA Diamond Grading Report also contains a plotting diagram that clearly shows the diamond’s unique inclusions and other clarity characteristics such as inclusions. It undergoes a technical screening process, determining its potential as a synthetic or diamond simulate and is tested to ensure that the color is natural. Because GIA is not affiliated with any commercial enterprise, impartial and accurate analysis of a diamond’s quality and value is assured. GIA employs hundreds of highly trained diamond graders, gemologists, research scientists who scrutinize the diamonds and analyze them, depending on size, with as many as 40 pairs of eyes for each stone. GIA Laboratory experts have graded some of the world’s most famous diamonds, including the legendary Hope Diamond (45.52 carats) and the De Beers Centenary Diamond (273.85 carats).


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Q. Which Diamond Cut Sparkles the Most?

The round brilliant cut diamond sparkles the most!  Diamond cut is the factor that fuels a diamond’s fire, sparkle, and brilliance, and the allure of a particular diamond depends more on cut than anything else.




Nature gives us a rough diamond.  Man polishes the diamond to radiate brilliance, fire, and scintillation.



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