Diamond Guide

In how many countries are diamonds found and mined ?

Diamonds are mined in over 20 countries around the world. In descending order the following countries account for 95% of the world's production. Botswana, Russia, Angola, South Africa, Namibia, Congo (Zaire), Australia. To this list Canada should be added as it is expected it will account for up to 10% of the total world production.

Why are diamonds so expensive when made just out of carbon ?

Diamonds were born in the earth billions of years ago. They are one of natures miracles formed under extreme heat and pressure in circumstances that can never be repeated whilst we live on this planet.

Diamonds are very difficult to find and also to mine. The millions of dollars that go into exploration and then only a small percentage are gem quality determine the obvious answer that not only are they are rare but command an appropriate price.

What are the 4 C's of diamonds?

Simply Cut, colour, Clarity and Carat Weight of an individual diamond gem. Cut is the only element where nature has not played a part hence determines the fire and brilliance perceived by the observer.

Together the 4 C's provide the world accepted way to judge the value of a diamond.

What kind of cut gives the best reflection of a diamond?

The round brilliant cut maximises the balance between life of the diamond stone (brilliance) and fire (dispersion). The reasoning for this is that the 58 facet arrangement when cut to specific proportions allows total internal reflection of light.

What is Diamond Carat Weight ?

Diamond carat weight is the weight of the diamond measured in carats. One carat is divided into 100 "points," so that a diamond of 75 points weighs 0.75 carats. Carat weight is the most obvious factor in determining the value of a diamond. But two diamonds of equal carat weights can have very different prices, depending on their quality. Diamonds of high quality can be found in all size ranges.

If carat is not king, than why do we all try to buy the largest diamond available within our budget? Larger diamonds are found in nature much less frequently which, in turn, makes them more valuable. A three-carat diamond is always more expensive than several diamonds which add up to three carats. Please use the charts below as a guideline in assisting you in your search. The dimensions of the diamond should tell you how large the diamond will appear. The chart is not to scale and should only be used as a reference.

What is Diamond Clarity ?

A diamond that is virtually free of interior or exterior inclusions (commonly reffered to as flaws) is of the highest quality, for nothing interferes with the passage of light through the diamond. To determine a diamond's clarity, it is viewed under 10x magnification by a trained gemologist. Small inclusions neither mar its beauty nor endanger its durability.

Did you know that the difference between finding an inclusion in a diamond at 60X magnification and one at 10X magnification is absolutely nothing to the naked eye, yet the price difference is staggering? Clarity refers to imperfections in the diamond. Lack of imperfections raise the cost of the diamond where as visible inclusions lower the cost.

FL / IF Flawless or Internally Flawless. Best reason to buy one is so you can say "I have a flawless diamond!"
VVS1 / VVS2 Very, Very Small Inclusions. Requires 60X magnification to clearly see inclusions. Usually not practical, but some VVS diamonds sell for only a slight bit more than VS diamonds.
VS1 / VS2 Very Small Inclusions. Requires 30X magnification to clearly see inclusions. A good choice for someone wishing to balance high quality with relative affordability.
SI1 / SI2 Small Inclusions. Generally requires 10X magnification to clearly see inclusions. Many larger SI diamonds are not completely eye clean. SI1 diamonds are some of the best values to be found anywhere. SI2 diamonds can be great diamonds, but should be considered individually to ensure quality.
SI3/ I1 Imperfect. Eye-Visible Inclusions. Usually the most practical choice for earrings, pendants, or folks shopping on a budget. Many GIA "I1" diamonds have tiny, subtle inclusions that are difficult to detect.
I2 / I3 Imperfect. Borderline drillbit material. Should only be purchased when a "bluff" diamond is the primary objective.

What is Diamond Colour ?

The colour grading scale varies from totally colourless to light yellow. The differences between one grade and another are very subtle and difficult to distinguish.

Generally speaking, the naked eye can not tell the difference between three colour grades in a mounted diamond. This means you can buy an "F", "G", or "H" colour diamond and not really be able to see the difference. A colourless diamond is colourless due to its ability to absorb rays of light equally. These diamonds are rare and expensive. Diamonds are evaluated according to a letter scale and graded. Diamonds that are in the "D-F" range are considered colourless and carry a slight premium. Diamonds in the "G-J" range will face-up completely white and are cheaper than colourless diamonds. Diamonds that are "K" colour or below will face-up with a slight tint. We recommend diamonds that are colour graded as "J" or better.

What is Diamond Cut and Proportions ?

Many people confuse cut with the shape of a diamond. Most diamonds are cut round with a full 58 facets, and a good cut, or make, has more scintillation, more sparkle. The shape of the diamond, however, is largely a matter of personal preference and does not directly affect the value. It is the work of a master cutter that allows the diamond to be cut in such a way as to permit the maximum amount of light to be reflected through the diamond, and that's a great reflection on you. It is the cut that enables a diamond to make the best use of light.

So what is Ideal? Everyone has their own opinion on what Ideal is. Some people prefer a diamond to have a somewhat larger table, say around 60%, so the diamond "looks" bigger, some want the Tolkowsky Ideal cut, as calculated in the early 20th century by mathematician Markov Tolkowsky. The diagram below describes the Class 1 and 2 grades of GIA. They are the largest body in the world for diamond grading, and we use their classifications to grade our diamonds. Class 1 is Ideal. Class 2 is Very Fine, Class 3 is Fair, and Class 4 is Poor. We do not sell Class 3 or 4 diamonds. All diamonds we sell that are 0.50ct or larger on this website fall into the GIA's definition of "Ideal - Very Fine" Class, and are as follows:

Please keep in mind that diamonds other than round brilliant do not always have their cuts measured in such detail because they are classified as "fancy cut" diamonds and have very loose tolerances. For more information regarding our "fancy cut" diamond specifications, please contact us.

When buying a diamond, especially a round brilliant cut diamond, it is always best to have a complete analysis of cut. This will tell you all the specifications of the diamond's cut such as table percentage, depth percentage, etc. usually obtained from a scope (or megascope). Ask your jeweller for this report on cut if you are making a large diamond purchase.

Out of the 4 C's, colour and cut are the two most important characteristics of a diamond. Do not compromise on colour. A "H" colour or better is usually best.

Did you know that if the diamond is poorly cut, the colour and clarity can not make up for it? The cut of a diamond is what makes a rough diamond sparkle and shine. If a diamond is poorly cut, the light that enters the diamond from above will leak out of the sides and bottom of the stone, and the diamond will not have the optimum amount of sparkle or fire—regardless of its colour or clarity. Please use the charts below as a guideline in assisting you in your search.

Preferred Proportions Round Diamonds

  Ideal Proportions Acceptable
Depth Percentage:  60.2% - 62.7% 57.0% - 64.0%
Table Percentage:  53% - 57.0% 53.0% - 64.0%
Polish: Very Good to excellent Good to Very Good
Symmetry: Very Good to excellent Good to Very Good
Girdle: Thin to medium Thin to Thick
Culet: None to very small None to medium

Preferred Proportions for Oval, Pear, Marquise, and Heart-Shaped Diamonds

  Ideal Proportions
Depth Percentage:  58.9% - 65.4%
Table Percentage:  53% - 64%
Polish: Good to excellent
Symmetry: Good to excellent
Girdle: Thin to thick

Preferred Proportions for Emerald and Radiant Cut Diamonds

  Ideal Proportions
Depth Percentage: 59.9% - 69.0%
Table Percentage: 59% - 69%
Polish: Good to excellent
Symmetry: Good to excellent
Girdle: Thin to thick

Preferred Proportions for Princess Cut Diamonds

  Ideal Proportions
Depth Percentage: 64.0% - 75.0%
Table Percentage: 59% - 72%
Polish: Good to excellent
Symmetry: Good to excellent
Girdle: Thin to thick

What is the difference between Diamond Cut and Diamond Shape ?

Diamonds come in a variety of shapes. Do not confuse cut with shape, cut is what determines how well-cut your diamond is, shape is the shape it was cut into.

Round Brilliant - The Classic Cut: the vast majority of diamonds sold are rounds. The traditional choice for all occasions (diamond engagement ring, diamond jewellery, loose diamond, diamond earring etc) and preferred by many for their personal investment portfolio. The depth percentage should range between 58 to 63 percent and the table percentage should range between 55 to 64 percent. The most desired percentages are the 60 percent, and perfectionists will look for depth of 59 through 62 percent and table of 56 through 58 percent.
Oval - The oval cut diamond is based upon the traditional configuration of the round brilliant diamond and that's why its technical name is oval modified brilliant diamond. The oval was invented by Lazare Kaplan in the early 1960s. A length-to-width ratio of 1.5:1 is almost universally considered a pleasing shape for oval diamonds, with any variation beyond 1.4:1 or 1.6:1 beginning to be noticeable and become an aesthetic issue. However as with all fancies, a certain degree of individual taste is always factored into the desirability of a particular diamond's shape. Fifty-six facets are typical for oval brilliant diamonds. Over the last year or two ovals have become very popular as centre diamonds for engagement rings. Diamond earrings and diamond necklaces are very popular too.
Princess - The Princess Cut Diamond air a brilliant style shape with sharp, uncut corners. It is typically cut square rather as a rectangle. Brilliant style refers to vertical direction crown and pavilion facets instead of step style horizontaled facets. A princess Cut Diamond generally has 76 facets, giving it more brilliance and fire than the round brilliant. The Princess Cut diamond is fast becoming one of the most popular cuts in the United States: diamond engagement ring, diamond jewellery, loose diamond, diamond earring, etc..
Emerald - An emerald cut diamond shape is usually rectangular. The flat planes of the outside edges allow for a variety of side stones shapes. Typical pairings would be two or three side baguetts,two half-moons, and other smaller emeralds, but not trillions ,as their sparkle makes the centre emerald cut look flat. The length-to-width ratio should be between 1.5:1 to 1.75:1.
Radiant - The Radiant Cut Diamond is a staight-edged rectangular or square stone with cut corners. The radiant cut diamond has 62-70 facets. Radiants are principally used for important centre stones primarily for rings but also for pendant. They are rarely used for earrings or as side stones because they are hard to calibrate and match. To get matched pairs you may have to sort through a hundred stones or recut to calibrate. Radiant shape is used for a diamond ring, diamond engagement ring, diamond earring in any kind of diamond jewellery.
Marquise - The Marquise Cut takes its name from a legend relating to the Marquise of Pompadour. According to the legend, the Sun King desired a stone to be polished into the shape of the mouth of the Marquise. It is generally agreed that a length-to-width ratio between 1.75:1 to 2:1 is most pleasing. As with other fancy shapes, the consumer's individual taste constitutes an element of the evaluation as well. The typical marquise diamond contains 56 facets. Marquise cut is popular in a diamond ring, diamond engagement ring, diamond earring and in any kind of diamond jewellery.
Pear - The pear shaped brilliant diamond is based upon the traditional configuration of the round brilliant diamond. More than other fancy shapes, length-to-width ratio is a matter of taste when it comes to pear shaped diamonds. Because pears may be used for engagement rings, suites in necklaces, dangles in earrings, and integral parts of custom designs, a wide variety of shapes is considered desirable. The typical pear shaped diamond will contain 58 facets. Pear shape is used for a diamond ring, diamond engagement ring, diamond earring in any kind of diamond jewellery.
Heart - Hard to find due to low demand, but some people prefer a heart shape diamond for sentimental purposes.

What is the best ways to care for my Diamond Jewellery ?

Your jewellery is one of your most valuable possessions - it deserves a little care and attention to keep it looking perfect.

A clean diamond not only reflects light better, but looks bigger than one that's been dulled by skin oils, cosmetics, dust and dirt. Diamonds have an affinity for grease and should be cleaned regularly to keep them looking their brightest.

Do ensure your jewellery is the last item you put on and first item you take off. Do store your jewellery in separate compartments of a jewellery box or roll, as diamonds can scratch each other as well as your other jewellery.

Don't let your jewellery come into direct contact with perfumes or bleach, It won't hurt your diamonds, but it can pit or discolour any gold settings - or cause a reaction with your skin or clothing.

Give your diamonds the care they need and you will have a beautiful diamond for life; diamond jewellery and diamond rings are perfect examples.