The 4 C’s of Diamonds

Diamonds can be one of the most difficult products to compare and buy, because, like us, no two are exactly the same. The four main components of diamond are as follows:

  • Cut The most important and valuable part of a diamond is the cut. By cut, I mean not only the depth and table percentages, but the all around make of a stone. Everything from depth, table, pavilion angle, polish and symmetry has to do with the ultimate sparkle a diamond can emit. For example, you can have two diamonds with the same color, clarity and carat weight, that costs up to thousands of dollars less, all because of the cut!
  • Color  White diamonds are the most traditional and valuable types of diamonds. The less the color, the higher the grade. D, E, F color diamonds are graded as colorless, and G-J are graded as near colorless, and so on.
  • Clarity The inclusions, or flaws, a diamond has determines the clarity. Inclusions come in different forms, from white feathers, to dark, black crystals. The GIA distributes diamonds into 11 different levels, from Flawless to Included.The important distinction between clarity is the location and distribution of the inclusions. As well as the color and size of the inclusions. Another example would be two stones with the same SI1 grading, but with a significant price difference all because of the inclusion positioning.
  • Carat We measure the weight of diamonds in carats because it is the most universal measurement in such small units. Don’t confuse Carats with Karats- gold purity. Just as a dollar is divided into a hundred pennies, a carat is divided into 100 points.

Diamond carat weight

Shape Choose Your Diamond Shape

  • Round: The round brilliant cut diamond is by far the most popular and most researched diamond shape available today. For almost 100 years, diamond cutters have been using advanced theories of light behavior and precise mathematical calculations to optimize the fire and brilliance in a round diamond. In addition to being the most popular and researched shape, a round diamond will typically give you more flexibility in terms of balancing cut, color, and clarity grades while still getting the fire and brilliance you want.To maximize the brilliance of a traditional round diamond, select one in the two highest cut grades, Excellent or Very Good, and choose ideal, excellent, or very good polish and symmetry grades.
  • Princess: This is our most popular non-round diamond. Its beautiful brilliance and unique cut makes it a favorite for engagement rings. The princess has pointed corners and is traditionally square in shape. When choosing a color grade, consider that while the price of a J-color non-round diamond is exceptional, color may be slightly visible in its corners. Also, princess-cut diamonds can vary greatly in how square or rectangular they are. To find the dimension of princess you want, look for the length-to-width ratio in our interactive diamond search and on each diamond’s detail page. This will determine what the diamond will look like when viewing it from above. Here are length-to-width ratios for princess- cut diamond shapes that are pleasing to the eye. For a princess diamond shape that is square, look for length-to-width ratios between 1 and 1.05. If you prefer more of a rectangular shape, look for length-to-width ratios greater than 1.10. For the most brilliant princess available.
  • Emerald: What makes this shape different is its pavilion, which is cut with rectangular facets to create a unique optical appearance. Due to its larger, open table, this shape highlights the clarity of a diamond. If you choose an emerald-cut with a lower clarity grade, such as SI, be sure to review the clarity plot on the diamond certificate. Also, emerald-cut diamonds can vary greatly in how rectangular they are. If you’d prefer an emerald cut with a squared outline, look for an Asscher-cut diamond. To find the shape of emerald you want, look for the length-to-width ratio in our interactive diamond search and on each diamond’s detail page. The length-to-width ratio will determine the diamond’s outline, or what it will look like when viewed from the top. For the classic emerald-cut shape, look for a length-to-width ratio between 1.30 and 1.40.
  • Asscher: This beautifully unique shape is nearly identical to the emerald-cut, except that it is square. Also, this shape has a pavilion that is cut with rectangular facets in the same style as the emerald-cut. If you choose SI-clarity be sure to view the clarity plot on the diamond certificate, because this shape highlights the clarity of the diamond. When choosing a color grade, consider that while the price of a J-color non-round diamond is exceptional, color may be slightly visible in its corners. Asscher Cut diamonds from Blue Nile will appear square, because each one is guaranteed to have a length-to-width ratio between 1.00 and 1.05. For our ideal Asscher-cut diamond.
  • Cushion: This unique shape has been popular for more than a century. Cushion-cut diamonds (also known as “pillow-cut” diamonds) have rounded corners and larger facets to increase their brilliance. These larger facets highlight the diamond’s clarity, so if you choose an SI clarity grade, be sure to review the clarity plot on the diamond certificate. Cushion-cut diamonds are available in shapes ranging from square to rectangular. To find the dimension of cushion you want, look for the length-to-width ratio in our interactive diamond search and on each diamond’s detail page. The length-to-width ratio will determine the diamond’s outline, or what it will look like when viewed from the top. For a cushion-cut diamond that is square, look for length-to-width ratios between 1 and 1.05. If you prefer more of a rectangular shape, look for length-to-width ratios greater than 1.15.
  • Marquise: The shape of a marquise diamond can maximize carat weight, giving you a much larger-looking diamond. This brilliant-cut diamond looks beautiful set with round or pear-shaped side stones, and the length of the marquise makes fingers appear long and slender. To find the dimension of marquise you want, look for the length-to-width ratio in our interactive diamond search and on each diamond’s detail page. The length-to-width ratio will determine the diamond’s outline, or what it will look like when viewed from the top. For the most traditional marquise-cut diamonds, look for length-to-width ratios between 1.75 and 2.25
  • Oval: An oval diamond has beautiful brilliance that’s similar to a round diamond. Oval diamonds are also very popular as their length can accentuate long, slender fingers. To find the dimension of oval you want, look for the length-to-width ratio in our interactive diamond search and on each diamond’s detail page. The length-to-width ratio will determine the diamond’s outline, or what it will look like when viewed from the top. For the most traditional oval diamonds, look for length-to-width ratios between 1.33 and 1.66.
  • Radiant: Trimmed corners are the signature of this diamond, and they help make the radiant-cut a popular and versatile choice for jewelry. A radiant-cut looks equally beautiful set with either baguette or round side-diamonds. Radiant-cut diamonds can vary in their degree of rectangularity. To find the dimension of radiant you want, look for the length-to- width ratio in our interactive diamond search and on each diamond’s detail page. The length-to-width ratio will determine the diamond’s outline, or what it will look like when viewed from the top. For a radiant diamond shape that is square, look for length-to-width ratios between 1 and 1.05. If you prefer more of a rectangular shape, look for length-to-width ratios greater than 1.10.
  • Pear: This brilliant-cut diamond is also called a teardrop for its single point and rounded end. The unique look of the pear shape helps make it a popular choice for a variety of diamond jewelry. If you choose an elongated pear shape, the length of the diamond creates a subtle slimming effect on the fingers. To understand what the diamond will look like when viewing it from above, look for the length-to-width ratio on each diamond’s detail page. For the most traditional pear-shaped diamond, look for a length-to-width ratio between 1.45 and 1.75.
  • Heart: The heart is the ultimate symbol of love. The unique look of the heart-shaped diamond helps make it a distinctive choice for a variety of diamond jewelry. When choosing a color grade, consider that while the price of a J-color heart shaped diamond is exceptional, color may be slightly visible in its corners. To find the dimension of heart-shape you want, look for the length-to-width ratio in our interactive diamond search and on each diamond’s detail page. The length-to-width ratio will determine the diamond’s outline, or what it will look like when viewed from the top. For a more traditional heart-shaped diamond, look for length-to-width ratios between .90 and 1.10.

 

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Conflict Free Diamonds
What are Conflict Diamonds?
Conflict diamonds are diamonds illegally traded to fund conflict in war-torn areas, particularly in central and western Africa. The United Nations (UN) defines conflict diamonds as “…diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments, and are used to fund military action in opposition to those governments, or in contravention of the decisions of the Security Council.” These diamonds are sometimes referred to as “blood diamonds.”

Background
Conflict diamonds captured the world’s attention during the extremely brutal conflict in Sierra Leone in the late 1990s. During this time, it is estimated that conflict diamonds represented approximately 4% of the world’s diamond production. Illicit rough diamonds have also been used by rebels to fund conflicts in Angola, Liberia, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo (also known as Congo Brazzaville).
Today, the flow of conflict diamonds has been reduced to considerably less than 1%.
Eliminating Conflict Diamonds In July 2000, the global diamond industry made clear to the international community its zero tolerance policy towards conflict diamonds. Dedicated to eradicating the trade in conflict diamonds, it worked closely with the United Nations, governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as Global Witness and Partnership Africa Canada to create the Kimberley Process Certification System. This system was formally adopted in 2003 and guards against conflict diamonds entering the legitimate diamond supply chain. The diamond industry also adopted a voluntary System of Warranties to assure consumers that their diamonds are from sources free of conflict.
Today 74 governments have enshrined into their national law the Kimberley Process Certification System, and now more than 99% of the world’s diamonds are from conflict free sources. However, even one conflict diamond is one too many. The diamond industry continues to work with governments, NGOs and the UN to strengthen the Kimberley Process and the System of Warranties.

While diamonds have been used to fund conflict, the problem is not the diamonds themselves but the rebels who exploit diamonds (along with other natural resources) to achieve their illicit goals. The vast majority of diamonds come from countries at peace. These countries have been able to invest the revenue from diamonds into the development of infrastructure, schools and hospitals for the good of the communities in which diamonds are found. These countries include Australia, Botswana, Canada, Namibia, Russia, South Africa and Tanzania.

Today, more than 99% of the world’s diamonds are now from conflict free sources and are officially traded under the UN mandated Kimberley Process.

HOW DIAMONDS HELP THE PEOPLE OF AFRICA
“ The diamond industry is vital to the Southern African economy.”
-Nelson Mandela
FACT: 65% of the world’s diamonds come from African countries.
FACT: The $8.4 billion African diamond industry is one of the fundamental pillars of the African economy.
FACT: Approximately 5 million people have access to health care due to diamond revenues.
FACT: An estimated 10 million people globally are directly or indirectly supported by the diamond industry.
FACT: Revenues from the diamond industry help provide necessary counseling, testing, education, treatment programs, clinics and hospices for HIV/AIDS patients.
FACT: The charity Jewelers for Children funds a community-based care program for orphaned children in South Africa.