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How To Buy A Diamond - From Diamond Expert, Mary Rupert

How do you begin to process of buying a diamond? What to look for and what you need to know before buying a diamond. 

Most people have heard of the 4Cs of diamonds: color, clarity, cut and carat weight. After being in the diamond and jewelry business for over 30 years, I have a lot of advice to give on these 4Cs.


A diamond's color grade measures the absence, or lack, of color in a diamond. The color grades go from D to Z with D being the most white and lack of color. Most of my customers will buy anywhere from a D to an M depending on their budget and what is important to them.


The clarity grade is comprised of eleven clarity grades and they are from highest to lowest: Flawless, Internally Flawless, VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2, SI1, SI2, I1, I2, I3. The flawless and internally flawless diamonds are so rare and extremely pricey so I rarely recommend this quality of diamond.

You need to know that the clarity grades are graded by the number, nature, and location of the inclusions (or imperfections). These are all graded using a 10x microscope. It is the inclusions that can be viewed from the top of the diamond or the crown.

The bottom qualities of I2 and I3 should not even be considered as a purchase. This means that the diamond has significant visible imperfections and/or the durability is reduced because of the multiple number of inclusions. (They could have surface reaching inclusions which means that the diamond could chip or break).

Many of the chain stores use this quality and this is how they sell their diamond jewelry for a really low price). What is worse is the online stores that sell an I1 or I2 clarity for SI1 or SI2. Beware of this practice. Also, just because a store says that a diamond is a certain color and clarity-it might not be. There are fake diamond reports and even diamond laboratories that have no way for you to find them or contact them.

This information about the clarity grade narrows the field to VVS1, VVS2,VS1, VS2, SI1, SI2, I1 which is seven different choices but a very broad range of what the diamonds would look like under 10x magnification. Most individuals looking under a microscope would not be able to tell the difference between VVS1, VVS2 and VS1. It takes a gemologist to tell the difference in these three grades. The next group of lower quality is VS2 and SI1. This group is often confused as there is so little difference between these qualities. The last quality is SI2 and I1.

With SI2, you probably are not going to visibly see any of the inclusions. The only exception would be in the larger diamonds of 2 carat or bigger size.  With I1 clarity, you may or may not be able to see one or more of the inclusions.


The carat weight is how much a diamond weighs. It is not a measurement. We use millimeters to measure diamonds. The "carat" originated from the carab seed and it was used 100's of years ago. There are 100 points in a carat so a 1/2 carat diamond is 50 points. (similar to dollars and cents).  Most diamonds smaller than a 1.00 carat are referred to by the points so a .97 carat is "97 points" (almost a carat).


The cut grade is the final grading of the diamond. With round diamonds, there are cut grades of Excellent, Good, Fair and Poor. You might have seen a diamond that is referred to as Ideal and this is an excellent cut grade diamond that also has excellent symmetry, and excellent polish. The highest cut grade given by GIA is Excellent but in marketing, some salespeople will call a diamond "Ideal cut" but this is not a scientific or gemological term.

I tell my customers to view a diamond with their eye and compare to other diamonds. Does it have visible imperfections or a yellow or brown color, if so then find another diamond. When comparing diamonds to each other that you like, you can determine the diamond that sparkles and has the most scintillation. Look for a diamond that talks to you! We always give our clients more than one diamond to look at so that they can compare!

We hope that you will choose Five Star Jewelry Brokers & Gemologists for your natural or lab grown diamond needs. We specialize in wedding and bridal jewelry including men's wedding bands. We are brokers of diamonds and when you shop with us it is like shopping at 500 jewelry stores at once. We can narrow down the best diamond at the best price!


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