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A Buyers Guide To Diamonds

Choosing your wedding dress may seem like the most important desision you will make - but the ring that represents the commitment you and your husband are making is one that you will wear for a lifetime.
Image of a Diamond Ring


The closer a diamond is to colorless, the more valuable it becomes. The scale shown below demonstrates the subtlety and various grades of a diamond's color.
D-F = Colorless
G-J = Nearly Colorless
K-M = Faintly Colored


The cut of a diamond represents the proportions and finish. A diamond cut with the correct proportions and angles, called "Well Cut", will refract the prism of light more efficiently, resulting in vibrant sparkle and brilliance. Less optimal cuts of diamonds result in less fire and sparkle. In a deep cut diamond, some light escapes through the side of the diamond. In a Shallow Cut diamond, light escapes through the bottom of the diamond.


Because diamonds are created by nature with millions of years of intense heat and pressure, imperfections or "inclusions" are often formed in the process. A diamond that has no inclusions may be graded as FL or "Flawless" as it is of the highest clarity and quality. The chart below illustrates the various clarity grades available.
IF-FL: Internally Flawless containing no visible inclusions.
VVS1-VVS2: Very, very slightly included. Even under 10x magnification, very few inclusions can be seen.
VS1-VS2: Very slightly included. Unable to see inclusions with the naked eye.
SI1-SI2: Slightly included, with visible inclusions under 10x magnification.
I1-I2-I3: Included. Inclusions can be seen with the naked eye.

Carat Weight

The carat weight of a diamond is not a measurement of size; it is a unit of mass. It stands to reason, however, that two diamonds cut to the same proportions and shape, will be the same size. Since larger diamonds are more rare and occur less frequently in nature, those of a heavier carat weight are more valuable.

Diamond weight is expressed in "carats" and "points". One hundred points equal one carat, 50 points measure 1/2 carat, 25 points equal 1/4 carat, etc. Although carat weight is the most obvious factor in the grading of a diamond, bigger is not always better.


Diamond jewelry is very popular. Some pieces, such as diamond engagement and wedding rings, are often worn 24 hours a day. Even though you may wear your diamond jewelry around the clock, you should give thought to its care. Diamonds are durable, but they still require proper maintenance. Diamonds can get smudged, soiled and dusty. Lotions, powders, soaps, even natural skin oils, put a film on diamonds and cut down their brilliance. Clean diamonds "glow" because the maximum amount of light can enter the stone and return in a fiery brilliance. It takes just a little care to keep them that way.

Do not wear diamond jewelry, especially rings, when doing rough work. Even though diamond is one of the hardest materials in nature, it can still be chipped by a sharp, sudden blow.

Chlorine can damage and discolor the mounting on your diamond jewelry. Keep your diamond away from chlorine bleach or other household chemicals. You should also remove your diamond jewelry before entering a chlorinated pool or hot tub.

Clean your diamonds regularly using a commercial jewelry cleaner, a mix of ammonia and water, or a mild detergent. Dip the jewelry into the solution and use a soft brush to dislodge dust or dirt from under the setting.

Avoid touching your clean diamonds with your fingers. Handle clean jewelry by its edges.
Diamond care information provided in cooperation with Jewelers of America.

More wedding planning tips.