DIAMONDS 101The Dondero Jewelers Learning Center
CHOOSING THE PERFECT DIAMOND
CHOOSING THE PERFECT DIAMOND
Born of the earth, reborn on the one you love, a diamond is more than a precious gem… it’s a piece of forever.
THE ENDURING GIFT OF LOVE – For centuries, men and women have found that the sparkle and brilliance of a quality diamond express their deepest emotions and symbolize their enduring love. Yet with so many beautiful diamonds to choose from – and no two alike – how do you pick the right diamond while spending wisely?
While all diamonds are beautiful, only by comparing stones will you be able to appreciate what makes one more rare and valuable than another. When you view stones side by side, you’ll understand why diamonds that look similar at a casual glance may be priced differently. While all diamonds are precious, the most valuable possess the best combination of cut, clarity, carat weight and color. There are no “bargain” diamonds… there are only diamonds of different value, weight and brilliance.
Since 1948, Dondero’s has established long- standing relationships with its clients, taking great pride in helping them find their perfect diamond. Our diamond experts are knowledgeable and accessible and are trained to explain the 4Cs and provide you with a wide selection of diamonds in a range of prices. Once you understand why some diamonds are rarer than others, you can make an informed decision. Choose a beautiful stone that combines the qualities of the 4Cs you most value.
For three generations, we have earned the trust of our customer… allow us to earn yours for the next generation.
KNOWLEDGE CAN HELP CURE 'DIAMOND ANXIETY'
KNOWLEDGE CAN HELP CURE ‘DIAMOND ANXIETY’
The purchase of an engagement, bridal, or any other example of diamond jewelry can be intimidating. To begin with, there is the expense. Then there is the attitude of the staff, which can sometimes be less than comforting. Ultimately, however, a customer’s anxiety in making a diamond purchase stems from the layman’s inability to evaluate a stone’s true virtues – its color, cut, clarity, and carat.
The diamond certified staff at Dondero Diamonds & Fine Jewelry has been guiding men and women from Cumberland County and beyond – to Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, and Atlantic City – toward the diamond purchase that will give them the most satisfaction. Our staff believes that an informed buyer will be confident in his or her purchase decision. To advance you in your knowledge of diamonds, we offer our Diamond FAQ. Of course, we are always prepared to allay your “diamond anxieties” in person at our Vineland, New Jersey, store as well as by telephone and email.
Remember that a Dondero diamond is of the very finest quality and clarity at a price our customers can afford.
So, learn more in our information center below and then give us a call, stop by or send us a message so our experts can turn your new found knowledge into the beautiful Dondero Diamond of your dreams.
Diamonds and gemstones are cut into many different shapes, each with their own aesthetic and cutting requirements. While diamond and gem shapes are sometimes referred to as the cut (for example an emerald-cut diamond), the cut refers to how a jeweler cuts the gemstone to achieve its symmetry and proportion.
Most people are familiar with the round solitaire diamond and common "fancy" shapes — which refer to a gemstone cut in any shape other than round.
Use this chart of diamond shapes to pick your favorite:
The four factors that determine the value of a diamond are known as the 4Cs. The best way to shop for a diamond is to have a good understanding of the 4Cs and determine which factors are most important to you, as each of the “Cs” means something different for each individual. For example, some women care most about the carat weight and diamond size, while others might consider the clarity and cut more important. Your diamond purchase should never be based on the specifications alone.
Diamond Carat Weight
Carat weight measures a diamond’s weight and size. Because large diamonds are rare, they generally have a greater value per carat.
A diamond’s clarity is affected by any external and internal characteristics created by nature when the diamond was formed or as a result of the cutting process. Learn more about diamond clarity and see diamond clarity charts in this section.
While the most popular diamonds are colorless, diamonds come in every color of the spectrum. Diamond color grades are determined by professionals under ideal circumstances, a situation seldom duplicated outside of a laboratory. Choose a diamond based on its appeal to you, rather than on a technical color scale.
Each diamond is cut to very exacting standards. The cut is one of the most important quality factors of a diamond, as it affects the diamond’s optical and physical properties, like brilliance – how a diamond reflects light.
A diamond’s size is measured in carat weight, and each carat is equal to 100 points. A .75 carat diamond is the same as a 75-point diamond or a 3/4 carat stone.
Larger diamonds are found relatively infrequently in nature, which increases their value. In addition, a larger diamond shows the stone’s color and cut, and therefore its brilliance, to its best advantage.
The chart below shows the approximate diameter (measured in millimeters) of well-cut round diamonds of different carat weights. (image may not be to scale)
According to the quality analysis system of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), clarity is graded on a scale ranging from Flawless (Fl) to Imperfect (I). Only a tiny percentage of diamonds ever achieve a grade of Flawless.
Although virtually all natural diamonds contain identifying characteristics, many are invisible to the naked eye. When viewed through a 10x magnifying loupe or microscope, natural phenomena – called inclusions – may be seen. These are nature’s birthmarks and may look like tiny crystals, clouds or feathers. They make each stone unique, and the fewer the inclusions, the more valuable the diamond. Inclusions can sometimes interfere with the passage of light through the stone, diminishing its sparkle and its value.
Diamonds categorized as internally flawless reveal no such inclusions. Diamonds with very, very small inclusions are graded VVS1 or VVS2. The larger the inclusion, the lower the grade and the less rare the diamond. Inclusions that can be seen with the naked eye are graded I1 to I3.
While most diamonds appear white, virtually all display barely perceptible tints of color. Diamonds come in every color of the spectrum, but the most popular are colorless. Truly colorless, pure white diamonds are extremely rare and, therefore, the most costly. Diamonds are graded according to how far they deviate from the purest white. Color grading starts with D (colorless), and continues down through the alphabet, with each letter designating a slight darker or warmer tint.
Although it is difficult for the untrained eye to see these minor variations, when viewing diamonds side by side, you will see that a diamond with a higher color grade will appear brighter, even when viewed with the naked eye. The best way to see the true color of a diamond is by looking at it against a white surface.
Diamonds also come in a spectrum of majestic colors, from red and canary yellow to blue, green and purple. These colorful diamonds, known as fancies, are valued for their depth of color, just as white diamonds are valued for their lack of color. Therefore, fancy color diamonds are graded in order of increasing intensity from Faint, Very Light, Light, Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, Fancy Dark and Fancy Deep.
While nature determines a diamond’s clarity, carat weight and color, the hand of a master craftsman is necessary to release its fire, sparkle and beauty. When a diamond is cut to fine proportions, light will reflect from one mirror-like facet to another and disperse through the top of the stone, resulting in a display of brilliance and fire.
Diamonds that are cut too deep or too shallow lose light that spills through the side or bottom. As a result, poorly cut stones will be less brilliant and beautiful – and certainly less valuable – than well cut diamonds.
Anatomy of a Diamond
Each diamond is cut to very exacting standards. The most common cut, the round brilliant, has 58 facets, or small, flat, polished planes designed to yield the maximum amount of light reflected back to the viewer.
The widest circumference of a diamond is known as the girdle. Above the girdle of a brilliant cut diamond are 32 facets plus the table, which is the largest and topmost facet. Below the girdle are 24 facets plus the culet, or point.
Why Does Cut Matter?
A diamond’s cut impacts four aspects of the stone’s appearance.
Luster: The quality and amount of light that is reflected off just the surface of the diamond. Luster is directly related to the hardness of the stone and the quality of its polish.
Brilliance: The amount of white light that is returned to the eye from both internal and external surfaces. Brilliance is determined by the quality of the diamond’s polish and the number and size of inclusions inside the gem. A diamond’s light reflection, known as brilliance, is an extremely important factor in evaluating the quality of a diamond’s cut. A poorly cut diamond will actually lose light and appear dull.
Dispersion: The display of spectral or rainbow colors seen coming from the inside of a diamond. Often referred to as “fire,” dispersion is directly related to how well the stone is proportioned.
Scintillation: A diamond will show scintillation, or “sparkle,” when movement is involved. The viewer, the light source or the diamond itself must be in motion for scintillation to occur.
Dondero Diamonds and Fine Jewelry is a full-service fine jewelry store specializing in engagement rings and wedding bands, loose diamonds, custom-made one-of- a-kind jewelry and engagement rings, diamond and gemstone jewelry, and jewelry repair. Dondero’s offers fine jewelry at the most affordable prices, and carries a huge selection of bracelets, necklaces, rings, and earrings, and watches by MOVADO and CITIZEN.
Since 1948, Dondero’s has been family owned and operated in Vineland, New Jersey. Owners Kevin Kleiner and Ken Dondero, along with their entire staff, share this philosophy:
“Everything we do is for the benefit of our customers and no job or sale is any more or less important than any other”. It is our commitment to this philosophy that has allowed us to grow over the years. Our customers expect us to “do it all”, and to do it better than anyone else. This is what we strive for every day we open our doors. This is who we are.”