White Diamonds

Fancy Colored Diamonds


Precious Metals



Does the thought of purchasing a diamond ring overwhelm you? Don't think you know enough about certificates, authenticity, inclusions, and grading scales? Do you know the basics; yet, need a refresher course?  A good understanding of Diamonds is necessary before you begin shopping. Our guide gives you the basics ~ the all-important "4Cs" of Diamond Quality (Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat Weight), special information on "Fancy Shapes", and images for purchasing on-line.

Popular Diamond Shapes

Round Diamonds
This shape has set the standard for all other diamond shapes, and accounts for more than 75% of diamonds sold today. Its 58-facet cut, divided among its crown (top), girdle (widest part) and pavilion (base), is calibrated through a precise formula to achieve the maximum in fire and brilliance.

Princess Diamonds
The Princess cut is the second most popular cut shape for diamonds, next to a round brilliant.[citation needed] The face-up shape of the princess cut is square or rectangular and the profile or side-on shape is similar to that of an inverted pyramid with four beveled sides. The princess cut is a relatively new diamond cut, having been created in the 1960s. It has gained in popularity in recent years as a more distinctive alternative to the more popular round brilliant cut, in which the top of diamond, called the crown, is cut with a round face-up shape and the bottom, called the pavilion, is shaped similar to a cone. A princess cut with the same width as the diameter of a round brilliant will weigh more as it has four corners which would otherwise have been cut off and rounded to form a round brilliant.

Marquise Diamonds
An elongated shape with pointed ends inspired by the fetching smile of the Marquise de Pompadour and commissioned by the Sun King, France's Louis XIV, who wanted a diamond to match it. It is gorgeous when used as a solitaire or when enhanced by smaller diamonds

Emerald Diamonds
This is a rectangular shape with cut corners. It is known as a step cut because its concentric broad, flat planes resemble stair steps. Since inclusions and inferior color are more pronounced in this particular cut, take pains to select a stone of superior clarity and color. Learn more about the Emerald Cut Diamond

Radiant Diamonds
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.

Oval Diamonds
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.

Heart Diamonds
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.

Pear Diamonds
A hybrid cut, combining the best of the oval and the marquise, it is shaped most like a sparkling teardrop. It also belongs to that category of diamond whose design most complements a hand with small or average-length fingers. It is particularly beautiful for pendants or earrings. Learn more about Pear Shaped Diamonds

Asscher Diamonds
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.

Trillion Diamonds
This is a spectacular wedge of brittle fire. First developed in Amsterdam, the exact design can vary depending on a particular diamond's natural characteristics and the cutter's personal preferences. It may be a traditional triangular shape with pointed corners or a more rounded triangular shape with 25 facets on the crown, 19 facets on the pavilion, and a polished girdle. It is definitely for the adventurous.

Cushion Diamonds
An antique style of cut that looks like a cross between an Old Mine Cut (a deep cut with large facets that was common in the late 19th and the early 20th centuries) and a modern oval cut. Learn more about the Cushion Cut Diamond 

The Four Cs of Diamonds

Every Diamond is unique. Each reflects the story of its arduous journey from deep inside the earth to a cherished object of adornment; yet, all Diamonds share certain features that allow us to compare and evaluate them. These features are called the 4Cs.


Every diamond is a miracle of time and place and chance. Like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike.

Until the middle of the twentieth century, there was no agreed-upon standard by which diamonds could be judged. GIA created the first, and now globally accepted standard for describing diamonds: Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat Weight. Today, the 4Cs of Diamond Quality is the universal method for assessing the quality of any diamond, anywhere in the world.

The creation of the Diamond 4Cs meant two very important things: diamond quality could be communicated in a universal language, and diamond customers could now know exactly what they were about to purchase.


Diamonds are renowned for their ability to transmit light and sparkle so intensely. We often think of a diamond's cut as shape (round, emerald, pear), but a diamond's cut grade is really about how well a diamond's facets interact with light.
Precise artistry and workmanship are required to fashion a stone so its proportions, symmetry, and polish deliver the magnificent return of light only possible in a diamond.

A diamond's cut is crucial to the stone's final beauty and value. Of all the diamond 4Cs; it is the most complex and technically difficult to analyze.

To determine the cut grade of the standard round brilliant diamond - the shape that dominates the majority of diamond jewelry – GIA calculates the proportions of those facets that influence the diamond's face-up appearance. These proportions allow GIA to evaluate how successfully a diamond interacts with light to create desirable visual effects such as:

Brightness: Internal and external white light reflected from a diamond

Fire: The scattering of white light into all the colors of the rainbow

Scintillation: The amount of sparkle a diamond produces, and the pattern of light and dark areas caused by reflections within the diamond

GIA's Diamond Cut Grade also takes into account the design and craftsmanship of the diamond, including its weight relative to its diameter, its girdle thickness (which affects its durability), the symmetry of its facet arrangement, and the quality of polish on those facets.

The GIA Diamond Cut Scale for standard round brilliant diamonds in the D-to-Z diamond color range contains 5 grades ranging from Excellent to Poor.


The GIA Color Scale extends from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown). Although many people think of gem quality diamonds as colorless; truly colorless diamonds are actually very rare. Most diamonds used in jewelry are nearly colorless with tints of yellow or brown. Color Grades are determined by comparing each diamond to a Master Set of Diamonds. Each letter grade represents a range of color, and is a measure of how noticeable a color is.


The GIA Clarity Scale includes seven clarity grades ranging from Flawless to I-3. As diamonds form under tremendous heat and pressure; it is extremely rare to find a diamond that lacks and internal and external characteristics. These characteristics are a by-product of its formation, and help gemologists separate natural diamonds from synthetics and simulants, and identify individual stones.

Carat Weight

One carat equals 200 milligrams in weight. For diamonds under one carat, each carat is divided into 100 points - similar to pennies on a dollar. 0.75 cts. (three-quarters of a carat)= 75 points. 0.50 cts. (one-half carat) = 50 points.


Some stones can emit a visible light when exposed to ultraviolet radiation; but, fluorescence is not a factor in determining color or clarity grades. A description of its strength and color is provided on GIA Reports as an additional identifying characteristic.


Precious Metals

There are several metals used in the creation of fine jewelry. By knowing information about the different metals, their benefits compared to each other, and their unique qualities you will be able to make a better and more informed decision about purchasing your jewelry.


The most appealing characteristic of platinum is its durability. If scratched, platinum will not lose any of its metal and does not wear away over time.  For that reason, platinum rings are crafted with platinum prongs for loose diamonds.

The majority of platinum jewelry is 95 percent pure platinum combined with 5 percent iridium, palladium, ruthenium or other alloys.  For guaranteed quality in platinum, look for the marks 950 Plat, Plat, PT, or Platinum.

White Gold

White gold is an alloy of gold and at least one white metal, usually nickel, manganese, or palladium.  Like yellow gold, the purity of white gold is given in karats.  The term white gold is used very loosely in the jewelry industry to describe karat gold alloys with a whitish hue.

Yellow Gold

Gold has an extraordinary heritage with unique qualities.  As an enduring element found naturally in a distinct yellow color, gold is resistant to rust, tarnish, and corrosion.  Although gold is strong, it's also the most malleable of all precious metals.

Pure gold is too soft for everyday wear, so it is alloyed with a mixture of metals to give it strength and durability.  Karatage, denoted by a number followed by "k" indicates purity, or how much metal in a piece of jewelry is gold.  Karatage is expressed in 24ths, making 24k gold, 100% gold.

Rose Gold

Rose gold is a gold and copper alloy widely used for specialized jewelry.  It is also known as pink gold and red gold.  As it was popular in Russia at the beginning of the nineteenth century, it is also known as Russian gold.  However, this term is now obsolete.