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How To Buy A Diamond


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Diamonds are an enduring expression of love. At Achikian Goldsmiths we can help you select the perfect diamond that expresses yours. First, though, we would like to explain the technical characteristics of a diamond. Color, clarity, cut and caratweight are well known as the 4c's. A brief description of each characteristic will help you understand more about diamonds.

Clarity: a Rarity

Diamonds, more than any other gemstone, can produce the maximum amount of brilliance. A diamond that is virtually free of interior or exterior inclusions (commonly known as flaws) is of the highest quality, for nothing interferes with the passage of light through the diamond. To determine a diamond's clarity, a trained eye views it under a 10-power magnification. The flawless diamond contains no minute inclusions that mar its beauty or endanger its durability. Clarity is broken down into five different classification. Several diagrams inside this packet discuss the size and location of an inclusion that classifies a diamond's clarity. The first classification as one would expect is Flawless (F1), where no inclusion exists in the diamond. The second is Very, Very, Small Inclusions (VVS). The VVS classification has two levels namely VVS1 and VVS2. Referring to the diagram for VVS1 you will see eight sets of a diamonds' table (left) and girdle (right). The text below each table/girdle pair discusses the size and location of the inclusions. The third classification is Very Small Inclusions (VS). Again the VS classification has two levels. Refer to the diagrams for VS1 and VS2 to determine the difference between the VVS and VS classifications. The fourth classification is Small Inclusions (SI) which also has two levels. Finally, the fifth classification is Imperfect (I) which has three levels. Diagrams also exist for the SI and I classifications. The Flawless diamond is certainly the most expensive choice; however, the VVS class inclusion is not noticeable to the naked eye. Refer to the diagram entitled " Clarity Grading Scale" to see how each classification ranks with the other.

Color: Good Color is no Color

The best color for a diamond is no color. A totally colorless diamond acts as a prism, allowing light to pass effortlessly through the diamond and be transformed into rainbows of color. Color grading scale is from totally colorless to light yellow. The differences between one grade and another are very subtle, as can be seen by the number of grades within one category. Refer to the diagram entitled "Color Grading Scale." The D-graded diamond would certainly be a major factor in the higher value of a diamond. A G- or H-graded diamond is a good compromise.

Cut: the Brilliant Cut

The type and shape of cut proportions, symmetry, and outer marks are taken into consideration when grading a diamond's cut. You should look for a stone that has the "Fine Brilliant Cut." The following table shows the terms and definitions for grading according to cut of brilliants under 1.00 carat.

Term Definition

Very Good:  Exceptional brilliance, few and only minor outer marks
Good:  Good brilliance, some outer marks
Medium:  Slightly less brilliance, some larger outer marks.
Poor:  Less brilliance, large and many outer marks.
Carat Weight:  Bigger is bigger, but not necessarily better


Diamonds are cut in several different shapes:  Round, Pear, Marquise, Emerald, Square, Trillion, and others.

A diamond is measured in carats. One carat is divided into 100 "points," so that a diamond of 75 points weighs .75 carats. Size is the most obvious factor in determining the value of a diamond. But two diamonds of equal size can have very unequal values, depending on their quality. And diamonds of high quality can be found in all size ranges.

When purchasing a diamond at the quarter carat intervals (1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1.00, etc.) select a one that weighs just below these intervals. For example, if you would like a 3/4 carat diamond, a .73 carat diamond will save you hundreds of dollars.

In addition to educating yourself about the 4c's, consider the following Diamond Buying Tips:

TIP #1::  Obtaining a Gemologist Institute of America (GIA) Diamond Grading Report. Most diamonds are not already graded by the GIA. However, to have a diamond certified is always possible and would range in an additional cost of $200 to $400. When comparing prices be sure to include in your comparison the GIA Diamond Grading Report cost. The GIA is the international standard you can trust.

TIP #2:  Inspect your stones unmounted. This will allow you to adequately and accurately inspect the diamond.

We hope that this information is helpful to you in selecting that special diamond for that special someone. Come visit our Vienna location, we would enjoy the opportunity to answer any questions you may have about diamonds or any gemstone.



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