Clarity: Almost all diamonds and colored gemstones contain identifying marks in the form of tiny internal fractures, gas bubbles or trace minerals called inclusions and small surface imperfections called blemishes. These micro flaws are caused by the unique conditions that are necessary for gemstones to form in the earth.
In the laboratories, diamonds are graded under 10X magnification. Often times, clarity is something that your naked eyes cannot observe. The recommended clarity grades for buying engagement rings are the VS1 rating and VS2 rating. These grades will ensure that the diamond does not have detrimental inclusions and doesn’t come with the premium in cost.
Carat Weight: For centuries the tiny seeds of the Carob tree were used to weigh all gemstones because their weight and size were consistent. The word Carat was derived from these seeds. Over time the Carat was standardized on the metric scale.
Gemstone weights are expressed in metric carats (ct.) and are weighed to a thousandth (0.001) of a carat and then rounded off to the nearest hundredth (called a point). . One carat equals .200 grams (200 milligrams), just over seven thousandths of an ounce. An ounce contains almost 142 carats.
When a gem weighs more than 1 caret, its weight is described in carats and decimals. A gem that weighs less than 1 carat is expressed as points. Melee: 0.15 ct. or less – usually used in groups or to surround larger diamonds or other types of gems. 1/5 ct. = 0.2 ct., 1/4 ct. = 0.25 ct., 1/3 ct. = 0.33 ct., 1/2 ct. = 0.50 ct., 3/4 ct. = 0.75 ct., 1 ct. = 1.00 ct.
Color: Colorless and near-colorless diamonds (grades D to J) are the most highly valued and command the highest prices. Diamonds may also have a slight tint of color, generally yellow to brown, but other colors are seen occasionally. Color in a diamond is caused by trace elements, usually nitrogen that is trapped in the diamond’s internal atomic framework.
If you want a diamond that faces up white, a F or G color will be sufficient and will let you get better value for money.
Cut: A diamond’s cut quality is made up of components in its physical proportions and craftsmanship. Cut quality determines how much sparkle a diamond will display and is often the most important thing that shoppers should look for.
For round diamonds, I recommend buying GIA 3EX diamonds or AGS 000 diamonds as these will display far better optics than other cut ratings.