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Certified Loose Diamonds Search

Practical Advice for Your Search

How to Choose Diamond Carat

When shopping for a loose diamond choosing diamond carat size is generally a matter of preferences for dimensionality, but also involves an understanding of how quality factors affect diamond prices. Carat weight usually translates to approximate size equivalents, but depending how the diamond is proportioned, stones of a given weight might vary widely in actual size.

As diamond carat increases the cost “per carat” increases as well, leading to an exponential increase in total price. For example a 1.01 carat diamond of a certain quality might cost $5000 per carat, or $5050 total. The same quality in a 2.01 carat might cost $8000 per carat or $16,080 total. So a diamond twice as big can cost over three times as much.

Color and clarity grades can greatly affect the diamond carat range that can be purchased with a given budget. Some compromise is almost always made in one or both areas. Loose diamonds in the colorless range (DEF) sell for premium prices, as do diamonds that are near flawless (IF, VVS1, VVS2). To many people these stones are essentially indistinguishable from near colorless stones with minor inclusions (GHIJ VS/SI). It is important to understand which factors are most important to you so that you can select the ideal diamond for your budget.

How to Choose Diamond Color

Determining the best diamond color range to stay in is a very individual matter. People vary widely in their color acuity. Some people can immediately detect a diamond color that is outside the colorless range (DEF). Other people cannot distinguish between colors several grades apart, even in controlled conditions.

Most shoppers are mainly concerned that the diamond does not look yellow to the casual observer. Diamonds in the near-colorless range (GHIJ) generally fit these criteria. And since near-colorless diamonds cost far less than colorless ones, many people find their best value in this range. While placing a diamond color D next to an I color will create a differential that most people can see, the I color on its own looks essentially “white”. Another way to say it is that loose diamonds in the G-J range, while not technically colorless, do not create an impression of color. *See this page for more information on how diamond color grading is done in the laboratory.

Ideal cut diamonds appear slightly whiter than ordinary cuts because they return a maximum amount of the ambient light back to the eye, to some extent overwhelming any visible body color of the diamond itself.

How to Choose Diamond Clarity

In choosing loose diamond clarity it is interesting to note that very few people actually buy flawless diamonds. That is because the best diamond clarity (FL) is essentially indistinguishable from diamonds several clarity grades lower- except with a microscope- yet they far more costly. Therefore, almost everyone makes some compromise in this area.

Generally, shoppers are mainly concerned with imperfections that will be noticeable to the unaided eye. Diamond clarity is graded under ten power magnification and normally diamonds in the upper six categories (FL, IF, VVS1, VVS2, VS1 and VS2) are all “eye clean”.

There is some logic to choosing clarities that exceed eye-clean status, as the presence of inclusions can sometime impact light performance, even if they cannot be seen with the unaided eye. Certain clarity characteristics, particularly in loose diamonds with Si grades, can negatively impact brightness and fire.

Provided that imperfections are not easily visible to the naked eye and they do not diminish light performance, choosing a lower clarity grade can be a smart tradeoff.

How to Choose Diamond Cut

Diamond Cut is arguably the most important of the Diamond 4 C’s. The proportioning and craftsmanship of the diamond are the keys to its brilliance, fire and sparkle. Loose diamonds much lower in color and clarity that are cut with high precision can look much more beautiful than diamonds with perfect color and clarity but faulty cut quality.

A polished diamond consists of a system of tiny facets, each one a mirror that must work in concert with all other facets in order to bring forth the full expression of the potential beauty within. No matter what size, color or clarity one may choose it is a waste of this precious potential not to maximize light performance by compromising loose diamond cut quality.

Ideal cut diamonds are those that have been cut to specifications with extremely small tolerances that enable the diamond to refract and reflect the optimal quantity and quality of light back to the eye of the observer. For shoppers seeking the absolute finest in diamond cut there are true super ideals such as A CUT ABOVE® diamonds. They must first receive the most prestigious certificate from the foremost authority on diamond cut quality – a platinum certificate from the American Gem Society Laboratories. From there they must pass additional light performance and quality tests in order to become a member of the A CUT ABOVE® loose diamonds brand. Simply put, they are the “Best of the Best” in terms of what makes a diamond beautiful – brightness, dispersion and scintillation (otherwise known as brilliance, fire and sparkle!)

While there is a premium associated with buying ideal cut diamonds, when you consider the benefit of getting maximum performance from your combination of the other 3 C’s every time that diamond is observed, day after day and year after year, there is no question that this premium is one well worth investing in.

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