Questions most often asked by those selecting a diamond are:
“Why do some diamonds vary so much in price?”
“What, other than size, are the factors that determine this price variance?”
We hope the following information will help answer any questions you may have about diamonds.
James Avery holds to the highest standards for our selection of diamonds. Our gemologists select every diamond according to the exacting standards described herein.
For almost 60 years, integrity and quality have been our guiding principles in our representation and presentation of diamonds.
We will not sell diamonds that support violence and we salute all those jewelers around the world who share our commitment.
Many people do not know the history of “Conflict Diamonds” or “Blood Diamonds” from Sierra Leone being used to fund violent rebel movements in Africa. Fortunately, in 2002 the United Nations established the Kimberly Process Certification System that has virtually eliminated the world’s trade in conflict diamonds.
Today over 90 percent of the world’s supply of diamonds comes from conflict-free sources. But until that number reaches 100 percent, we must all remain vigilant. At James Avery, we only use diamonds from sources that comply completely with the Kimberly Process Certification System.
What Characteristics Make a Diamond Valuable?
The diamond is often considered the finest among gemstones and is unmatched in its durability and brilliance. Diamonds are almost pure carbon and are the hardest substance known to man.
The value of a diamond is determined by four factors called the four “C’s” which include: color, cut, clarity, and carat (weight). Understanding the rating system of diamonds may help you find the best quality diamond for your money.
Even though a diamond may seem colorless to the naked eye, many contain various tints of yellow or brown. Therefore, the more colorless a diamond, the more rare and valuable it becomes. Color is most critical because a single increase in color grade can mean the cost of a diamond could rise by hundreds of dollars per carat.
The Gemological Institute of america (GIA) has developed a color grading scale that rates diamonds from D (colorless) to Z (yellow). At James Avery, we only use diamonds in the G-H range of this scale. We feel that color is the most important factor in the selection of your diamond because the other factors such as cut, clarity, size will not offset any color tint that is present.
Diamonds can also come in shades of pink, blue, red, green, and intense yellow. These diamonds are rare and have their own grading standards. James Avery does not sell colored diamonds.
You may have noticed that some diamonds seem to sparkle more than others. This is the result of the cut of a diamond, a factor almost as important as color when selecting a diamond.
The cut of a diamond, that is the angles and polish of the different surfaces, or “facets” of a diamond, is what gives the brilliance or “fire” to a diamond. A diamond cut to the proper proportions will gather, reflect, refract, and disperse light like no other gemstone. A poorly cut diamond will not reflect light as well as a diamond that is properly cut. A classic brilliant-cut diamond, for example, has 58 facets which are placed in a geometric pattern to reflect the maximum amount of light. Our round diamonds are brilliant-cut.
Another popular cut is the princess cut, which was developed around 1980 in Los Angeles. The diamond is cut perfectly square rather than as a rectangle, generally with 76 facets, giving it more brilliance and fire than a round brilliant-cut.
In selecting diamonds, James Avery is particular to avoid diamonds that are not precisely cut. Sometimes a diamond cutter will compromise proper proportions and cut the stone so that it will weigh more and as a result cost more, thus allowing light to leak through the diamond rather than be reflected upwards. A customer may unknowingly pay more for a heavier stone while sacrificing quality and brilliance.
The cut of a diamond is not letter-graded like the color and clarity. Therefore, expertise in this area is needed to determine this factor. Place your trust with someone who holds to the highest standards when grading the cut of a diamond.
Clarity describes the imperfections or inclusions in a diamond, in other words its purity. The fewer the imperfections, the more brilliant the diamond. as with color, the GIA has developed a grading scale to rate the clarity of diamonds. It measures clarity in basically four categories, from flawless (F) to imperfect (I). Truly flawless diamonds are extremely rare. Almost all diamonds have at least some inclusions. A diamond may be rated flawless if no external or internal imperfections are visible under ten-power (10x) magnification. At James Avery, we offer diamonds that are SI1 clarity or better.
The carat is a unit of measurement used to weigh gemstones. It should not be confused with the word “karat” used to indicate the purity of gold. If all other measures of value are equal (color, clarity, and cut), then it is the carat weight that will determine the value of your diamond. Bear in mind, though, that size isn’t everything. A larger stone will not hold as much value if it lacks brilliance (cut), purity (clarity), or a high-grade color. One carat equals 200 milligrams, or 100 “points,” so a 10-point diamond will equal 1/10th of a carat.