Diamond Facts / What is the...

Most expensive shape?
It always has been and still is ...Round. Why? Because it's still the most popular (demand) and is the most wasteful (largest amount of rough diamond weight loss) to cut.

Most brilliant?
That'd be Round again. Because the round is perfectly symmetrical (round) the angles and positioning of the facets insure that all light entering the stone is reflected back out through the top. The Oval is close as well as the Cushion. As soon as we get a shape that's stretched out like a Marquise or Pear or becomes so asymetrical like a heart or a baguette, light starts to leak out. This creates what is known as a 'bowtie' effect which is a darker area in the center of elongated diamonds.

Most maintenance?
In our experience, the Emerald Cut and related straight and tapered baguettes. Because they have the least and largest facets, when they get dirty with soap, lotion, food, Playdough and other 'stuff' from everyday, the light gets absorbed. And since there are less tiny facets, less reflection occurs with whatever light is still in the stone. Rectangular Princess and other asymetrical stones also have this problem and we always say, "...it's like having a black car. Beautiful after you've washed it but in a couple of days, it's time for another wash".

Most risk or difficult to set?
Any diamond that has sharp points. A Pear has one at the tip, that's tough enough. The Marquise has two, twice the stress. The Princess has FOUR! Sharp corners tend to chip more than a rounded area so setting them is nerve racking if you think about it. As for risk of wearing them, all of these rules still apply. Diamond is the hardest natural substance known to man, but this does NOT mean it's unbreakable. Unfortunately hardest also means brittle and diamonds DO chip. The have directional hardness like wood. Across it's grain it's the toughest but with the grain it can spinter like a log. Most of the time when a diamond does chip, people never remember doing it. This is because it's generally not the velocity in which it's hit but the angle.

What is the average diamond size (for a ring)?
No such thing. Each geographical area is different. Small town stores in Arkansas sell different sizes than boutiques in Manhattan. The last survey seen said the average size of a first time engagement NATIONWIDE was just less than a carat. Our average size here in Los Gatos is approximately 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 carat. During the Dot Com Days, it was 2-1/2 carats. Average!

What makes a diamond yellow?
Pure carbon (a pure diamond) is absolutely colorless. Small trace amounts of other elements change it's appearance. It's nitrogen within the carbon atoms that cause a yellow tint. This is true with all gemstones. In their pure state, most gems are colorless until trace elements are introduced.

How are Proportions graded?
If one were to look at any diamond grading certificate and look at the different gradings on proportions, they'd find parts of the diamond like Culet, Girdle, Finish and Symmetry. The Culet (cue-let) is the pointed (but not always) part at the bottom. Some culets don't come to a sharp point and may have a tiny facet. The Girdle is the very edge around the circumference. Some girdles are faceted, rough, smooth, very thin (knive edge) or wavy (between very thin and quite thick). Finish and symmetry refer to how well the facets line up and how well the stone has been polished (drag marks).

» GIA Grading & Reports: Anatomy of a Report
» How GIA Grades Diamonds: View Video

Do these things really matter?
Yes. If you have 10 power magnifying eyes or you often carry a jewelers loupe with you at all times. Otherwise, it only matters on paper. You'll never see the culet or whether a facet lines up or even a wavy girdle with the naked eye. So if it's imperative that you buy a diamond with EX/EX (excellent proportions/excellent finish) do so for your own piece of mind and comfort because not one person at the next office party will ever know. We call this a 'good night sleep factor' because if it helps you sleep better at night, that's all the reason you need. We carry most all grading levels because it doesn't matter to us, it only matters to YOU and that's what counts.

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