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Diamond Buying Guide
Preparing you for your next diamond purchase
It is important to learn how a diamond gets it’s value before actually purchasing your diamond. Read our guide and not only learn about the 4c’s; Cut, Carat, Color, Clarity, read our insiders practical advice as well.

The 4 C's: A practical guide
Ok let's start at the beginning. What exactly are the "4 C'S" and how do they determine diamond value? Here is a short rundown of the basics, each followed by some real-life advice...

Each unique diamond crystal comes out of the ground with its own set of hidden calculations to maximize it's brilliance while retaining as much diamond weight as possible. The Diamond's Brilliance, unfortunately, is often sacrificed by some diamond cutters to keep the diamond as large as possible.
  • In our opinion, the most important C is "Cut". Cut refers to the level of craftsmanship in the diamond. Stones that have been cut by skilled craftsman are brighter, have more "scintillation" and are simply more attractive.
  • The overall "Cut" of a diamond is comprised of several components in the GIA grading report or "certificate".
    • Symmetry - Alignment of facets, consistency of angles and girdle thickness are some of the determining factors of a diamond’s symmetry. The GIA grades symmetry in the following order.
      • Excellent , Very Good , Good , Fair , Poor
    • Polish - The final critical step in a diamond’s cutting process involves polishing each facet as finely as possible. The GIA grades polish in the following order.
      • Excellent , Very Good , Good , Fair , Poor
    • Cut Grade - Presently, only round stones are assigned an overall cut grade by the GIA. GIA cut grade is ranked as following.
      • Excellent , Very Good , Good , Fair , Poor
  • Practical Advice: Diamond Cut and Brilliance. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This is why New York Diamond Traders recommends you view a number of diamonds side by side, in a professional diamond buying environment, before you buy. There have been many attempts to quantify the beauty of a diamond by assigning cut grades, performing light analysis, and using complicated algorithms. Some of these methods do a pretty good job, but nothing replaces actually viewing the diamond in person and comparing them side by side. You do not need to be a diamond professional, or have diamond experience to know which diamond ‘talks’ to you. With New York Diamond Traders professional guidance, anyone can see which diamond is the most beautiful.
  • Diamonds are sold by weight in units called carats. Five carats equal one gram.
  • Each carat contains 100 units called ‘points’. So, a diamond that weighs exactly .50 Carats can be said to weigh ‘50 points’( or a ‘50 pointer’ in the trade ).
  • Practical advice: Carats and size.
    • Diamonds get exponentially more expensive as they get larger. For example, a single 3 carat diamond will cost a lot more then 3 single one carat diamonds of the same quality.
    • Diamonds get more expensive as they hit certain weight milestones. For example, a diamond weighing 1.85 carats is significantly less expensive then a 2.00 carat diamond of the same quality, and yet both diamonds will look very similar in size. Diamonds that fall just shy of a weight 'milestone' can mean a big cost savings to you.
  • Diamonds are graded for color. The "whiter" they are, the more rare. "White" or "colorless" refers to a desirable absence of any body color. The vast majority of diamonds found in nature are brownish or tinted a dull yellow. The rarest and highest diamond color grade is D - the lowest is Z.

  • Color
  • Extremely yellow diamonds are called "fancy yellow"" and are graded on a different scale. (The familiar term for "fancy yellow" is "canary yellow"). These stones are quite desirable and rare.
    More on yellow diamonds
  • Practical advice: Diamond Color. Generally speaking, diamonds graded D through I or even some J colors, appear white when set in a ring. You can get a significantly larger and cleaner stone by choosing a near colorless diamond, an H, I, or J color. The diamond will still face up white without any traces of yellow, while staying in your budget.
    • Please Note: Most often, only J colored diamonds with GIA or AGS reports tend to face up white. J colored diamonds with less respected laboratory reports are one to three colors less then GIA. Viewing them in a proper diamond buying environment is also crucial.
    Clarity Bar

    Clarity refers to the amount of minerals and other foreign objects, or “inclusions”, trapped in the diamond as it formed billions of years ago. The "cleaner" diamonds are, the rarer.
  • FL, IF – Flawless and Internally Flawless: internal inclusions can not be seen under 10x magnification
  • VVS1, VVS2 -Very Very Slightly Included: Inclusions that only the most experienced diamond professionals can spot when using a microscope.
  • VS1, VS2 - Very Slightly Included: Inclusions can be seen with a hand held jewelers loupe. An inexperienced user will have a difficult time spotting these tiny inclusions with a loupe.
  • SI-1, SI-2 - Slightly Included - Inclusions are easier to spot with a loupe, but still not visible to the naked eye…almost all the time.
  • I1 and beyond - Included - Diamonds in the I1, I2 , and I3 categories have inclusions that are easily visible to the naked eye. While some I1 stones can occasionally be bright, I2, and I3 diamonds have inclusions that are large enough to affect its brilliance, and should be avoided.
  • New York Diamond Traders sells Internally Flawless (IF) through Slightly Included (SI) range only. Generally, we do not recommend buying diamonds lower then the SI1-SI2 range because they typically have eye visible inclusions.
  • Clarity Diagram
  • Practical Advice; Diamond Clarity. A common misperception is the cleaner the diamond, the more brilliant and attractive to the eye. This is true only in lower quality ranges where diamonds typically have inclusions which may affect transparency and brilliance. Diamonds in the upper clarity ranges (SI-2 and better) can all be equally beautiful and brilliant.
A practical strategy...
    In our eyes - not all of the 4 C's are equally important. Here are some practical steps that will help you make the right decision before you get carried away with all the options.
    1. Determine your approximate budget.
    2. Determine the minimum carat weight you or your loved one will be happy with.
    3. Set a minimum standard for color and clarity.
    Once a minimum Carat, Clarity, and Color are established, and your maximum budget is set your perfect stone will be easy to find.

Of all the 4 C's the perfection of a diamonds cut is something we do not believe you should compromise at all. New York Diamond traders' collection of perfectly cut diamonds is unparalleled in the industry. Please make an appointment to view our extraordinary diamonds and let us guide you to the perfect decision.

Rare Canary Diamonds & The Extraordinary
Call 212.921.4221 or come visit us at 45 Rockefeller Plaza, Suite 2000, New York City by appointment please.
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