Diamond and Gold Guide

Anatomy of a Diamond

GIA anatomy of a diamond

elements of a diamond

When grading diamonds and assessing their value the industry uses a standard known to all as the “four C’s” which breaks down different aspects of the diamond to give an accurate and detailed description so that no matter who you are you know what you are buying.
The four C’s, ranking in importance, are listed below:

• Cut
• Clarity
• Color
• Carat weight

Having an understanding of each of the C’s will make sure that you are making the most informed decision as well as getting the most for  your investment.

Cut is the most important, and most challenging, of the four Cs to understand. The brilliance (sparkle) of a diamond depends heavily on its cut. In fact Cut is about 60% of the diamonds value alone.
diamond cut
Cut is ranked Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. When looking at diamonds always look to make sure that the measurements make sense. For instance, if you are looking at a round or princess cut diamond your measurements for length and width should be very close. This is so the diamond looks symmetrical.

Mostly all diamonds contain some sort of flaw, either internally (inclusion) or externally (blemish), that occurs during the formation process. The number, size, position, relief (color), and nature of these inclusions determine what is called the clarity grade of a diamond. Diamonds that are higher in terms of clarity create more brilliance, and thus are more highly prized, and priced. The best way to judge the clarity of a diamond you would like to buy is to see if you notice anything irregular with your naked eye. Always inspect a diamond with a jewelers loupe (triplet) to see what the diamond actually looks like under magnification (no more than 10x magnification is needed). You also always want to ask to see a plot of the diamond and ask if any of the clarity characteristics affect the durability of the stone. There are some diamonds that have been treated to hide inclusions so it is always very important to ask a jeweler if it has been treated in any way. The most common impurity found in a diamond is Nitrogen, which attributes to the yellowish color seen in lower graded diamonds (See color for more information).

diamond clarity

GIA clarity


Flawless (F) — Flawless diamonds have no inclusions or blemishes when viewed under 10X magnification by a skilled grader. A diamond can have internal graining that is not white, colored or reflective, laser inscriptions (on girdle), extra facets (on the pavilion that are not visible when looking through the table), and naturals confined to the girdle.

Internally Flawless (IF) — An IF diamond has no inclusions, only blemishes (exterior) when viewed using 10X magnification.

Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1 / VVS2) — VVS diamonds contain minute and scarce inclusions that are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10X magnification. VVS1 inclusions are extremely difficult to see face-up, but may be visible only through the pavilion.  VVS2 inclusions are still very difficult to see however they are not as difficult to identify as VVS1. Typically VVS diamonds have some pinpoints (one or two); however, clarity characteristics such as tiny chips or bearded girdles might also be identified in VVS diamonds depending on how visible they are.

Very Slightly Included (VS1 / VS2) — Diamonds of VS clarity contain minor inclusions that range from difficult (VS1) to somewhat easy (VS2) to see under 10X magnification. Typical inclusions in VS diamonds consist of small crystals, feathers and distinct groups of pinpoints (clouds).

any diamond above SI1 has a distinct difference in price translating to paying a premium for something that you cannot see

Slightly Included (SI1 / SI2) — Diamonds of SI clarity contain noticeable inclusions that are easy (SI1) or very easy (SI2) to see under 10X magnification. Typical inclusions, such as crystals, pin points, clouds, and feathers, are centrally located. These inclusions are still not visible to the naked eye.

Included (I1/ I2/ I3) — Diamonds in the 'I' clarity range contain inclusions that are obvious under 10X magnification and that are visible with the naked eye. These inclusions can sometimes affect the stone's durability and can be so obvious that they affect brilliance, transparency, and the overall beauty of the diamond.


GIA color scale
The color-grading scale ranges from D to Z. The highest color grade and whitest stone available is a D color diamond. This is also the rarest color grade (higher value). Colors D through F have no detectable color to the naked eye and are classified as Colorless. Diamonds in the G to J color range have a hint of body color and are graded as Near Colorless (most diamonds sold fall between this range). The eye begins to detect faint traces of yellow in diamonds that are in the J to M range. As color descends past J the diamond will either show an unattractive gray, brown, or yellow.


GIA diamond colors

Carat Weight

A carat is the unit of weight by which jewelers measure a diamond. Because large diamonds are found less commonly than small diamonds, the price of a diamond increases when the size does. When shopping for a standard carat weight (1.00ct / 1.50ct / 2.00ct) there will be a noticeable difference in price when comparing say a .97ct to a 1.00ct because the stone doesn’t weigh the exact carat, visually a consumer will not see a difference in size.

1.00ct = .200 grams
1.00ct = 100 points
1 point = .01ct


GIA carat weight

Misleading Industry slang to use caution when hearing

• Canary yellow ("Fancy Light," "Fancy Intense," and "Fancy Vivid"  are the only acceptable terms)
• Light: carat/ quarter carat / three quarter carat etc..
• Cognac
• Carbon (when describing black inclusions within a diamond, they are included crystals)

Selling Unwanted Gold & Diamonds

At CDI we are licensed by the State of Ohio to buy gold and we get some customers who come in and aren’t educated as to what to look for when selling their unwanted diamonds and gold so as an attempt to better educate the public we came up with a few things you should always keep in mind when approaching anyone to sell your old jewelry.
 When selling your unwanted gold and diamonds you need to make sure of the following:

  • Licensed by the state government
  • Receive payment for any and all diamonds
  • Bring in certifications when selling any large diamonds that are in fact certified
  • Your diamond is being bought at a percentage of RAPP ( what cars are to Kelley Blue Book, diamonds are to RAPP)
  • The quality (Color, Clarity, Cut) of your diamond over .50ct is being factored into the price you are being quoted

 You should separate the different karats of gold into separate bags to ensure you get paid for exactly what you are selling

  • 10k = 41% gold
  • 14k = 58% gold
  • 18k = 75% gold
  • 22k = 91% gold
  • 24k = 100% gold

 Gold identification if not stamped with traditional 10k, 14k, etc.

  • 10k = 417
  • 14k = 585
  • 18k = 750
  • 22k = 916
  • 24k = 999
  • Plat = 950 or 900
  • Silver = 925
  • HGE = heavy gold electroplate (not much value)
  • GF = Gold Filled