Choosing a loose diamond can feel like a lot of letters and numbers, especially if it’s your first time. Fortunately, we believe in full diamond education for all of our customers, so you can rest assured that the diamond you choose will fit your budget and sparkle for a lifetime.
Using the filters at the top of the page, you can refine your diamond search by shape, carat weight, cut, color, clarity and price. This is the perfect way to cut time and confusion from your search. We also suggest taking a look at our Diamond Buying Guide for an in-depth look of buying a diamond.
Loose Diamond Carat Weight
Choosing a carat weight will be driven by personal preference. Unlike the other 4Cs, carat weight does not pertain to quality, it simply expresses the weight of the diamond. Here, we must emphasize ‘weight’ rather than ‘size’. The size of a diamond is expressed in millimeters and measures the diameter across the diamond. Cut proportions and the diamond shape can impact how ‘big’ the diamond looks, so even two diamonds with the same carat weight can give a different face-up size.
Price will be the greatest influencing factor when you decide on a carat weight. Diamonds are priced ‘per carat’, but color and clarity can dramatically increase or decrease the price per carat. There are also ‘magic weights’; these are highly popular carat weights that result in price increases for these categories.
But don’t let this distract from what matters most: your own personal preference. Diamonds around the 1.00ct mark are highly popular for engagement rings and other fine jewelry, offering a wonderful balance between an impactful diamond and a good price point. Remember, there are no rules here and you get to choose the carat weight that best meets your own requirements.
Loose Diamond Color
When a diamond is formed, the presence of other materials and gases can affect its color (and clarity). It is the presence of nitrogen that causes yellow in a diamond and this can range from highly desirable, vibrant yellow fancy diamonds, to diamonds with a faint yellow hue.
Unless a diamond is vividly colored and falls within the ‘fancy’ category, it is a clean, icy white sparkle that most buyers look for when they choose a loose diamond. The higher the color grade, the less visible any brown or yellow hues will be. The DEF grades are ‘colorless’ and GHI are ‘near colorless’. In some cases, buyers may find themselves particularly sensitive to color in a diamond and able to detect even the slightest shades of yellow. However, for most people the ‘near colorless’ category is the perfect choice.
You can view and compare loose diamonds at our Washington DC area store and get a better idea how color can impact upon a diamond.
Loose Diamond Clarity
As with diamond color, it is the presence of other materials during the diamonds formation in the earth that causes inclusions. Inclusions vary greatly in type and appearance. The goal is to find an ‘eye-clean’ diamond – meaning no visible inclusions.
Only diamonds in the top clarity grades, IF (internally flawless) and FL (flawless) contain no inclusions. This means that a huge majority of available diamonds have some degree of inclusions. This is why the rigorous grading system by the GIA is of such benefit to customers. The precise grades can tell you a lot about how many inclusions a diamond has, and whether they will be an issue.
So, why do inclusions matter? Large or unfortunately positioned inclusions are likely to be visible by eye, giving the diamond a dirty appearance. They can also diminish light performance, hindering a diamonds ability to bounce and reflect light of its facets to create sparkle. Inclusions can also compromise a diamond’s durability and make them more prone to chips, fractures or shattering.
Loose Diamond Cut
It is the cut that unleashes the true beauty of a diamond and many consider it to be the most important of the 4Cs. Although diamond cuts and proportions are highly technical aspects of diamond buying, the GIA created a simple and straight forward grading system so that you can quickly understand how well the diamond is cut, and thus, how well it will handle light.
You will find poorly cut diamonds carry significantly lower prices than diamonds with a higher cut grade. It may be tempting to get a ‘bargain’ but we advise caution. A poorly cut diamond will not deliver the incredible brightness and sparkle that makes diamonds so special. While color and clarity grades have a large bracket of beauty, we recommend going for the best cut quality your budget will allow, as this will have the greatest impact on the overall appearance of a diamond.
We know there’s a lot to think about when it comes to choosing a diamond. Our friendly team is on hand to answer any questions you may have. To view a variety of loose diamonds and get a better understanding, make an appointment with one of our diamond experts at our Washington DC area store.