The Guide To Diamonds

Choosing The Right Diamond - 4C's

Diamonds are the hardest, most imperishable, most sought after and brilliant of all precious stones, so it's no wonder they've been chosen for centuries as a symbol of endurance, strength and love for serious relationships.At Michaels Jewelers, your diamond purchase is an investment we take seriously. It can be overwhelming, but if you have a good understanding of some basic information BEFORE you start shopping, you'll have the knowledge and confidence to choose the diamond that's perfect for you…all with our help.


Cut is a diamond's most important characteristic and refers to how it's proportioned: the number, placement, shape and craftsmanship of the facets that create a finished diamond and determine its ability to reflect light — its "sparkle." A well-cut diamond allows the maximum amount of light to enter and exit from the top of the stone. Regardless of shape, the better the quality of the cut, the more beauty, brilliance and value the diamond will have. 

The AGS system grades light performance by analyzing Brightness, Contrast, Leakage, and Dispersion (fire). Also, parts of the analysis are proportion factors of Weight Ratio, Durability, Girdle, Tilt, and Culet. Finally, the finish factors of Polish and Symmetry are assessed by trained graders and factored in to the final cut grade. The system uses a 0 to 10 grading scale where 0 is Ideal. (You might also think of it as "zero deductions”). 

The GIA system evaluates the diamond’s proportions (measurements and facet angles), along with polish and symmetry descriptions, are used to determine its GIA Cut Grade. A diamond’s brightness, fire, scintillation (sparkle and pattern), weight ratio, and durability, as well as polish and symmetry, are all considered within this final assessment of cut quality.

Ideal Cut

Because cut is such an important characteristic in determining a diamond's beauty and value, master craftsmen continually strive to create "the perfect diamond." Ideal cut diamonds are the most brilliant, highly polished and symmetrical diamonds available. You can see the difference in their extraordinary sparkle and light reflection but their perfectly cut facets must be viewed under magnification to fully appreciate their unique beauty and design. Compare standard cut and ideal cut diamonds from the many collections offered at Michaels Jewelers.


Color is graded by the absence or presence of color in a white diamond. The less color in a diamond, the higher its quality and value. (Fancy colored diamonds have their own color grading system.)While the difference between color gradings is very slight, the cut and the setting (white gold vs. yellow gold) can alter a diamond's appearance. For the full effect, it's best to view any diamond you're considering in its final setting.


All diamonds are unique with their own individual marks (internal features called "inclusions" and surface irregularities called "blemishes"). The visibility, number and size of these marks determine a diamond's clarity grade and value.Most inclusions aren't visible to the naked eye so you should view each diamond under magnification to evaluate its condition and clarity grading. It's rare to find flawless diamonds, yet many diamonds with inclusions can still be quite stunning.


Carat is a unit of weight by which a diamond is measured — not size, as many mistakenly believe. One carat = 1/5 gram (or 1/142 ounce). Each carat is further divided into points representing 1/100th of a carat, so 1 carat = 100 points, .5 carat = 50 points, etc.A 1/4 carat difference in weight can translate into a few millimeters in diameter and, depending on the cut, two 1-carat diamonds can appear to be up to 30% different in height or width. A bigger carat size doesn't necessarily mean a better diamond, so look for the right balance of carat weight, cut and clarity in the diamond you choose.