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Diamonds 101

A Comprehensive Diamond Buying Guide

You don't need to be an expert in diamonds to be an informed consumer. While the art and science of the diamond trade has many intricacies, only a small part of it is relevant to any given purchase. This Diamonds 101 guide will provide a comprehensive overview of any terms you may encounter.


Cut is quite possibly the most important factor in choosing a diamond. It affects everything from how much light is returned, to how white light is broken into a rainbow (fire), to how big a stone appears, to how much color a yellowish stone exhibits. A good cut will make a diamond look bright and colorful; a poor cut can cause dullness or even large dark spots.

Cut grade refers specifically to the proportions of all the elements of a stone's geometry (and the presence or absence of others), how symmetrical the geometry is, and how well it's finished and polished. This is probably the longest page in our education section.

Cut Score

Cut Score Category
Above 95 Super Ideal
Above 90 Ideal
Above 85 Excellent
Above 80 Very Good
Above 70 Good
Above 60* Poor
Below 60* Bad
Meanings of cut scores

The Enchanted Diamonds Cut Score is a number generated by a mathematical formula we developed that tells you how well a stone is cut. Scores range from 0 to 100, where 100 is what we consider to be a perfect cut. Our Cut Score can be used to quickly narrow down your buying options.

Cut Scores are on an absolute scale, meaning that a higher Score is always better regardless of shape. To the right, you can see a table matching Cut Score ranges to categories.


"Carat" is a measure of the mass (different from "karat," a measure of purity), equal to 0.2 grams. "Point" is another unit, equal to 0.01 carats, most often used for weighing side stones.

carat diameter Two diamonds with the same carat weight, but different proportions.

All other factors held constant, price increases exponentially with increased carat weight. "Magic Weights" like 1.00, 1.50 and 2.00 also spike in price. Undersize stones (0.97ct, 1.46ct, 1.95ct) cost noticeably less and won't look any different, but are uncommon.

While a heavier stone will probably be bigger, this isn't always the case. A wider stone will look bigger than a deeper stone of the same weight, so diamond cut is very important. Also, a stone that is twice as heavy will not appear twice as big. Stone width increases with the cube root of carat - in other words, in order to double the width of a stone, you need to increase the weight by a factor of eight (!). Our dedicated carat page includes, among other things, an interactive table of what we consider to be ideal dimensions of diamonds of different weights and shapes.


Carat Color
>0.99 ct F or higher
0.75 - 0.99 ct G or higher
0.50 - 0.74 ct H or higher
<0.50 ct I or higher
Recommended color grade for
diamonds of a given weight.

White diamonds are graded on a scale of D-Z. The best grades are between D and F, where D is colorless and F is nearly colorless. Colorless stones are scarcer, and therefore more valuable.

Actually deciding on a color of stone, however, is not as simple as just looking at the grade letter. A somewhat strange fact is that diamonds are graded for color when they're facing down. Therefore, in real life, the way a diamond is cut has a significant effect on how the color shows. Larger stones also tend to exhibit more color. Finally, if a diamond is set in a yellow gold setting, a lower color grade will not be noticable next to the metal.

Fancy Colors

While 98% of jewelry grade diamonds are colorless or near colorless, a small percentage exhibit vivid colors. Yellow is the most common one, but others like pink, green, blue and black are possible. Labs will give grade them on color, overtone (tinge), and intensity (how deep the color is).

The yellowish tinge in white diamonds is due to nitrogen impurities. Fancy color stones, on the other hand, get their color from combinations of other elements (like boron) and their atomic crystal structure. For example, the deepest yellows, oranges and reds are commonly due to holes in the crystal structure about 40 atoms in size. When you see a diamond labeled as type IIa, this crystal structure is what the designation refers to.


Fluorescence is when a material (in our case, diamond) glows when exposed to UV light. Fluorescence is uncommon, but if it's present, it will usually be blue. Other colors like green are possible, but are quite rare. The only place in everyday life when a diamond will fluoresce is in direct sunlight. Indoor lighting tends to not emit much UV light because it's a waste of energy.

Fluorescence can be a blessing or a curse depending on the situation. Blue fluorescence can make an off-white stone appear whiter (blue light mixed with yellow light results in white light). Whiter stones may glow a bit blue in direct sunlight, but some people like the aesthetic. On the other hand, strongly fluorescent stones can theoretically appear cloudy or milky, but we are of the opinion that such concerns are overblown. We've sold quite a few strongly fluorescent stones and we haven't had issues. As a result of this decreased demand, fluorescent stones tend to be priced 10-20% lower.

Diamond Scopes

ASET, IdealScope, and Hearts & Arrows scopes are all tools used to analyze the way diamonds refract light. Interpreting a scope image is not as straightforward as other properties, but we have plenty of resources to get you started. Note that while ASETs and IdealScopes can be used to analyze any shape, Hearts & Arrows scopes are only useful for round diamonds.

Buying From Enchanted Diamonds

Full Lifetime Warranty

All jewelry purchased from Enchanted Diamonds comes with a Full Lifetime Warranty including complimentary cleaning & repairs, replacing lost side stones, and much more.

Return & Refund Policy

Enchanted Diamonds guarantees the authenticity and quality of every item we sell. If for any reason something does not check out, we will stand by our customers 100% and right any wrong. If a mistake, error, or problem arises, we will take the item back with a 100% refund and free return shipping.

Trade-in & Upgrade Policy

All GIA certified diamonds purchased from Enchanted Diamonds are eligible for a 100% credit towards a new purchase of at least twice the original amount. The diamond must be in its original condition accompanied by the original GIA certificate.

Shipping Policy

Our shipping policy is geared towards giving you the smoothest possible order experience. Our guarantee includes free overnight Fedex shipping, insurance to your doorstep, free return shipping, and much more.

Discreet Packaging, Elegant Presentation

Your order will arrive in a discreetly marked package to keep your secret safe. Every piece of Enchanted Diamonds jewelry comes in a beautiful gift box which will make its presentation more amazing.

Ship to an Alternative Address

If necessary, Enchanted Diamonds is able to ship your order to an alternate destination. For security, the shipping address for orders valued over $1000 must be on file with your credit card. Simply call the bank who issued your credit card and provide them with your alternate shipping address. You can also have your order shipped to your local FedEx location.

For Military Personnel

Enchanted Diamonds supports our troops and offers free shipping to our service men and women to any APO, FPO, or DPO address. Simply list your city as APO, FPO, or DPO and your state as AA, AE, or AP, along with your 5-digit zip/postal code for free delivery via USPS.

Jewelry Appraisers

Good appraisers combine the efforts of retail jewelers who make the effort to stay on top of market trends with qualified gemologists who study new developments in the field of gemology. Just as importantly, appraisers must keep themselves up to date with legal requirements of insuring fine jewelry and gemstone; they must keep themselves informed about the latest laws governing both insurance companies and the insured. To find a qualified appraiser, or to learn about how to become an appraiser, seek out the services of these selected organizations:

  • International School of Gemology Registered Gemologist Appraisers
  • American Gem Society
  • American Society of Appraisers
  • International Society of Appraisers
  • National Association of Jewelry Appraisers

At Enchanted Diamonds, we are truly committed to making sure that you find the perfect diamond. We are determined to provide our customers with extensive education on the nuances of diamond shopping, so that everybody who buys from us can feel that they made an informed decision, tailored to their own unique taste.