Color, Clarity & Carat

When choosing a diamond or gemstone it can seem a bit overwhelming.  Below you will find some easy explanations and charts to help you pick the stone you will love while not breaking the bank!

Grading Diamonds

Diamond Colors:  Diamonds come in all types of colors, but the diamonds usually seen in commercial rings that you'll find at any fine jewelry shop across the country are called white diamonds.  Colored diamonds such as pink and green and grey are called fancy diamonds. White diamonds use an alphabet grading system as seen on the left of the chart below, with D, E, & F being colorless, all the way to a more yellow U-V. In most standard commercial jewelry, you will find colors ranging from G-M, but I, J, & K seem to be the most popular in fine commercial jewelry shops due to their affordability and near colorless condition. However, diamonds below the J level will have a slightly noticeable color and is not advised. 

Tip: If using the most popular commercial grade, when ordering a white gold setting choose a higher color grade diamond (example: I), while a lower color grade diamond would look better in a yellow gold or a rose gold setting (example: K). 

Diamond Clarity: Diamond clarity becomes more important the larger your stone is. In grading diamonds & gemstones, inclusions mean imperfections.  Clarity is graded from flawless (F to F1), Very Very Small Inclusions (VVS 1-2), Very Small Inclusions (VS 1-2), Small Inclusions (S 1-3), and Included (I 1-3), which you can see on the chart below. The grade of diamonds that are common in most commercial fine jewelry stores are S1-3 and I1-3.

Information on Lab, Moissanite & CZ stones below under "Grading Gemstones."

Tip: Diamonds are very small so seeing inclusions in a stone with the naked eye is near impossible in most common size diamond jewelry, however the larger the carat the better diamond clarity you will want. 


Carat: The chart below from the International Gem Society will give you an idea of the actual size in mm for the carat of a stone in several common shapes.  

Grading Gemstones

AA-AAA: These are the best natural gemstones without color enhancements and very little inclusions. 

A: This is a good quality natural gemstone with slight inclusions, without color enhancements. 

B-D: These are still decent natural gemstones which are commercial grade and commonly found in most fine jewelry stores, however they are most often color enhanced. If you see the word "treated" you know it was color enhanced. When a stone has been "irradiated" this means it has been exposed to radiation to change or enhance the color of the stone. Irradiated stones are not harmful because they are regulated by the NRC, a US government organization.  Once irradiated, gemstones cannot be sold for several months in order to lower the radiation levels naturally until they are safe for humans.  

Tip: Since gemstones are commonly larger than diamonds in jewelry settings, if you are purchasing a colored translucent stone, such as an amethyst or emerald, an AA to A grade is your best option, while still maintaining affordability, clarity, and natural color. 

Notable Gems: These are gemstones that have been selected by our jewelry manufacturer for notable quality of excellence, beauty, & rarity. 

Precious: Precious gemstones are diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, and rubies.

Semi-Precious: These consist of all the other gems that are not precious but still natural.

Lab: These are lab grown gemstones including precious and semi-precious. They are real gemstones that are not made my nature, but instead are made by using high tech expensive equipment. They are less expensive then natural gemstones and can be a good choice when wanting a real emerald or diamond without the big price tag. 

Moissanite: It is very hard to tell the difference between a real diamond and Moissanite.  It is extremely similar in appearance to diamonds but is made of silicon carbide instead. Moissanites can be either be natural or lab made.  The main difference is that it has more brilliance then a diamond and has a slight rainbow light reflection instead of plain white like a diamond. Moissanites are more affordable than diamonds, and almost as hard.  When comparing them to CZ's, a moissanite keeps its color forever, while a CZ will dull over time.  It's easy to see why moissanite is becoming the more popular choice when shopping for alternatives to diamonds. 

Cubic Zirconia: CZ's have been around since the 1970's. A CZ is a lab created gemstone that is that is not a diamond but is a created cubic crystalline in the form of zirconium dioxide.  It does appear in nature, but not very often. CZ comes in several colors, but white is the most popular color as a replacement for the white diamond, and costs substantially less than a moissanite of the same quality & size.

Imitation diamonds and gemstones: These can be found almost everywhere costume jewelry is sold.  They can be made of anything from cheap plastic to high-leaded glass, which is the industry standard. Of course, our manufacturer uses the top end of imitation stones, however we does not recommend purchasing imitation gemstones for your fine jewelry settings. A better choice would be lower grades of natural gems, Lab created, Moissanite, or CZs, which can provide much more beauty, quality, and value, while still maintaining affordability. After all, if you are going to purchase a solid gold or silver piece of jewelry, you don't want to set it with a stone made of glass.