Buying a Diamond

Understanding Diamond Grades

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Shopping for an engagement ring is a lot of fun, but selecting the perfect diamond can also be a little overwhelming. Did you know that no two diamonds are exactly the same? It’s important to understand the 4 Cs—carat, clarity, color and cut—and how a diamond is graded before you make a purchase. Here’s a guide to help you along the way!


Carat Pic 2

Diamonds are measured in carats, which is a worldwide standard of weight. One carat weighs 200 milligrams, or one-fifth of a gram. Since diamonds become rarer as they increase in weight, the larger the diamond weight, the more valuable it is. However, weight and size are not the same thing, and you should compare diamonds of the same weight side by side and look at other factors before making a decision.



Clarity refers to a diamond’s purity and is evaluated under 10x magnification. Almost all diamonds contain natural birthmarks that are present to varying degrees. The most recognized and commonly used system for grading clarity is the one developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The range goes from I3 (visible inclusions without magnification) to IF (flawless under 10x magnification). Flawless diamonds are very rare and therefore more costly.


color pic

When buying a diamond, it’s the absence of color that makes one more valuable than others. Most diamonds have some body color; very few are colorless. Color is graded with letters ranging from W (light yellow) to D (completely colorless). Color is one of the hardest grades for a lab to determine, and you should look closely at the diamond yourself to make a personal judgment on its color.



The cut of a diamond is one of the most important factors to look at because it has the greatest influence on the diamond’s sparkle. If the diamond has a deep cut, it actually looks smaller than another diamond of the same weight that is cut well. When Shane Co. buys diamonds, our buyers handpick the ones with the most sparkle within each grade. A diamond’s cut grade can range from poor to Shane Classic.

In addition to grading all of our diamonds ourselves, Shane Co. also uses several of the world’s leading independent grading laboratories to provide a 3rd party evaluation for many of our diamonds. By using multiple labs, Shane Co. ensures that our own grading standards reflect a balance of the prevailing global standards. You should take these grades into consideration when shopping for a diamond, but ultimately you should select the one that looks most beautiful to you!

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Cheryl joined the Shane Co. family in December 2014. As a Social Media Community Coordinator, she works with our store bloggers to generate new articles for the Shane Co. blog and curates content for our social media platforms. Her favorite things about working for Shane Co. are the variety of work and being able to use her creativity each day. In her free time, Cheryl enjoys going to concerts and traveling.

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