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The color evaluation of gem-quality diamonds is based on the absence of color. Like a drop of pure water, a chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue and consequently, a higher value.

GIA's diamond grading scale is the industry's most widely accepted grading system. The scale begins with the letter D, representing a colorless diamond, and continues, with increasing presence of color, to the letter Z. The diamond’s color is established by comparing a diamond under controlled lighting and viewing conditions against a set of master stones.

Many of these color distinctions are so subtle that they are invisible to the untrained eye. These distinctions, however, make a very big difference in diamond pricing.


Natural diamonds are the result of carbon exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep within the earth. This process can result in a variety of internal characteristics called ‘inclusions’ and external characteristics called ‘blemishes.’

Evaluating diamond clarity involves determining the quantity, size, relief, nature, and position of these characteristics, as well as how they affect the overall appearance of the stone. While no diamond is 100% pure, the closer it comes to perfection, the higher its value.

The GIA Diamond Clarity Scale has 6 categories, some of which are further divided, for a total of 11 specific grades.


Diamonds are renowned for their ability to sparkle and transmit light. We often think that diamond ‘cut’ is referring to the overall shape of the stone (round, emerald, princess, etc.), but a diamond’s cut grade is really referring to how well a diamond is faceted and how those facets interact with light.

Precise artistry and workmanship are required to fashion a stone so its proportions, symmetry, and polish deliver the magnificent return of light only possible in a diamond.

For example, to determine the cut grade of a traditional round brilliant diamond - the shape that dominates the majority of diamond jewelry - GIA calculates the proportions of those facets that influence the diamond’s face-up appearance. These proportions allow GIA to evaluate how successfully a diamond interacts with light to create desirable visual effects such as:

Brightness: Internal and external white light reflected from a diamond

Dispersion (Fire): The scattering of white light into all the colors of the rainbow

Scintillation: The amount of sparkle a diamond produces, and the pattern of light and dark areas caused by reflections within the gem.

GIA’s diamond cut grade also takes into account the design and craftsmanship of the diamond. This includes its weight relative to its diameter, girdle thickness (which affects its durability), symmetry of its facet arrangement, and the quality of polish on those facets.

The GIA Diamond Cut Scale for standard round brilliant diamonds contains five grades ranging from Excellent to Poor.


Diamond carat weight is the measurement of how much a diamond weighs. A metric “carat” is defined as 200 milligrams.

Each carat can be subdivided into 100 ‘points.’ This allows very precise measurements to the hundredth decimal place. A jeweler may describe the weight of a diamond below one carat by its ‘points’ alone. For instance, the jeweler may refer to a diamond that weighs 0.25 carats as a ‘twenty-five pointer. Diamond weights greater than one carat are expressed in carats and decimals. A 1.08 carat stone would be described as ‘one point oh eight carats.’

All else being equal, diamond price increases with diamond carat weight, because larger diamonds are more rare and more desirable. But two diamonds of equal carat weight can have very different values (and prices) depending on three other factors of the diamond 4Cs: Clarity, Color, and Cut.

It’s important to remember that a diamond’s value is determined using all of the 4Cs, not just carat weight.



The Asscher cut diamond is the first branded cut to ever be patented. It exists as the predecessor to the modern Emerald cut but still holds its place in today’s market as a fancy shape. Looking face up, (top view) well-cut stones will appear to have concentric squares. This unique faceting makes it easier to spot inclusions with the naked eye, driving more people to purchase diamonds with higher internal clarity.


The modern Cushion cut evolved from the Mine cut diamond. The corners of a square shape are rounded for a softer, more pillow like shape. Recent research has improved the dynamics of this faceting and the way it reacts with light, producing a more dazzling stone. Cushion cut diamonds traditionally produce more fire but less brilliance when compared to round diamonds. It’s available in square and rectangular shapes.


The Emerald cut is a rectangular shape with cut corners. Rather than focusing on the brilliance or sparkle of the diamond, the Emerald cut uses symmetry and rectangular cut facets to create a unique optical appearance. Just like the Asscher cut diamond, it’s important to purchase a higher clarity stone so as not to notice inclusions. The name derives from the Emerald gemstone which is traditionally cut with this technique.


The Heart cut diamond is a modified brilliant cut that carries great symbolism. Like the union (or relationship) that this diamond represents, the symmetry of this cut is paramount. A lack of symmetry will result in a poorly performing stone. It is not recommended to purchase Heart cut diamonds in sizes smaller than 0.50 carats due to the loss of carat weight that occurs during cutting.


French for “little boat”, the Marquise cut is considered a classic fancy shape. A modified brilliant, this diamond is cut primarily to maximize the appearance of its size. The long and narrow nature of this shape works well to accentuate the shape of the wearer’s finger.


Since the 1960’s the Oval cut diamond has existed as a great alternative to the traditional round brilliant. It embodies many similar characteristics of the round while maintaining a unique, elongated shape. Aesthetically, it performs much like a Marquise while maintaining more brilliance and dispersion.


Resembling the shape of a teardrop, the Pear cut is best described as a hybrid between a Round Brilliant and a Marquise. Its faceting maintains a high level of brilliance and dispersion while its shape solidifies its place as a unique fancy shape.


The Princess cut is one of the most popular choices for engagement rings. Its shape can vary from square to rectangular and features strong pointed corners. This cut combines brilliant and step cut techniques.


Created in 1977, the Radiant cut is available in a square or rectangular silhouette. It shares the cut corners of the Asscher and Emerald cut, however its pavilion is cut with brilliant faceting allowing for more light return. This combination of sparkle and shape allows it to pair equally with round and square diamonds.

  • July 17th, 2018 by Thomas

    My wife wanted something special for our wedding day. She asked Olivia what she could do with her mom's diamonds. Olivia took my wife's specs and said give us 4 weeks. In 4 weeks we were shown a model of what the ring would look like. We approved it and what she received was an amazing creation. It was beautiful. My wife was so happy on our wedding day and Mark's made it happen. Thank you to Olivia and the staff at Mark's. Highly recommend

  • July 17th, 2018 by Lisa

    Mark's offers a wide selection of jewelry and diamonds at all price points. The main reason I am giving 5 stars, however, is the staff. Liz C. was fantastic to work with. She designed absolutely gorgeous new settings for my engagement and wedding bands. She worked with me from concept through design, sizing and fulfillment, spending as much time as I needed to get my rings exactly how I want them! When I need any other jewelry, I would not hesitate to work with Liz again. I couldn't be happier with the process or the finished product!

  • July 11th, 2018 by Gabrielle

    I recently had to get 3 wedding rings resized, Mark’s did an amazing job! My engagement ring has a lot of small details on the back which looks seamless now with the resizing. The staff is amazing to work with. We will go back for all of our jewelry needs!

  • July 3rd, 2018 by Kim

    For me, the value of jewelry isn’t the price you pay, it is the meaning and sentiment attached to it that makes it invaluable. Mark’s has done just that. They customized two very sentimental pieces for me that are unique, one of a kind pieces. From a piece of colored glass to combining three diamond rings into one - their craftsmanship is top notch. I did not hesitate to entrust Mark’s with my wedding rings. I had a great experience working with their team from the design stage to receipt of the final product. I receive many compliments every time I wear my custom pieces. I HIGHLY recommend Mark’s Jewelers.

  • June 27th, 2018 by Peter

    I worked with Rina to purchase my engagement ring and she was nothing short of amazing! She took the time to educate me on the process of the four C’s, and we evaluated each diamond using that method. I couldn’t be happier with the way the ring turned out, and my fiancé feels the same. There was no pressure to move quickly with the purchase which was most appreciated and she made sure to stay within my budget; no up-selling.

  • June 21st, 2018 by Lindsey

    My husband bought my wedding band and engagement ring from marks 2 years ago and it’s still gorgeous and never had a problem! Everyone is incredibly sweet and very personable which makes the experience that much more of a pleasure. I had my ring resized this month and got it back today. It is absolute stunning and fits perfectly! They even cleaned it up so nice and shiney it was blinding.

  • June 19th, 2018 by Francis

    I couldn't have picked a better place to get an engagement ring. From start to finish, the process was stress-free.. and the team at Mark's was so easy going and extremely knowledgeable. I worked specifically with David, who provided exceptional service and really helped in my first jeweler experience. Also, his professionalism (as well as the entire team's) was top notch. I would recommend highly to all!

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