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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.

  • February 8, 2018 by Lisa

    A visit to Mark’s is always a pleasure. They offer insight and advice that you don’t get at the box stores. We’ve developed a relationship with more than one of the many staff, all of whom are friendly and helpful. I never feel rushed, even when I’m just browsing. I highly recommend you visit the Mark 89 diamond case while you’re there, you won’t be sorry!

  • November 7, 2017 by Ian

    I had a great experience shopping and selecting my fiancé engagement ring at Mark's. I had the best help I could possibly of wanted from Peter Capili who carried himself in the most respectable and professional fashion.
    With his help I picked out THE ring. The one she stares at everyday and tells me how thrilled she is i was able to pick something out so beautiful. It was largely thanks to Peter and his expertise.
    Thank you Peter and the team at Mark's Jewelers

  • October 19, 2017 by Rinee

    I was referred to Marks by Jim's father about 8 years ago to fix my engagement ring diamond that I bought from another local jeweler in the KOP mall of whom I was extremely unhappy with. Jim sat down with me for hours and helped me with my insurance claim and had so much patience to help me create the ring of my dreams. Which by the way was designed by Katie at the store who is sooo incredibly artistic. Since then not only have I become a loyal customer, but also very close friends with Jim n Dar. I refer EVERYONE to Marks, always. Even friends and family from all over the country. They are honest, very professional and treat everyone like they are family. If you are NOT a Marks shopper, you are TRULY missing the boat!

  • December 4, 2017 by Misty

    Gregory and I showed up late to Marks Jewelers; it was 10 mins to closing doors. To my surprise, we were allowed in, greeted with exceptional swift customer service, assisted with selection and served drinks! David was extraordinary in helping us find diamond earrings I would love. Everyone was friendly and helpful. What a great experience! Highly recommend.

  • December 8, 2017 by Suzanne

    My good friend Beth recommended I try the jeweler she works for. From our first visit at Mark's we were so impressed. Everyone was so warm and helpful and we never felt pressured. Rina was fantastic helping us through the process. I was having my engagement ring of 26 years re-set and it was a little emotional. Katie designed the most beautiful ring using all of my own diamonds that my husband had given me over the years. I can't thank her enough. I will definitely recommend Mark's to anyone who asks

  • August 20, 2017 by Jordan

    My fiancé purchased my engagement ring from Marks a little over a year ago now and we could not be happier with that decision. Today we went back during the wedding band sale and had another fantastic experience with David Mazer. He answered all of our questions and had the best suggestions to help us find the most perfect wedding bands! My wedding is still a little over a year away but we will definitely be back from Bridesmaids and Groomsmans gifts! You don't have to look any further then Marks Jewelers when looking for the perfect engagement ring and wedding bands!

  • August 10, 2017 by Joseph

    I had the opportunity to work with Josh back in June, picking and buying an engagement ring for my girlfriend. Customer service was pure genuine. Being that I live 2 hours away, Josh was in full communication, to ensure I had the ring ready to go for my trip to Antigua, so that I could propose to my girlfriend! Thanks again Josh to you and your team for a wonderful experience.

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