Forever Diamond’s 6C’s


What is a reasonable budget? Forever Diamond Service lists Cost as the first C because frankly we feel it is the most important determining factor in your diamond purchase. Never let a diamond vendor use the other C factors and emotional sales tricks to push you beyond your pre set budget. Set your budget first and stick closely to it.

For an Engagement Ring- This may be the third largest purchase you make in your lifetime, behind a home and a car. Like your home, it probably won’t go down in value. The rule of thumb thrown around is 2 months salary but the real answer is what you are comfortable with (come on now – you know she’s worth it! Look at the Insider Insights below ) Fit it into your budget but this is a good area to stretch a bit because of the positive lifetime emotional bank account credit you’ll get in your relationship. This diamond ring can become a family heirloom handed down from generation to generation. Often the diamond will be reset into a new engagement ring or into another ring or necklace. The sentimental value keeps giving and giving and giving.

For an Anniversary Present- 10, 20, 25 year anniversary coming up? The two months salary rule of thumb is still around, but only you can say what is comfortable for you. Remember, these diamonds can become family heirlooms passed from generation to generation and will hold their value over time. My wife has moved her diamonds from one piece of jewelry to another and another and is already thinking about which child or wife of child gets what. The best part is every time she does this, I get new CREDIT POINTS in my emotional bank account with her! (See below)

For other Special Occasions- This is a hard area to give good advice since there are so many combinations of events and relationship issues involved. I guess in the end your budget needs to match the response you want

Just for Women- You have your own budget to consider so you need to be honest with yourself and say, “Why am I making this purchase?” As a CPA, I tend to be pretty conservative but diamonds do hold their value over time. Diamonds last forever, and become family heirlooms handed from generation to generation. Your budget needs to match your reason for buying, but sometimes you just need to go for it.

  • Men, we will constantly need Emotional Bank Account CREDIT POINTS on the positive side of the ledger because we KNOW there will be multiple times we deserve NEGATIVE POINTS (and women have a LONG memory!) Now here is the secret – every time she shows off her diamond to a friend and they go “WOW” or say “THAT’S BEAUTIFUL”, you get new CREDIT POINTS.
  • God made diamonds to last forever. It is the most important long term part of the jewelry you buy. Concentrate your budget there. The diamond itself will become a family heirloom that is passed from one piece of jewelry to another and from generation to generation.
  • Never tie your budget to an emotional issue, like matching it against your love for her, needing to get affirmation back or how much trouble you are currently in.

For additional in depth information about this important topic, check out our “Great Links” reviewed sites.


How do I select the right weight? The Carat weight measures the mass of a diamond. (Not its relative size.) A carat is 1/5 of a gram, or 200 milligrams. The word carat comes from the carob bean, which weighs about 1/5 of a gram and was used as a measure in earlier times. Diamonds lighter than a carat are measured in points. There are 100 points in a carat. A point is equal to .01 ct. All else being equal, the value of a diamond increases exponentially in relation to carat weight, since larger diamonds are both rarer and more desirable for use as gemstones.

See the Carat Weight Price Increase Schedule below.

  • Size differences are clearly visible to the naked eye so size does matter. It can also affect the response she gets from her friends.
  • Diamonds have price supply/demand points where the price goes up significantly. This can create a purchase opportunity at certain cut offs such as 1 Carat. A diamond of similar quality may be much better priced at .96 ct. than at 1.01 ct.
  • More carat weight does not necessarily mean more beauty or more value. A diamond that is poorly cut may weigh more than one that is well cut, but it will lack brilliance and may have other problems.

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What is the diamond color scale? Most diamonds used as gemstones are basically transparent with little tint. Tint in a diamond is caused by impurities which replace a small proportion of carbon atoms in a diamond’s structure and causes a yellowish to brownish tint or even a colored tint. This effect is present in almost all diamonds; in only the rarest diamonds is the coloration due to this effect undetectable. Diamonds with higher color grades are rarer, in higher demand, and therefore more expensive, than lower color grades.

The Gemological Institute of America, an independent non profit organization, has developed a rating system for color in white diamonds, from “D” to “Z” (with D being “colorless” and Z having a significant yellow coloration), which has been widely adopted in the industry and is universally recognized. Judging color is a job that can be performed only by experts with proper gem lab equipment. To grade color, the gemologist places the diamond under white light that is constant and free of ultraviolet rays. The stone is placed table down (that is, top down) and viewed through the pavilion. The tested diamond is compared to a set of master stones whose colors have been accurately graded and certified by the Gemological Institute of America.

While even a pale pink or blue hue may increase the value of a diamond, more intense coloration is usually considered more desirable and commands the highest prices. Diamonds with unusual or intense coloration are sometimes labeled “fancy” by the diamond industry.

  • You can save as much as 45% by buying a G graded diamond instead of a D grade with all other factors being equal. Color grades G thru I are virtually colorless to the untrained eye and represent a great value proposition. Why buy a D or E grade diamond when there is no visual difference? See below What factors affect price and value?
  • Since Color grade has a large impact on value, it is important that your diamond is certified by one of the top grading labs in the world such as those we use. See Certification.
  • If you buy a white gold or platinum setting you may find a slightly higher Color grade more desirable.

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How are diamonds graded based on internal impurities? Clarity is a measure of the internal defects or flaws of a diamond called inclusions. Inclusions are natural identifying characteristics such as minerals or fractures, appearing while diamonds are formed in the earth. They may look like tiny crystals, clouds or feathers. To view inclusions, jewelers use a magnifying loupe. This tool allows jewelers to see a diamond at 10x its actual size so that inclusions are easier to see. The position and size of inclusions can affect the value of a diamond. There are very few flawless diamonds found in nature, thus these diamonds are much more valuable. Inclusions are ranked on a scale of perfection, known as clarity, which was established by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). This clarity scale, ranging from F (Flawless) to Included (I), is based on the visibility of inclusions at a magnification of 10x.

Diamonds become increasingly rare at higher clarity grades. Only about 20 percent of all diamonds mined have a clarity rating high enough for the diamond to be considered appropriate for use as a gemstone; the other 80 percent are relegated to industrial use. Of that top 20 percent, a significant portion contains a visible inclusion or inclusions. Those that do not have a visible inclusion are known as “eye-clean” and are preferred by most buyers, although visible inclusions can sometimes be hidden under the setting in a piece of jewelry. The greater a diamond’s clarity, the more brilliant, valuable and rare it is While Flawless diamonds are the rarest, a diamond does not have to be flawless to be visually stunning. In fact, until you drop to the “I” grade, a diamond’s clarity grade has an impact on the diamond’s value, not on the unmagnified diamond’s appearance. Diamonds which gemologists call “eye-clean” are diamonds with no inclusions visible to the naked eye. Unless the recipient carries a b jewelry magnifying glass she won’t see the inclusions of these diamonds.

  • You can save as much as 55% by buying a VS 1 graded diamond instead of an FL grade with all other factors being equal. Your best value for the money is generally SI2 to VS1 graded diamonds. See our schedule of grade and price below. This maximizes the size of the diamond relative to your budget and makes sure it still has the “WOW” factor. Our unique Insider Buying Process has an expert visually select the best diamonds within your grading level criteria to assure you the best value.
  • When pricing diamonds, be sure you ask about gem treatments. Be sure to get in writing that the gem has not been subjected to specifically named treatments, such as laser drilling or fracture filling. Make sure to get a lab certificate from a reputable lab. Forever Diamond Service does not sell treated diamonds.

For additional in depth information about this important topic, check out our “Great Links” reviewed sites.


How do symmetry and proportions give diamonds sparkle? Cut is the art and science of creating gem quality diamonds out of mined rough diamonds. The Cut describes the proportions in which a diamond has been shaped and polished to give its final proportions. Cut represents the quality of workmanship of a diamond and the angles and proportions it is given. Cut determines the diamond’s reflective qualities. Light enters from the top of the diamond, is funneled downward to where it strikes facets at the bottom, then is refracted to other facets of the stone again and again as it works its way back up, until it leaves the stone at the top and enters the eye of the observer. Cut, when speaking of one of the four qualities that give diamonds their value, therefore, refers to the geometric proportions of the gem. The geometric proportions are important because a diamond is a prism that refracts, or bends, light rays, breaking white light into the colors of the rainbow. It is this refraction that unleashes the color spectrum in a way that gives a diamond its fire. The optical proportions must be exact in order to achieve maximum brilliance.

Cut is the most misunderstood of the 4 Cs. It is often wrongly thought of as the shape of the stone. This confusion exists because, of course, the raw material must be cut into a shape, and the confusion increases because shapes of diamonds are given names like Round Brilliant Cut, Oval Cut, Emerald Cut, and so forth.

Diamond Cut

  • Cut is the most important of the 4 Cs. Two finished diamonds, equal in all respects except cutting proportions, can vary as much as 50 % in price.
  • When you ask a jeweler about the cut of a diamond, the name of a shape (such as “round brilliant cut”) is irrelevant. You want the geometric proportions: table diameter, crown angle, girdle thickness, pavilion depth, and culet size. Because cut is so important to value, our unique Insider Buying Process has an expert gemologist visually select the best diamonds within each grading level to assure you the best value.

For additional in depth information about this important topic, check out our “Great Links” reviewed sites.


Can certification give me confidence in buying a diamond on line? Yes! Diamond certification is crucial to your trust and confidence in an on line diamond purchase! Diamond certificates are more accurately known as Diamond Grading Reports. These reports are prepared by independent, certified gemologists from laboratories around the world and can help calculate the specific characteristics of your diamonds. A diamond grading report will commonly include a plotted diagram of your diamond and all significant characteristics, including the 4C’s (cut, color, clarity, carat weight). The report also describes the diamond’s shape, exact measurements, proportions and depth percentages as well as grade the polish and symmetry. It should also comment on the characteristics like fluorescence, graining, and any imperfections in the diamond.

There are many diamond labs that issue certificates, but the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the American Gem Society (AGS) are the two most widely regarded and recognized diamond grading labs in the world.

Gemological Institute of AmericaGIA – Gemological Institute of America. Founded in 1931 in Los Angeles, the GIA created and introduced the international grading system. Headquarters are still located in Los Angeles.


American Gem SocietyAGS – American Gem Society Founded in 1934 by Robert M. Shipley who also founded the GIA. The AGS is based in Nevada, USA.

A certificate is not the same thing as an appraisal. A certificate describes the quality of a diamond, but it does not place a monetary value on the gem. An appraisal places a monetary value on your diamond, but does not certify the quality of the diamond.

  • All diamonds over ¼ ct should be certified by a top lab. We go one step further and laser inscribe the certificate number on the girdle of the diamond so you always know you maintain custody of your diamond.
  • Be certain that you have a genuine diamond certificate by calling the GIA and reviewing the certificate with their historical records.

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What shapes do Diamonds come cut into? When you are shopping for a diamond, your first decision is to choose a shape. Choose a shape that you will enjoy looking at every day and that reflects your individuality. You should also look for a diamond shape that will flatter the shape and length of the owner’s hand. If a woman has a small hand, for example, a Round or Princess shape is typically recommended. A woman with long slender fingers can also wear an Emerald-cut or rectangular Radiant diamond. Please note that the shape of a diamond shouldn’t ever be confused with its Cut – though it often is. Shape refers to the basic form of a stone – Round, Oval, etc. Cut, on the other hand, grades the proportions of a diamond given a particular shape. Regardless of shape, a diamond that is cut well will reflect light better and therefore create more sparkle.

Below we describe the unique characteristics of each diamond shape.

Round DiamondRound By far the most preferred diamond shape, the round-brilliant cut is also the most optically brilliant because of its 360-degree symmetrical shape. The most popular and traditional diamond shape is Round. Round diamonds account for over 75% of diamonds sold today. A round brilliant is a great choice if you want the most sparkle and the most enduring classic shape. Rounds can be set into four or six prongs, based on the design of the setting, or into bezel mountings (a metal band that runs around the edge of the diamond to hold it securely in the setting). In general, if the round brilliant has an Ideal cut or Very Good cut, you want the setting to have the least amount of metal around the stone so that it is held securely but does not cover up too much of the diamond and block light from entering the stone.

The Round shape was based on extensive analysis in light optimization which determined that this shape helps to maximize a diamond’s light display as it allows light to both enter and exit the crown. In addition, Round diamonds are very versatile, as they can look brilliantly beautiful in many types of settings.The round shape has been cut for centuries, but in 1919, Marcel Tolkowsky defined specific angles and proportions to yield the most brilliant diamond, which form the basis for the modern ‘Ideal’ cut round-brilliant diamond. Round-brilliant diamonds are the only shape to have this ideal proportion defined. The round silhouette works with almost every mounting, from classic solitaires to the most avant-garde designs.

Princess DiamondPrincess The princess cut is a modern classic of clean, square lines and beautiful sparkle. This shape is the perfect choice if you prefer a square or rectangular outline but want the brilliance of a round. Developed in the 1970s, the princess cut is now second only to the round brilliant in popularity. The cutting of this diamond combines the step-cutting of the emerald cut with the triangular facets of the brilliant cut and is cut with right-angle corners. Although most prefer a square outline, some stones are cut with a slightly more rectangular outline. The princess cut works beautifully as a solitaire but also looks great paired with side stones, especially trillions or smaller princess-cut diamonds. It is important to protect the more vulnerable corners with a V-shaped prong at each point. The ideal setting for a Princess-cut diamond ring is a three stone setting, with two smaller diamonds flanking the center stone. It is important to note that Princess-cut diamonds are commonly referred to as a “square modified brilliant” or “rectangular modified brilliant” on most lab reports.

Emerald DiamondEmerald The Emerald-cut diamond, similar to the shape of a precious emerald gemstone, is also known as a “step cut” diamond since its facets are cut like a set of steps. An Emerald-cut diamond is more rectangular in shape and has tapered corners. High-quality Emerald-cut diamonds produce dramatic flashes of light due to its long lines. This shape conveys a timeless and sophisticated elegance. The emerald-cut diamond is among the most classic of diamond shapes. Because of its simpler faceting structure, larger inclusions are sometimes more visible to the unaided eye, so diamonds cut in this shape usually need to be higher clarity. An emerald cut is loved by purists and looks especially wonderful set in platinum, in a simple setting or a baguette side-stone setting.

Asscher DiamondAsscher The trendy Asscher-cut diamond has step-cut facets just like the Emerald-cut diamond, but with a square outline. Its structure – deep pavilion, faceted culet, high crown and small table – brings out the diamond’s inner fire. An Asscher-cut diamond also has unique blocked corners and a pavilion faceted in a “scissor cut” style. The clarity of an Asscher-cut diamond is very important since its flat and broad facets will make scratches, inclusions, or other flaws more visible to the naked eye. The Asscher-cut was invented by Joseph Asscher, a well-renowned diamond cutter who founded the Royal Asscher Company in Amsterdam in 1854. It quickly gained popularity since it captured the essence of the Art-Deco movement, which was just beginning to develop at that time. Today, the Asscher-cut diamond is enjoying a b revival due to its fashionable look.

Marquise DiamondMarquise The Marquise-cut has an elongated brilliant shape with tapered points on each end. Since it is approximately twice as long as it is wide, it makes the fingers look long and slender. The Marquise shape was named after a historical legend involving the French king Louis the XIV. The legend claims that he desired a diamond whose shape would look like and be as brilliant as the smile of the Marquise of Pompadour, his influential mistress and notable patron of literature and the arts. The king’s cutters custom crafted the Marquise-cut shape based on this directive. The marquise cut is a regal, elongated shape with tapering points at both ends.This shape works in a simple solitaire setting or looks beautiful with side stones, especially baguette or trillion shapes. A marquise-cut diamond should be mounted with six prongs: four positioned on the sides to hold the body of the stone securely and two V-shaped prongs to protect the points at either end, the most vulnerable part of the diamond.

Oval DiamondOval The oval cut is most similar a round-brilliant cut and combines the round’s sparkle with a flattering, elongated outline. Its structure flatters the shape of the hand since its length makes the fingers look long and slender. An oval shape is also considered to be very classic and elegant. It makes a good choice for someone who wants a unique shape but loves the fire and brilliance of a round diamond. The relatively symmetrical shape lends itself well to a variety of mounting styles. Most oval cuts look great in any mounting meant for a round brilliant as long as the setting that holds the diamond has six prongs properly spaced for security.

Radiant DiamondRadiant Like its name suggests, the Radiant-cut diamond is one of the most brilliant and beautiful shapes. This cut is the diamond of choice for royalty and is considered by many to be the most regal and elegant of all diamond shapes. Radiant-cut diamonds are currently a very popular choice for engagement rings. The radiant cut is a beautiful combination of the classic emerald cut and the sparkle of the round brilliant. The radiant cut is similar to the princess cut but is usually (though not always) a more rectangular outline and has blocked corners like those of an emerald cut. The cutting is a combination of the step-cutting of the emerald-cut diamond with some triangular faceting of the brilliant cut. The radiant cut is dramatic as a solitaire but also looks great paired with side stones such as baguettes, trillions, or princess shapes. A radiant-cut stone should be set with special prongs to hold the blocked corners securely.

Pear DiamondPear The pear shape is a beautiful, feminine diamond shape with a rounded end on one side and a tapering point at the other. Also known as the Teardrop diamond, the Pear is commonly used to create exquisite rings as well as pendants and earrings. In a ring, the elongated shape of the Pear diamond makes the fingers look longer and slender. In a well-cut Pear diamond, the culet is centered directly below the diamond’s table to create the greatest light effect. In a ring, the Pear diamond looks beautiful when set as a solitaire stone or with two round or baguette side stones. The pear shape is a beautiful, feminine diamond shape with a rounded end on one side and a tapering point at the other. It is lovely as the center stone in a ring or outstanding as a pendant or pair of drop earrings. The asymmetrical shape should be considered when setting a pear cut, which looks beautiful as a solitaire, or with side stones, especially smaller pear-cut stones or baguettes. A pear-shaped diamond should be mounted in a special setting with five prongs: two to hold the rounded end, two to hold the curved sides of the stone securely, and one V-shaped prong to protect the point at the other end, the most vulnerable part of the diamond.

Heart DiamondHeart The heart-shaped diamond is the most romantic of diamond shapes. It is similar to the pear shape but has a cleft in the rounded end that forms the lobes of the heart. Not surprisingly, jewelry with Heart diamonds have become a very popular gift to mark special occasions in a relationship such as Valentine’s Day or anniversaries. The complexity of the shape requires skilled cutting to ensure proper brilliance. Symmetry is a big consideration for this shape, as the outline needs to have a pleasing, obvious heart outline apparent in the setting. The lobes should be rounded (not pointed) and clearly defined. Heart-shaped diamonds should be mounted in special settings with five prongs: two at the lobes of the heart, two on the sides of the heart, and a V-shaped prong to protect the point of the heart, the most vulnerable place on the diamond. The Heart diamond is popular for many kinds of settings in pendants, earrings, and rings.

Cushion DiamondCushion The cushion shape is an unusual diamond shape and an interesting alternative to an oval- or princess-cut diamond. Because these are relatively rare, this shape is for someone who wants something few people possess. The modern cushion shape is based on an antique cushion cut, which is a combination of round and square outline with a softened square or ‘pillow’ shape. A cushion-cut may be squarer with length and width in equal proportion, or may have a slightly elongated outline, depending on the individual stone and the wearer’s preference. As a solitaire, it makes a statement and also looks wonderful paired with side stones such as baguettes. A cushion-cut diamond setting should have at least four secure prongs. Cushion-cut diamonds have an old world charm and a romantic feel. When cut finely, they can display magnificent brilliance. Cushion-cut diamonds look remarkable in most settings, including solitaire, surrounded by pave diamonds, or flanked by two smaller diamonds.

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