Diamond Buying Guide

When buying a diamond, it is vitally important to know about the 4 C's. They are cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. Together, the 4 C's determine a diamond's value. It is essential to learn about each of the 4 C's before purchasing a diamond because each C speaks differently to each individual. For some, the color is the most important while for others it is the cut. The staff at Sam’s Emporium will help you to understand the four C’s of buying a diamond.


To many, cut is the most important of the 4 C's. Each diamond is cut using an exact mathematical formula that unleashes its brilliance and fire. It also refers to the number of facets that the diamond has. The most common cut is the round brilliant. The round brilliant has 57 flat, polished facets that reflect the maximum amount of light. The mathematical formula also takes into account the depth of the cut. If a diamond is cut too shallow or too deep it will lose some of its fire. A well-cut diamond will reflect the light and refract it back out to your eye. Cut is not to be confused with shape.


While diamonds come in every color of the spectrum, the most valuable diamond color is colorless. Truly colorless diamonds are extremely rare and as a result are expensive. They are graded on a color scale established by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Diamonds range from D (colorless) to Z. The further down in the alphabet the diamond is, the more yellow it appears. Color can best be determined by looking at a loose diamond on a pure white surface, and by noting any contrast.


Some people believe that carat refers to the size of a diamond while in actuality; carat is the term used to measure a diamond's weight. A carat is equal to 200 milligrams, and there are 142 carats to an ounce. One carat is made up of one hundred points. The larger the diamond, the greater its rarity. Because larger diamonds are more rare, they generally have a greater value per carat.


Internal imperfections and external irregularities affect the clarity of the diamond by interfering with the passage of light throughout the stone. Imperfections such as spots, lines, or bubbles are known as inclusions. The diamond is more valuable when it has fewer inclusions. According to the GIA's quality analysis system, clarity is graded on a scale ranging from flawless (FL or IF) to imperfect (I). The system is based on the visibility of inclusions at a magnification of 10x.

While these are the 4 most recognized C's, a fifth and less recognized, yet equally important C does exist. That is Confidence. Confidence in your jeweler is extremely important when buying this piece of jewelry that will last forever, and be passed down among generations. It is important to shop at a professional jeweler. Sam’s Emporium has the largest selection of loose diamonds in the area with the lowest possible prices. Sam’s friendly and knowledgeable staff will help you select the perfect diamond.

The Color Scale

Color Scale

Round Cut Diamond

The Round Brilliant

The round brilliant is by far the most popular and has the best angles for which to shine maximum brilliance. It has 57 facets.

Princess Cut Diamond

The Princess Cut

The Princess is a brilliant-style shape with sharp, uncut corners. It is typically cut perfectly square, rather than as a rectangle. Brilliant style refers to vertical-direction crown and pavilion facets that are wide at the culet and narrowed toward the girdle, the opposite of the pavilion-facet arrangement on a curved-corner radiant. A Princess generally has 76 facets, giving it more brilliance and fire than a round brilliant.

Marquise Cut Diamond

The Marquise or Navette Cut

This cut thanks its name to the Marquise of Pompadour: a legend relates that the Sun King would have had a stone polished according to the shape of the mouth of the Marquise of Pompadour. The elongated shape ends in a point at both extremities, the navette offers a very luminous centre, but loses its sparkle towards the points. The marquise cut is identical to the brilliant cut as regards the number of placement of the facets, but is more difficult. The construction of the facets requires a lot of experience and fragility of the sharp points demands utmost precaution.

Emerald Cut Diamond

The Emerald or Octagonal Cut

The emerald cut is usually rectangular but older, square cuts are still around. It is a step-cut diamond; that is, it has rows of facets - usually 48 to 50 - that resemble as staircase and usually are four-sided or elongated. The typical size of a 1 carat rectangular Emerald Cut would be 7 by 5 mm.

Oval Cut Diamond

The Oval Cut

The oval's technique name is 'oval modified brilliant', based upon its shape and modifications of the traditional round brilliant configuration. The oval was invented by Lazare Kaplan in the early 1960's. 56 facets are typical for oval brilliants.

Pear Cut Diamond

The Pear Cut

It is an intermediary shape between the brilliant and the marquise. Aesthetically, it is a very flattering cut in the shape of a water drop. The round part glitters the most, while the luminosity has difficulty reflecting to the point because the angles of the bottom facets are no longer than 40 degrees.

Radiant Cut Diamond

The Radiant Cut

This cut is another variant on the rectangular cut. It forms the basis of a whole series of cuts derived from it ( such as the princess cut ).

Heart Cut Diamond

The Heart Cut

The technical name for this stone is the 'Heart-Shaped Modified Brilliant', based upon its shape and modifications of the traditional round brilliant configuration. Heart-shaped brilliants typically contain 59 facets.