“They look different!”
Have you ever compared 2 diamonds side by side that have the exact same clarity and color and yet, they both look totally different?
SI1 clarity – G color
For this post we’ll use the example of SI1 clarity, G color (but it could be any clarity or color). You put one SI1 clarity, G color diamond up against another SI1, G and one diamond actually looks brighter and whiter.
Why is that?
Now it could be your eyes, for trying to spot minute differences is not easy. But in some diamonds that difference is quite noticeable.
Are these diamonds really the same clarity and color?
The cut is off…
The first thing I would say is “The cut is probably off.”
When the cut of a diamond is off it can leak light. This happens if your diamond is either too deep or too shallow. Loss of light means that diamond could appear darker (not so brilliant) than another.
But, there may also be another issue at hand here…
One which I’ll call “The range“.
Color and clarity range:
Color range and clarity range is what I’m talking about. You see, most people think that color and clarity is constant. They think a G colored diamond is always going to look like a G. Check out the diamond color chart below:
Let’s take a closer, zoomed in view of G color to get a better understanding of what’s happening.
As you see below, G is framed on one side by F, and on the other side by H.
G still looks like it could be constant (always the same), but I assure you, it’s not.
G (which is at the high end of the near colorless range) is a range that goes from F (colorless) to H.
So let’s zoom in even closer and take a more detailed look at G…
You see, color is not one single step. It’s actually a gradual increase in color (yellow to white). G color can be anywhere in between F color and H color. So you could be comparing two G colored diamonds, one could be at the high end of the G range, while the other G could be at the low end (near H). These 2 diamonds could look like different shades. One could appear whiter than the other.
See the image below of 2 diamonds, both G color, but appearing at opposite ends of the G color range. One is closer to the F color, the other is closer to H:
My purpose here is not meant to confuse anyone. I just want to show you that diamonds of G color (or whatever color you’re comparing) may look different from each other.
Want to know something else?
Clarity is the same way.
SI1 clarity can change from stone to stone. Take a look at the SI1 diamond clarity range below. It shows 2 diamonds rated SI1. One ends up being closer to a VS2 and the other ends up being closer to SI2. One has more inclusions in it, while the other appears cleaner.
Both of these diamonds are graded the same way: SI1 clarity (which means they have small microscopic inclusions in them). The SI1 at the high end would almost pass for a VS2 (if you buy a diamond that’s not certified, this SI1 that’s close to the VS2 range could actually be sold as a VS2 clarity, which means you’ll be paying a VS2 price for that SI1 diamond)… So always make sure you buy certified (guarantees that an SI1 is actually an SI1). And just know that an SI1 could fall anywhere in between the SI1 range.
So how is one supposed to know where their diamond falls?
You almost can’t (almost).
If you look at a diamond report, it doesn’t list where in the range the diamond falls. A diamond report will only show that it’s an SI1 and that’s it. Same with color. It’s a G (or whatever color and clarity you buy).
If you ask the salespeople what it is, they will say the same thing. It’s an SI1, G. They’ll look at you like…
“What more do you want?”
I’m bringing this up because I want to show you why a G is not always a G.
Just like there are SI1 diamonds that look better than other SI1’s.
Color and clarity is not cut and dry.
It’s a range.
There are only two ways that I know of to see where a diamond falls in these ranges. One way is used for judging color, the other way is used for judging clarity.
1) Colorimeter – A colorimeter is a device that jewelers use to measure light spectrums and color in diamonds. Most jewelers have one of these and they can put a diamond in the device and it will show you where the diamond color falls in the range, at the high end, middle, or the low end (but of course this also says that the colorimeter is adjusted and calibrated correctly).
If you see that a diamond is at the very high end, that’s a good diamond to buy. It’s almost like buying a better diamond without paying the extra price. :)
P.S. You can also use a CZ master grading set to compare colors.
2) Microscope – This is where your eyes will be the judge. Once you decide what clarity it is you want to buy, look at a lot of diamonds of that same clarity and compare them. With a little practice you’ll be able to spot differences in SI1 clarity diamonds (or whatever clarity you’re looking at). You’ll be able to see if one has fewer inclusions and looks better under 10x magnification (with a microscope or a 10x jeweler’s loupe). One of those diamonds could be on the verge of being called an SI2, while another could almost pass for a VS2 stone.
Every diamond is different and every diamond will look different under the scope. You just have to see them to believe it.
Most people will be able to look at clarity under a scope and see the small differences. Using a microscope will help them decide which diamond clarity is the best to buy.
Color will be much harder for people to judge. Most people can’t see any differences in color between a G-H or an F-G (let alone a G-G). Most people will actually need a step in between color to see the difference. Like comparing an F to an H.
So if you just go by what the salesperson says the diamond is, or what the diamond report lists… You may not be getting the best looking diamond for the money. Scope all diamonds. Look at them from the side and even upside down. Look at the inclusions, check out the color. See if they can test it on a colorimeter (if they have one). It’s your money, why not?
If you can get a diamond that’s almost a VS2, F, for the price of an SI1, G… That would be awesome.
In closing I’ll say it again:
Always buy certified.
(Hopefully GIA) And always scope the diamonds well.
Look at clarity and color. Compare diamonds of the same quality. It could turn an okay diamond, into an absolutely awesome diamond.
And that’s the range that I want to be in.
Compare the differences between these diamonds HERE… You can see them at 20x magnification…
And yes, some do look way better than others.
Wouldn’t you agree?
Author Richard Scott. Certified Diamontologist and Gemologist. 30 years of experience.
Let Richard help you choose the best diamond, the most dazzling engagement ring, and save as much money as possible. Read more about the author here. Follow Richard on social media; Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest. Contact Richard Scott here.