Diamond Myths Overview: It’s Not Just About The 4 C’s

So, a man walks into a jewelry store, and he says, “I’m looking for a 2-carat diamond.” If he asks one clarity or better, G-color or better, has to be an excellent cut. GIA certified. Oh, and absolutely no fluorescents. The problem is everything he thinks he knows about a diamond is actually wrong. Now, before I get into what is wrong with what he thinks he knows, I’d like to address the question: why? Why is there so much misinformation out there, especially online, about diamonds? Is it just a bunch of charlatans? Con men out there to rip him off? To take advantage of his ignorance? Well, there is some of that. But, generally speaking, no, that’s not really what’s happening. Most of the people spreading this misinformation don’t realize they’re wrong. But understanding the truth about diamonds can make you the expert and help you choose the very best and most beautiful diamond for your budget.

Myth #1:

The Truth About "Ideal Cut" Diamonds

What is an ideal cut diamond? Are they, in fact, ideal? The truth may surprise you.

In 1919, Marcel Tolkowsky calculated what he considered to be the ideal proportions for a round brand diamond. He called it “The American Standard.” In 1966, the American Gem Society adopted Tolkowsky’s model as the basis of their cut standard, with a few alterations, coining the term “ideal” to represent the very best cut diamonds. It was the first cut grading standard to acknowledge the importance of cut proportions to the overall appearance and value of a diamond. To this day, many diamond charts are based on the 1966 AGS Standard. By the end of the 20th century, however, it was clear that Tolkowsky’s model was flawed. Today, the AGS ideal diamond grade is not based on any single set of parameters but by the diamond’s overall light performance. As it turns out, it is the relationship between all of the facets in a diamond that matter. Think of it like a hall of mirrors. If I have 58 mirrors lined up perfectly, I can shine a flashlight in one of them, and it bounces around off all 58 facets and come back to me. That would be ideal light performance. But if I move one of the mirrors just a little bit, I’ll lose light. On the other hand, I could rearrange all of the mirrors and get the same light return without the mirrors being in anywhere close to the original position. That’s why it’s performance rather than parameters that matter. The AGS patented asset technology represents the most scientific way to understand light performance in a diamond. As you can see, Fire and Ice Diamonds are cut to appear more brilliant compared to other GIA excellent or even AGS ideal cut diamonds. Every diamond is different. Every diamond has a story to tell.

Myth #2: The Real Reason Jewelers Want You to Focus on Diamond Weight, Not Size

How big is a diamond? Most people think of it in terms of weight, but it’s actually size that you see. Learn about the important difference between a diamond’s size and a diamond’s weight.

How big is a 1-carat diamond in millimeters? How about a 2 carat? The traditional charts say that a 1-carat diamond is 6.5mm and a 2 carat is 8.2mm, but actual diamond sizes have always varied. Today, some charts even suggest that a 1-carat diamond should be 6.4mm and a 2 carat only 8mm. Why have the standards changed? And how is it that the majority of diamonds today don’t even measure up to these adjusted standards? The variations are even greater for fancies (pears, ovals, cushions, etc.), but the overall trend is the same: Diamonds are typically smaller than advertised. Why should this be so? Well, because diamond cutters favor depth over beauty. As long as they can land within an acceptable range for the cut grade they want, they’ll cut the diamond as deep as they can. Diamonds are sold by weight. So, if two diamonds have the same diameter and one is deeper, it would obviously weigh more, and the diamond cutter could charge more even though the deeper diamonds are darker. So, if two diamonds weigh the same, but one is deeper, it will measure smaller. That’s why, at Fire and Ice, we always aim for the bullseye, cutting for beauty rather than weight. Which is why Fire and Ice Diamonds always face up bigger, brighter, and whiter compared to other excellent and ideal cut diamonds. The bottom line is most diamonds can stand to go on a diet, lose a few carat points, and would shine a little brighter as a result. Every diamond is different. Every diamond has a story to tell.

Myth #3:

What’s More Important, Clarity or Transparency?

When buying a diamond, many shoppers believe that clarity and transparency are the same thing, but they’re not. Find out why it’s so important to understand the difference.

So, let’s start by defining what each term means. Clarity represents the absence of inclusions or blemishes usually caused by small crystals trapped within the larger diamond. Clarity is rated on a GIA scale from flawless to I3. Transparency, on the other hand, refers to how easily light passes through the crystal and how crisp or clear the diamond appears. Clarity characteristics do not necessarily interfere with the sparkle or transparency of the diamond. Poor transparency, however, is like fogging up a mirror and can at times dramatically impact the sparkle or appearance of the polished gem. But here’s where it gets tricky. While clarity is always a rarity factor which impacts the price and value of the diamond, transparency is only notated on the diamond report when it’s extremely poor. Why is all of this so important? Because nature did not create a world where the transparency of the diamond is either perfect or so bad that it must be notated on the grading report. So, while every diamond gets a clarity grade, only a few really bad ones are actually assessed for transparency. Yet the transparency of the diamond crystal may have as much impact on the appearance of the diamond as its clarity grade—which means you might have two diamonds that look exactly the same on paper, but thanks to superior transparency, one could be noticeably more bright and beautiful compared to the other. The truth is every diamond is different. Every diamond has a story to tell.

Myth #4: The Surprising Truth About Diamond Color

Many consumers insist on a specific color for their diamond, such as it must be at least a G-color. But what does that really mean? And why is diamond color so important? Find out why in this video.

What is G-color? As my friend Adam Freid likes to say, “You can’t buy a G-colored car. I’ve never met anyone with G-color hair.” G is not actually a color at all; it’s an amount of color. A degree of shade. But how much color? Actually, G (or any color grade for that matter) is a range, and the difference between a high G and a low G is just as great as the range between a middle G and a middle H or a middle F. So, even if we lived in a black and white world, not all G-colored diamonds would look the same, but we don’t live in a black and white world, and the hue does matter. A diamond with a little bit of yellow, for example, might look brighter and crisper compared to a diamond that’s gray, green, or brown, which would look sleepy by comparison. To prove my point, let me share an extreme example. Let’s take a fancy vivid yellow diamond and compare it to a chocolate brown diamond. You can see that the yellow diamond has better transparency, and it’s much brighter. In fancy diamonds, the hue or the exact color is listed on the grading report, but for diamonds that are in the normal color range, which are just slightly yellow or slightly brown, only the amount of color is listed as G, H, or K for example. So, two diamonds that are accurately graded the same may look very different. Every diamond is different. Every diamond has a story to tell.

Myth #5:

Does Fluorescence Make a Diamond More or Less Brilliant?

Does fluorescence in a diamond really give it a cloudy appearance? Find out in this video.

Fluorescence is a glowing light, usually blue, that emits from some diamonds when they’re exposed to UV light. About one third of gem-quality diamonds exhibit visible fluorescence. The common opinion of online experts is that fluorescence usually causes a milky or hazy appearance in a diamond. But the GIA found that the opposite is usually true when they studied the matter in their 1996 article. The GIA study demonstrated that even strong blue fluorescence often results in a brighter appearance. They concluded that the diamond industry would be better served by considering each diamond on its own merit. Ironically, years ago, fluorescence diamonds were the most prized in the world. They were called blue white and people paid huge premiums for them. While it is true that, in some cases, fluorescence can cause a cloudy or milky appearance, it is neither the strength of the fluorescence nor the body color of the diamond that determines that effect. In fact, it’s the transparency of the crystal that matters most. In the presence of fluorescence, clear diamonds look brighter, while hazy diamonds appear even hazier. Every diamond is different. Every diamond has a story to tell.

Myth #6: GIA Certified Diamonds Aren’t What You Think

What does it really mean to get a GIA-certified diamond? Find out in this video.

All online advisors will insist that you demand GIA-certified diamonds, and many quality retailers, both online and off, claim to sell GIA-certified diamonds. But here’s the problem. There’s no such thing as a GIA-certified diamond or even a GIA certificate. The GIA grading report doesn’t certify anything; in fact, both the GIA and the AGS have repeatedly advised the entire diamond industry to stop using the term certified. And here’s why. The GIA and AGS grading reports clearly state that the grades listed are merely an opinion. Meaning you can send the same diamond to the same lab and receive different reports, and both could be equally correct. The grade is just an opinion. Much like a football game, and the referee has to decide whether or not a catch is a catch. Sometimes, it’s borderline. Every diamond is different. Every diamond has a story to tell.

To See the World’s Most Brilliant Diamond, Visit a Fire & Ice Retailer Near You