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Diamond Glossary

 

The process of shopping for a diamond engagement ring is overwhelming in its own right, with a budget to manage, a partner to please, a shape to choose, and a monumental life secret to keep from your friends and family. 


salesperson assisting client at jewelry showcase

The cherry on top of this overflowing sundae: you can’t seem to understand what the jeweler means when they say: “the facets of the emerald cut diamond are fashioned in a step cut creating a “hall of mirrors” effect that cascades away from the table of the diamond.” What’s a facet? What’s an emerald cut? What’s a step-cut? What’s a diamond table?

 

A happy engagement ring diamond shopper is empowered with the tools and resources necessary to make an educated decision. While we use easy-to-understand language in our Lauren B storefront, we wanted to provide a resource for our online customers so that you can feel confident throughout the entire engagement ring shopping experience. 

 

The Basics

oval double signature wrap ring

First things, first. What is a diamond? 

 

A diamond is a mineral composed entirely of carbon that naturally occurs as a result of high pressure and temperatures that occur in the Earth’s mantle, more than one hundred miles below our feet. Diamonds are found through mining rock delivered to the Earth through volcanic eruptions. 

 

Types of Diamonds

 

Rough Diamond

A rough diamond is an untouched diamond. This type of diamond is uncut and unpolished leaving it in its natural state.

Traditional Diamond

The diamond we know from jewelry stores around the world, scenes from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, or celebrity articles featured in People or US Weekly. These diamonds are cut, polished, and refined into round or fancy shapes and placed in settings for engagement rings, wedding bands, earrings, necklaces, and more.

Colored Diamond

The colored diamond is a rare subset of diamonds that make up only a small portion of diamond production. Colored diamonds come in a wide variety of colors from pink to green. 

 

1.55 ct Cushion Yellow Diamond Engagement Ring

1.55 ct Cushion Yellow Diamond Engagement Ring

 

1.30 ct Round Shape Black Diamond 18K White Gold Engagement Ring

1.30 ct Black Diamond 18K White Gold Engagement Ring


Diamond Structure & Shape

diamond structure diagram gia

 

Facet

A facet is the flat, polished surface of a diamond. 

 

Girdle

A girdle is a band through the widest part of the diamond that divides the crown and the pavilion. 

 

Crown

The crown is the faceted part of the diamond located directly above the girdle. 

 

Pavilion

The pavilion is the exact opposite of the crown. The faceted portion of a diamond is located beneath the girdle. The pavilion usually falls below the diamond mount and has a steep angle. 

 

Table

The flat facet at the top of a diamond that faces the wearer is the table

 

Depth

Depth is a measurement of diamond height from the top of the crown to the bottom of the pavilion. 

 

Diamond Features

 

The GIA

GIA is an acronym for the Gemological Institute of America, a non-profit, independent organization considered the authority on diamonds and other gemstones. The GIA was established in 1931 and has provided ample research, education, and laboratory services to the United States.

 

The GIA provides various reports for submitted gemstones including the diamond grading report and the diamond origin report. The diamond grading report provides a 4Cs assessment and a plotted diagram, which notably shows the internal and external characteristics of the diamond along with shape and style. 

The 4Cs

various engagement ring shape on ladies hand

 

The 4Cs include cut, clarity, color, and carat. These diamond features are used to evaluate the quality of a diamond. 

Cut

Diamond cut refers to the shape of the diamond created by precise facets that contribute to diamond brilliance, dispersion, and the visual appearance of the diamond.

 

4.39 ct Antique Cushion shape Diamond Engagement Ring

4.39 ct Antique Cushion Diamond Engagement Ring

The cut grade is the GIA’s rating of a diamond cut that takes diamond symmetry, weight ratio, fire, and scintillation into consideration. 

 

Clarity

 

Clarity refers to the internal and external characteristics of a diamond. Clarity ratings affect the price and overall aesthetic of the diamond depending on the absence or presence of inclusions or blemishes.

diamond clarity chart

Diamond clarity is ranked by the GIA from flawless to included. Diamond inclusions or blemishes are imperfections found in a diamond. Most diamonds have some type of inclusion or blemish, though not all inclusions or blemishes can be seen with the naked eye. 

VS1 diamond versus I1 diamond clarity

Diamond inclusions include abrasions, bearded girdle, bruise, cavity, chip, cleavage, cloud, feather, knot, needle, and wisp.

Color

Color refers to a diamond’s tint as measured against a master diamond. Color is graded by the GIA on a scale from colorless (D) to light yellow (Z). Diamonds outside of the S-Z grade are considered fancy colored diamonds.

diamond color chart

Fancy diamonds are deeply saturated diamonds graded by intensity or concentration of color. Fancy yellow diamonds are graded by the GIA on a scale of faint to fancy vivid. 

 

.70 ct Pear Shape Diamond Hidden Halo™ Ring

.70 ct Pear Shape Diamond Hidden Halo™ Ring, E Color

 

Radiant shape Diamond Rose Gold Hidden Halo Engagement Ring

1.70 Carat Radiant Cut Diamond Rose Gold Hidden Halo™ Ring, H Color

Carat

 

Carat is the most notable diamond feature on the search for the perfect diamond engagement ring and is most often confused with diamond size. A carat is the unit of weight measurement equating to 0.2 grams or 0.007 ounces. 

 

0.60 Carat Cushion Cut Diamond Double-Edge Halo Engagement Ring

0.60 Carat Cushion Cut Diamond Double-Edge Halo Engagement Ring

 

3 Carat Cushion Cut Diamond Signature Wrap Solitaire Ring

3 Carat Cushion Cut Diamond Signature Wrap Solitaire Ring

 

Durability

While not included in the 4Cs of diamonds, durability is an important factor to consider when selecting the perfect diamond for your engagement ring. Durability refers to a diamond’s ability to resist wear and tear based on the hardness and stability features of the diamond stone. 

 

Diamond Shape

Diamond shape refers to the cut of the diamond. Different diamond shapes emphasize various aesthetic features of the diamond including brilliance, fire, and symmetry as we will discuss later. 

 

The Round or “Brilliant” Cut

 

4.30 Carat Round Diamond Six-Prong Engagement Ring

4.30 Carat Round Diamond Six-Prong Engagement Ring

The round or “brilliant” cut is the most traditional diamond shape featuring triangular facets that emphasize diamond brilliance. The round cut features a circular diamond and is incredibly versatile when it comes to setting and style. 

 

Fancy Shapes

 

Fancy-shaped diamonds are any shape outside of the round “brilliant” cut. Fancy shapes include cushion cut, princess cut, radiant cut, asscher cut, pear shape, oval cut, heart cut, marquise cut, emerald cut, and baguette diamonds. 

 

Your preferred diamond shape can say a lot about your personality! Check out our article What Does Your Preferred Diamond Shape Say About Your Personality? to see how your diamond shape reflects your unique personality. 

 

Cushion-Cut

1.90 ct Cushion Cut Diamond Pave Engagement Ring

1.90 ct Cushion Cut Diamond Pave Engagement Ring

The cushion cut diamond is a square-shaped diamond with rounded edges creating a pillowing effect. 

Princess-Cut

1.60 Carat Princess Cut Diamond Invisible Gallery™ Engagement Ring

1.60 Carat Princess Cut Diamond Invisible Gallery™ Engagement Ring

The princess cut is a square-shaped diamond that enhances diamond brilliance comparable to the round cut.  

 

Radiant-Cut

1.81 carat Radiant Cut Diamond Super Slim Band Ring

1.81-carat Radiant Cut Diamond Super Slim Band Ring

The radiant cut diamond is a square or rectangular-shaped diamond with cut-off corners. This diamond shape also enhances brilliance, though not as significantly as the brilliant-cut or the princess cut. 

 

Asscher-Cut

Asscher Cut Moissanite Three Row Band Engagement Ring

Asscher Cut Moissanite Three Row Band Engagement Ring

The asscher cut is another square-shaped diamond with cut corners like the radiant cut. What makes the asscher cut unique is the step-cut facets that mirror the emerald-cut diamond.  

Pear Shape

2.51 ct Pear Shape Diamond Pave Engagement Ring

2.51 ct Pear Shape Diamond Pave Engagement Ring

The pear-shaped diamond resembles a teardrop combining the brilliant-cut and the marquis cut diamond shapes. The pear-shaped diamond has one rounded end and one pointed end, with the pointed end facing towards the wearer. 

 

Oval-Cut

4.51 carat Oval Diamond Engagement Ring

4.51 carat Oval Diamond Engagement Ring

The oval cut diamond is an elongated brilliant-cut resembling an oval. The oval cut is an increasingly popular diamond shape. 

 

Heart Shape

1.60 Carat Heart Shape Diamond Two-Tone Signature Wrap Ring

1.60 Carat Heart Shape Diamond Two-Tone Signature Wrap Ring

The heart shape diamond is shaped like a heart with two rounded edges separated with a “v” and one pointed end. 

Marquise-Cut

Marquise Cut Diamond Rose Gold Swoop Design Engagement Ring

1.75 ct Marquise Diamond Rose Gold Swoop Engagement Ring

The marquise-cut diamond features two rounded sides and two tapered, pointed ends. The marquise cut diamond is unique in that it is twice as long as it is wide. 

Emerald-Cut

 

4.02 carat Emerald Cut Diamond Super Slim Engagement Ring

4.02 carat Emerald Cut Diamond Super Slim Engagement Ring

The emerald cut diamond is a square or rectangular shape that is characterized by its step cut facets, which are facets that cut away from the table and resemble a row of steps creating a “hall of mirrors” effect. 

Baguette-Cut

 

.90 Ct Baguette Diamond East-West Eternity Band

.90 Ct Baguette Diamond East-West Eternity Band

Baguette-cut diamonds are usually used as accent diamonds for larger center stones or as wedding band diamonds. This diamond shape is long and slender in a rectangular shape and features a step cut similar to the emerald cut diamond.

 

Diamond Styles 

There are various diamond engagement ring styles from which to choose. Each diamond style highlights the center stone in a different way and is entirely based on personal preference. 

Halo

2.62 carat Radiant Cut Diamond Halo Three Row Engagement Ring

2.62-carat Radiant Cut Diamond Halo Three Row Engagement Ring

The “halo” style features the center stone surrounded by smaller gemstones. These gemstones, which can be diamonds or colored gemstones, create a halo effect around the center stone. 

 

Pave

1.82 Carat Round Diamond Four-Prong Engagement Ring

1.82 Carat Round Shape Diamond Four-Prong Engagement Ring

Pave diamonds refer to a row of small diamonds set as closely together as possible creating a “path” of diamonds. Pave diamonds can line the engagement ring band or wedding band to add more glamour to your ring stack.

 

Solitaire

1.29 Carat Round Diamond Two-Tone Solitaire Engagement Ring

1.29 Carat Round Diamond Two-Tone Solitaire Engagement Ring

Solitaire is an engagement ring style that features one stone. Some people prefer to dress up their solitaire with a glamorous wedding band, or they keep their ring stack simple and classic with a simple diamond wedding band. 

 

Three Stone

1.70 carat Oval Diamond Three-Stone Engagement Ring

1.70 carat Oval Diamond Three-Stone Engagement Ring

A three-stone diamond engagement ring features a larger center stone with two secondary gemstones in a complementary shape. 

 

Wedding Band Diamonds

Though not as flashy as the diamonds of an engagement ring, wedding band diamonds can add whimsy, glamour, or simplicity to your ring stack. 

 

Setting Styles

Wedding band diamonds are set in a variety of styles to create different overall aesthetics. 

 

Pave

Super Slim Pave Wedding Band yellow gold

Super Slim Pave Wedding Bands

The pave setting features a continuous row of diamonds inlaid into the band metal and held together by tiny beads. This wedding band style minimizes visible metal and can be composed of small or larger stones. 

 

"U" Shape

2.45 Ct Round Diamond Yellow Gold Eternity U-shape Band

2.45 Ct Round Diamond Yellow Gold Eternity U-shape Band

The u-shape setting features a “U” or a “V” shaped prong basket that holds the diamond into place allowing the entire diamond to be visible from any angle. This setting usually features shared prongs and can be done with various-sized stones.

 

Channel or Bright Cut

1.00 Carat TW Channel Set Diamond Eternity Band

1.00 Carat TW Channel Set Diamond Eternity Band

The channel setting or bright cut setting features a row of diamonds secured in place by metal walls on each side. 

 

Prong Basket

Antique Cushion Diamond Eternity Band white gold

Antique Cushion Diamond Eternity Band

The prong basket setting features prongs along with a metal bar that holds the diamond in place. This setting creates uniformity and structure.

 

Bezel

oval shape yellow gold bezel eternity band

Oval Diamond Bezel Set Yellow Gold Eternity Band

A bezel setting houses each diamond in a rim of metal in the shape of the diamond it holds. The round bezel setting is the most common bezel setting.

 

Compass

2.90 Ct Round shape Diamond Compass Set Eternity Band

2.90 Ct Round Diamond Compass Set Eternity Band

The compass setting is similar to the prong basket where the diamonds are held together with prongs and a metal bar. The difference between these two settings is that the compass prongs are oriented in a compass style (north, south, east, west). 

 

Band Styles

Now that you understand the diamond settings for wedding bands, we move on to actual wedding band styles, which includes: eternity bands, ½ or ¾ bands, and multi-row bands. 

Eternity Band

4.50 Ct Round Diamond Prong Basket Eternity Band Ring

4.50 Ct Round Diamond Prong Basket Eternity Band Ring

The eternity wedding band features diamonds around the entirety of the band, creating visible diamonds from all angles. 

 

½ or ¾ Band

1.00 CT ROUND shape DIAMOND HALFWAY U-SHAPE BAND

1.00 Ct Round Diamond Halfway U-shape Band

The ½ or ¾ wedding band features diamonds halfway or ¾ around the band with the remaining portion revealing band metal. 

 

Multi-Row Band

 

.85 Ct Diamond Tri-color Gold Three Row Eternity Band

.85 Ct Diamond Tri-color Gold Three Row Eternity Band

A multi-row wedding band features two or more rows of diamonds around a portion of the band creating a stack of diamonds. 

 

Diamond Appearance

When describing diamonds, you may hear a range of fancy words like “brilliance” or “fiery,” that seem alluring. There are specific, descriptive words used in the diamond world to communicate certain characteristics of diamonds. 

 

Brilliance

2.21 Carat Round shape Diamond Platinum Solitaire Engagement Ring

2.21 Carat Round Diamond Platinum Solitaire Engagement Ring

Brilliance is the intensity of white light from internal and external reflections on the diamond crown. There are many factors that contribute to brilliance, which include: clarity, cut, polish, symmetry, and more.

 

Dispersion

The color spectrum revealed when light shoots through the diamond table is called dispersion. Dispersion is also referred to as “fire.”  

Eye Clean

An eye-clean diamond refers to a diamond that has no visible flaws when viewed by the naked eye. There may be microscopic inclusions in an eye-clean diamond, but they are not evident without the use of a lens. 

 

Fluorescence

Fluorescence is a term that refers to the hue (usually blue or bluish-green) of a diamond when exposed to UV light. Fluorescence is only found in 10% of diamonds submitted to the GIA. 

 

Radiance

Diamond radiance is also referred to as “sparkle,” and speaks to the total amount of light reflected and refracted from the diamond. 

 

Scintillation

The reflections from the facets of a diamond that create a “mirror-like” effect when exposed to light are referred to as diamond scintillation

 

Symmetry

marquise shape diamond six prong pave band engagement ring

1.40 ct Marquise Diamond Yellow Gold Engagement Ring

Diamond symmetry refers to the uniformity of a diamond when observing the shape and precision of the diamond cut. Symmetry is a desired feature when shopping for diamond engagement rings.

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