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Diamond Education


D – Colorless; the best possible color; the best of the best.

E – Colorless; the 2nd best possible color.

F – Colorless; better than white.

G – Near colorless; the highest grade of white.

H – Near colorless; pure white.

I – Near colorless; white

J – Near colorless; faint white

K – Faint yellow



IF:  Internally Flawless
    ~ Characteristics are not present within the diamond, the best of the best.

VVS1:  Very Very Slightly Included 
    ~ No visible internal characteristics to the eye, characteristics can not be seen by a trained eye using a 10x microscope.

VVS2:  Very Very Slightly Included
    ~ No visible internal characteristics to the eye, characteristics can only be slightly seen by a trained eye using a 10x microscope.

VS1:  Very Slightly Included
    ~ No visible internal characteristics to the eye, characteristics can only be seen by a trained eye using a 10x microscope.

VS2:  Very Slightly Included

    ~ No visible internal characteristics to the eye, characteristics can be slightly seen using a 10x microscope.

SI1:  Slightly Included

    ~ No visible internal characteristics to the eye, characteristics can be seen using a 10x microscope.

SI2:  Slightly Included 
    ~ No visible internal characteristics to the eye, characteristics can be seen using a 10x microscope.

SI3: Slightly Included
    ~ Internal characteristics may be slightly seen with the eye, characteristics can be seen using a 10x microscope.

I1:  Included
    ~ Internal characteristics can be seen with the eye, characteristics can be seen using a 10x microscope.

I2:  Included
    ~ Internal characteristics can be easily seen with the eye, characteristics can be seen using a 10x microscope.





Anniversary Band Typically giver for wedding anniversaries, a ring set with one or more rows of gems, usually diamonds. The diamonds may go completely, three quarters, or half way around the finger. Any anniversary is appropriate for giving this ring; however, recently the diamond anniversary band has been promoted in major advertising campaigns as the perfect gift for the tenth wedding anniversary. An anniversary band can be used in addition to, or instead of a traditional wedding ring.

Baguette – A small rectangular shaped gemstone. A term derived from the French, meaning long and thin as in baguette breads. Baguettes are step cuts, similar to Emerald cuts, but generally small in size. Tapered baguettes are also common in jewelry, where the short sides are not even in length causing the two long sides to taper towards the shorter end.

Brilliant Cut – A round shaped gemstone with fifty-eight (58) facets also known as a full cut. A round, full cut diamond is correctly called a Brilliant Cut. The term refers to the shape of the gemstone, not quality or actual brilliance. There are sixteen (16) girdle facets, eight (8) star facets, eight (8) bezel facets, and a table facet above the girdle. Below the girdle there are sixteen (16) lower girdle facets, eight (8) pavilion facets, and a cutlet. (see Old Mine Cut and Old European Cut).

Carat – A very accurate unit of weight used for gemstones. The word Carat is derived from the Carob seed, which was used in the days of antiquity as counterweights on scales for small measurements because Carob seeds were extremely similar in weight. A Carat is equal to 1/5th of a gram, or two-hundred (200) milligrams, and there are about one hundred and forty (140) Carats in one (1) ounce. The word Karat, which is used to describe the content of fine gold in an alloy is often confused with Carat, the unit of weight.

Center Stone – Usually a diamond or other gemstone that is the prominent center piece in a ring setting.

Channel Set – A gem setting technique in which a number of square or rectangular stones are set side by side in a grooved channel. Unlike most setting methods, the stones are not secured individually, so there is no metal visible between the stones. Also it’s a method of setting diamonds or other gemstones into grooves that hold the stones without prongs.

Clarity – The amount or absence of inclusions or other imperfections within a gemstone determines its clarity. A Clarity grade can be assigned to a gemstone based on the amount of imperfections, their size relief (contrast and appearance), and location within a gemstone. Clarity is one of the 4C’s used to grade Diamonds in the G.I.A. system of diamond grading.

Clarity Grade – A category used to describe the amount or absence of inclusions within a Diamond or other gemstone. The G.I.A. diamond clarity grading scale consists of eleven (11) clarity grades. They are, in order of decreasing quality; FL (Flawless), IF (Internally Flawless), VVS1 and VVS2 (Very Very Slightly Included), VS1 and VS2 (Very Slightly Included), SI1 and SI2 (Slightly Included), I1, I2, and I3 (Imperfect). Within the jewelry industry the clarity grade SI3 is used because the I1 and SI2 clarity grade encompass a cast range of qualities within their grades which can not be priced similarly base on the clarity grade alone. The Diamond Council and many Gem Laboratories use the SI3 grade. G.I.A. who has created the grading system however, has not acknowledged the SI3 grade to date.

Cloud – A group of tiny white inclusions which result in a milky or cloudy appearance.

Color Grade – A category used to describe the amount or absence of color, typically yellow, within a diamond or other gemstone. A color grade describes the body color of a diamond and not the colors that can be seen coming from a diamond. The G.I.A. Diamond color grading scale consists of twenty three (23) grades represented by the letter of the alphabet beginning with the letter D and subcategorized as follows:  COLORLESS (D,E,F), NEAR COLORLESS (G,H,I,J), FAINT YELLOW (K,L,M), VERY LIGHT YELLOW (N,O,P,Q,R), LIGHT YELLOW (S,T,U,V,W,X,Y,Z).

Comfort Fit – A ring that is curved on the inside of the shank thereby adding to the comfort of the wearer.

Crown – The upper part of a diamond or gemstone above the girdle.

Crown Height – The distance from the girdle to the table on a diamond when viewed from the side.

Cultured Pearl – A genuine pearl formed within a mollusk such as an Oyster. In a cultured Pearl, a bead known as a nucleus is inserted into a mollusk to start the process that creates a Pearl, and in nature a grain of sand or some other irritant that enters a mollusk starts the process that results in a natural Pearl. Layers of “nacre” are secreted by the mollusk as a natural reaction to a foreign body and are built up layer after layer. The length of time a pearl is allowed to grow and/or the size of the nucleus will determine the size of the Pearl that will be harvested. Cultured pearls are cultivated on farms in freshwater or saltwater.

Cushion Cut – An emerald cut or square cut gemstone with rounded edges. Cushion cut stones are found in many antique style pieces of jewelry.

Cut – The proportions and finish of a polished diamond (also called make). Cut can also mean shape, as in emerald cut or marquise cut. Proportions are the size and angle relationships between the facets and different parts of the stone. Finish includes polish and details of facet shape and placement. Cut affects both the weight yield from rough and the optical efficiency of the polished stone; the more successful the cutter is in balancing these considerations, the more valuable the stone will be. Example: Round 55 – 58% Table 60% Depth Polish Symmetry VG – VG.

Cutlet – The bottom tip of a diamond, which is usually a small facet.

Diamond – Diamonds, a form of crystalline carbon, are prized because they are exceptionally hard and durable, have high reflectivity and brilliance, and because really fine diamonds are rare. Today diamonds are valued based on the “4 C’s” of color, cut, clarity, and carat size. Many diamond imitations have appeared over the years, with the most common today being the ubiquitous cubic zirconia which appears similar to a diamond to the uninitiated, but can be readily distinguished by a diamond tester which measures thermal inertia. Trained individuals, despite claims of cubic zirconia manufacturers, also have little trouble distinguishing a genuine diamond when it is examined under at least ten (10) power magnifications.

Diamond Grade – A value used in a diamond grading system to categorize the color or clarity of a diamond, (See Color Grade or Clarity Grade). The Gemological Institute of America (G.I.A.) developed a system that is the most respected, and is the standard used by most jewelers.

Emerald Cut – A rectangular shaped gemstone. A style of faceting that creates a rectangular gemstone, usually with cut corners to prevent chipping. The pavilion facets run parallel to the girdle, in steps and is also known as a step cut.

Engraving – A process of etching a design, initials, family crest or anything else into the surface of metal. The traditional method of hand-engraving is becoming less common as it is replaced by sophisticated computerized techniques. An experienced and skillful hand engraver is difficult to find these days.

Estate Jewelry – Any previously-owned jewelry offered for sale again. Also described jewelry purchases from the estate of someone who is deceased. All antique jewelry which is resold is estate jewelry, however all estate jewelry is not necessarily antique.

Facet – Plane, polished surface of a diamond.

Faceted Girdle – Sometimes cutter polish the girdle into twelve (12) facets.

Faceting – The process of applying facets, or flat polished surfaces to a gemstone. The goal of a gem cutter, who creates the facet arrangement on a gemstone, is to create the most brilliance and best appearance possible for the gem in hand. When faceting colored gemstones particular attention must be given to how light reflection will affect the gemstones apparent color.

Face Up – Describes the viewing position of a fem as seen when looking at it perpendicular to the table facet. A gemstone that faces up well is excellent in appearance in relation to its color or clarity grades.

Fancy Color Diamond – A diamond that exhibits a strong color, such as yellow, as opposed to an off colored white diamond. Fancy colored diamonds can be very expensive and are often highly prized by collectors. Fancy colored diamonds have been found in many colors of the spectrum.

Fancy Cut – A gemstone cut into a shape other than round. Fancy cuts include princess, pear, marquise, oval, baguette, emerald, heart, trillion, and less common but very unique shapes such as stars.

Fancy Diamond – A diamond with an attractive natural body color other than light yellow or light brown.

Feather – A separation or break dueto either cleavage or fracture, often white and feathery in appearance.

Filigree – Openwork, pierced design, generally delicate in nature and fine in construction. A technique used to produce fine intricate patterns in metal like twisted wire often bent into rosettes, spirals, and vines. Often used for metal beads, clasps, and bead caps.

Finding – Jewelry parts such as clasps, settings, and others used in the manufacturing or repair of jewelry.

Four (4) C’s – An abbreviation used to describe the Color, Clarity, Carat, and Cut of a gemstone as defined by the G.I.A. which created a diamond grading system using the Four (4) C’s.

G.I.A. – The Gemological Institute of America. G.I.A. is a highly respected, not for profit organization, devoted to the promotion of education and ethics within the jewelry industry. G.I.A. also has a laboratory used to grade and identify gemstones.

Girdle – The outer edge or the widest part of the diamond forming a band around the stone.

Gold Plated – A thin layer of electroplated gold on a base metal. All gold plated items are not plated with fine gold; some are only plated gold in color. A marking of 14K H.G.E. or 18K H.G.E. (Heavy Gold Electroplate) for example would indicate that some amount of fine gold was actually used.

Head – A finding, typically the prong portion of a ring that holds a gemstone.

Heart – The name says it all. The shape of love.

Hand Made – Created completely by hand. Not assembled from parts or made in a die or mold.

High Polish – A finish achieved by buffing the surface of metal so it shines brightly, often with a mirror-like finish.

Ideal Cut – A set of proportions used when cutting a round diamond, created by a man named Tolkowsky, believed by many yield the best balance of fire and brilliance.

Illusion Setting – A setting used to make a diamond appear larger than they are.

Inclusion – Imperfection internal to the diamond.

Invisible Setting – Gemstones set next to each other, usually in multiple rows, with no metal between them, giving the appearance that they are set invisibly (without prongs, beads, or channels). The stones actually have tiny grooves sawn on the bottom of them so they interlock or are held in place with wires like a puzzle.

Karat – A unit of measure of gold content. Pure gold is twenty-four (24) karat and one (1) karat is equal to 1/24 part pure gold in an alloy. (fourteen karat (14kt.) Gold is fourteen (14) parts gold and eight (8) parts other metal). 24K gold is 100% pure, 18K gold is 75% pure, and 14K gold is 58.5% pure.

Lasering – The used of a laser to remove inclusions from inside a gem by “drilling” or burning a fine hole to the depth of the inclusion. In some cases the inclusion is evaporated and in others it may be bleached out.

Marquise – A gemstone shape pointed at both ends and oval shaped in the center.

Melee (mel ee) – Diamonds up to .20 carats in size.

Milgrain – A raised, beaded edge on a ring done with a special engraver’s tool.

Old European Cut – A round cutting style, the forerunner of the modern Brilliant Cut. An old European cut, round gemstone is rounder in outline than an Old Mine Cut, but a large cutlet, small table, and high crown distinguish this cut from a modern cut.

Old Mine Cut – Commonly called Old Miners, the Old Mine Cut has a large cutlet, a high crown, a small table, and is somewhat square, with rounded corners, in outline. This cutting style emerged after the industrial revolution and yielded more brilliance and fire than was previously possible to achieve in diamond cutting. The small table and large crown facets produce more dispersion of white light coming out of a diamond, resulting in many colors or the rainbow being seen.

Oval Cut – A gemstone in the shape of an oval, faceted similar to a round brilliant cut.

Pave’ (pah-VAY) Very tightly set stones, as in a pavement; a gem setting technique in which the stones are set low and very closely spaced, so that the surface appears to be paved with gemstones. Most commonly seen with diamonds, but may be used with any stone.

Pavilion Height – The distance from the girdle to the bottom (cutlet) of a diamond.

Pear Shape – A gemstone shape rounded at one end and pointed at the other. The facet arrangements are similar to those of the round brilliant cut.

Period Jewelry – Articles of jewelry that exemplify the design style of the times in which they were created. Examples of well known periods are Victorian, Edwardian, and Art Deco.

Princess Cut – A square cut, which is facetted similar to an Emerald Cut above the girdle and facetted like a Round Brilliant Cut below the girdle.

Pronged – Stones set with individual prongs holding them in place.

Prongs – Small fingers of metal that hold a stone in place.

Rose Cut – A method of cutting a gemstone in which the bottom of the stone is flat and the top is faceted. The rose cut was phased out as more modern cutting techniques evolved during the industrial revolution. Rose cut gemstones give a jeweler or an appraiser clues as to the age of a piece of jewelry.

Rough Girdle – A grainy or pitted girdle surface, often with nicks.

Round Brilliant Cut – The most common cut containing fifty-eight (58) facets. Also the most brilliant cut, in terms of most efficient use of light to increase brilliance and fire, hence the name.

Saturation – A color’s position on a neutral to vivid scale.

Semi – Mounting/Semi – Mount – A setting, already embellished with diamonds, gemstones or engraving, that awaits a center diamond. A diamond that is most complimented by the design of the semi – mount is then secured in the head of the ring.

Shank – The bottom of a ring set with gemstones into which you insert your finger. The shank is the part of the ring which is cut when sized and can be replaced when worn thin.

Single Cut – A cutting style for a round gemstone with eighteen (18) facets: eight (8) crown, eight (8) pavilion, a table, and a cutlet which is sometimes omitted. Single cut diamonds are common in sizes up to about ten (10) points.

Tapered Baguette – A baguette in which the two (2) short edges are unequal in length causing the longer sides to taper in towards the short edge. Tapered baguettes are very popular as accents in the settings of engagement rings.

Tiffany Setting – A solitaire style setting, usually a ring, with a four (4) or six (6) prong head or setting.

Treated Diamonds – A diamond with a body color induced by some form of artificial irradiation, often in conjunction with controlled heating (known as annealing).

Trillion – A triangular shaped gemstone. The three (3) sides of the triangle typically have a slight bow in them as opposed to straight edges.

Semi – Mounting/Semi – Mount – A setting, already embellished with diamonds, gemstones or engraving, that awaits a center diamond. A diamond that is most complimented by the design of the semi – mount is then secured in the head of the ring.