The Diamond Buying Guide

How to Buy a Diamond

Every diamond is unique. Each reflects the story of its arduous journey from deep inside the earth to a cherished object of adornment. Yet all diamonds share certain features that allow us to compare and evaluate them. These features are called the 4C's. GIA (Gemological Institute of America) developed the 4C's and the International Diamond Grading System used standard around the world. Buying a diamond is a momentous decision that we at ALANA want to make easier by empowering you with knowledge about diamond characteristics.

Diamond Cut

Simply put, the cut has the greatest influence on a diamond's appearance. A diamond's cut grading measures the light performance. The correct proportions will return light to the top of the diamond creating sparkle. A well cut, well proportioned stone will evenly reflect and refract light within the stone, thereby producing an eye-catching, fiery spectrum of color. On the other hand, a poorly cut diamond allows more light to pass through or 'leak' from the sides of the stone, which results in a lifeless appearance with reduced sparkle.

Diamond Color

As most diamonds manifest a pale yellow color, a diamond's color grade is measured in its lack of color. Discerning the subtle differences between sequential color grades can be almost impossible with the naked eye. For this reason, a letter scale, such as the GIA professional color scale with ranges from D to Z, was created to assist in distinguishing a diamond's color grade.


Clarity describes the presence of visible minerals, inclusions, both on and within a diamond. Most imperfections are microscopic minerals that are included inside the diamond during the forming process known as crystallization.


The carat is a unit of measurement of a diamond's weight and may not actually reflect the diamond size. Diamonds and other gemstones are weighed in metric carats: one carat is equal to 0.2 grams, about the same weight as a paperclip. (Don't confuse carat with karat, as in "18K gold", which refers to gold purity.)


Diamonds are cut into many number of shapes, each one with its own attributes, but the overall measure of its beauty is in the eye of its beholder.


Diamonds in the D-to-Z range usually decrease in value as the color becomes more obvious. Just the opposite happens with fancy color diamonds, their value generally increases with the strength and purity of the color.

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