Diamond Education

Every engagement ring begins with a diamond selected for its uniqueness and quality. At Johnsen Diamond, we take pride in educating our customers and guiding them to choose a diamond that speaks to them. It is important for you, our valued customers to remember that no two diamonds are alike. Two diamonds may share the same characteristics, but their beauty and value may differ. The characteristics of a diamond are known as the 4Cs: Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight.

The color grade of a diamond ranges from D to Z.  D-E-F are colorless diamonds and are the rarest diamonds on the scale.  The value of a colorless diamond is much higher than diamonds that are below colorless.  If you wanted to buy a diamond that has the best bang for the buck we would recommend a diamond that is color G,H, or I graded by GIA.  These diamonds appear to be colorless once they are set in a mounting.  Their price is much more affordable and the difference to the naked eye is most likely very minimal.  Color can have the biggest determinant in price with least noticeable difference. Once the diamond color reaches the faint yellow K to Z the value of the diamond falls drastically as well as its beauty.  Color is graded by human opinion and often is over graded to make the diamond appear more valuable on paper.  This is often done by third party companies that are much more lenient in their color grading guidelines than GIA.  We believe GIA is the most reputable diamond grading company and the only one we recommend.  Diamonds that have a fancy color are not part of the diamond color scale.  These diamonds have different guidelines than the D to Z scale. 


The clarity of a diamond refers to the inclusions and blemishes of a diamond. In almost all diamonds you will find internal and external characteristics - most are not noticeable to the naked eye. The clarity of a diamond is determined by a scale ranging from Flawless to Included. The greater the inclusions and blemishes of a diamond the lower the clarity grade. Always remember no two diamonds are alike.  This can be illustrated by comparing two diamonds of equal characteristics from a grading report.  Let’s say you have these two diamonds in front of you and they both have the same color, clarity, carat and cut.  Many people would believe they should have the same price too.  This is a common misconception and can be demonstrated as follows.  One diamond has a small inclusion on the edge of the girdle that when it is set can be covered by a prong and make the diamond appear to have no inclusions and the other diamond has an inclusion directly in the center of the diamond that is a dark gray color.  It is easily noticed once it is pointed out.  Which of these two diamonds would you rather have?  If given the choice most people would pick the diamond with the inclusion on the side.  This diamond will be preferred and carry a premium in price over the diamond with the inclusion in the center.  Therefore, you can have two diamonds with similar characteristics on paper have completely different values.  If you didn’t know this and you were trying to get a great price on a diamond you may end up looking all over the internet and stop in all the stores looking for the lowest priced diamond you can find with the same characteristics. What you end up buying is the least valuable diamond with those characteristics on a grading report.  When buying a diamond, you get what you pay for or less.  You will never get more than you paid for.  Diamonds hold a value and although some retailers make more profit than others no one will ever lose money selling a diamond.    

Diamond cut is most commonly known by shapes such as round, oval, pear, and emerald. However, the characteristics of the cut that determine a diamond's beauty are proportion, symmetry and polish. Most diamonds are cut by a master diamond cutter and are cut by hand on a diamond wheel.  For many years the primary job of a diamond cutter was to maximize the overall yield or value they could produce from the rough to the finished cut of the diamond.  More often than not the finished diamond cut would be of poor proportions and the brilliance would be unattractive.  A diamond that should have been cut into a beautiful 1.50ct may have been cut into a shallow or deep 2.00ct diamond.  The diamond seller would then try to get a premium in price by selling it at the 2.00ct price.  The end consumer would then have bought a 2.00ct diamond that has no brilliance and be taken in terms of value for what they paid for the diamond.  In 2005 GIA put an end to this way of doing business by creating and overall cut grade for round diamonds.  If a diamond is cut up to GIA’s guidelines it will get a cut grade from Excellent to Poor.  The best cut grade you can get from GIA would be what we call a Triple-Ex.  This is when a diamond has an Excellent Cut, Excellent Polish and Excellent Symmetry.  These diamonds carry a premium of 10-15% higher than Good to Very Good Cut diamonds. Unfortunately, there is no cut grade for other shape diamonds although GIA does grade their polish and symmetry.  


Carat Weight
A diamond’s size is determined by its weight and defined as a "carat". A carat equals 100 points also known as 1/5 of a gram. Diamonds higher in carat weight are more valuable because they are less common. However, diamonds of equal carat weight can vary tremendously in value based on additional factors such as their cut, clarity, and color.  Diamond value increases exponentially as the carat weight increases.  For instance, a diamond of certain characteristics that weighs 1.00ct with a value of $5000 would not be $10,000 in a 2.00ct version.  A 2.00ct would be much more valuable.