The GIA is the Gemological Institute of America. They are a not-for-profit institute dedicated to research and protecting everyone from consumers to retailers. The GIA provides education, funding for research and provides grading services.

The average person cannot look at a diamond and be able to determine its quality. A diamond certificate will spell out the characteristics of the diamond and give an average price for similar diamonds on the market. Without the certification, most people will not truly know what qualities the diamond posses and may be fooled by an unreputable seller.

A certified diamond is one that has been evaluated by an independent 3rd party. This evaluation will determine all of the specifics of the diamond and verify its authenticity.

The shape of the diamond can change the price, but it is a small percentage compared to other factors. The cut is much more important than the shape. It is the cut, and not necessarily the shape that gives the diamond its sparkle and fire.

Clarity is a measure of how pure the diamond is. An impure diamond can have bits of other minerals inside or on the diamond. These imperfections will interrupt light flow inside the diamond and will take away from its appearance.

A perfectly clear and well cut diamond will separate out the colors so that you see sparks of different colors coming from inside. If the diamond is colored, that will reduce the range of color you can see in the diamond and possibly dull the colors you can see.

Diamonds have a crystalline structure that bounces light around at a specific angle. If the cut is too shallow or deep, the light will bounce out of the side or bottom of the diamond producing a dull appearance. If it is cut correctly, the light will bounce out of the top of the diamond. This will give the diamond its brilliance, fire and sparkle.

Shape is the form a diamond is cut to. Cut is all about the symmetry of the facets and the angles at which they meet. Some common shapes are round, emerald, oval, princess, heart and pear.

Carat is a measure of weight. The carat measurement takes only weight into account. The volume does not matter. The higher the carat, the higher the weight and the more value the diamond has.

The value of a diamond is determined by the 4 C’s:  Clarity, Color, Carat and Cut.