Diamond Buying Guide
Our diamond quality guide explores how to assess diamond grades according to the industry standards for cut, clarity, color, and carat.
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Diamond Ratings And Grades

Diamond Certification

Trained gemologists with specialized equipment measure the weight and dimensions of the diamond and assess quality characteristics such as cut, color, and clarity.

Brilliant Earth diamonds are independently verified for quality characteristics and origin. A diamond certificate or grading report provides an expert opinion on the quality of the diamond and is provided by an independent gemology lab.

Brilliant Earth diamonds are certified by the world’s leading gem grading labs including GIA, IGI, HRD, and GCAL. Please contact us to request an electronic copy of a diamond's lab certificate.

What Factors Determine a Diamond's Quality?

Like snowflakes, no two diamonds are identical. Each has its own set of unique characteristics that professional cutters strive to draw out, maximizing the beauty of the stone.

Each gem is held to a set of standards for cut, color, clarity, and carat– commonly referred to as the 4 Cs– that interact to determine the overall rating and diamond quality.

The cut, color rating, clarity grade, and carat weight can help determine diamond quality, but there’s no “right answer” to how a diamond should look. Many people in the market for a breathtaking piece of jewelry are more than willing to prioritize one factor in favor of another.

How are Diamond Ratings and Grades Determined?

The Gemological Institute of America is the world leader in unbiased gem rating and grading.

They set the industry standard for diamond quality, creating a scale for cut, color, clarity grade, and carat to act as a diamond quality guide for jewelers and appraisers.

Beyond Conflict Free™ Diamonds

At Brilliant Earth, we go above and beyond the industry standards to offer Beyond Conflict Free™ Diamonds selected for their ethical and environmentally responsible origins.
Learn more about how we go beyond.

1. Diamond Cut

Cut refers to the facets, symmetry, and reflective qualities of a diamond. The cut of a diamond is directly related to its overall sparkle and beauty.

2. Diamond Color

Color refers to the natural color or lack of color visible within a diamond, based on the GIA grade scale. Brilliant Earth carries only diamonds within the “colorless” and “near-colorless” range. The closer a diamond is to “colorless,” the rarer it is in value.

3. Diamond Clarity

Clarity is determined by the visibility of natural microscopic inclusions and imperfections within a diamond. Diamonds with little to no inclusions are considered particularly rare and highly valued.

4. Diamond Carat

Carat is the unit of measurement used to describe the weight of a diamond. It is often the most visually apparent factor when comparing diamonds.

What Is Diamond Shape?

Diamond shape refers to the external geometric appearance of a diamond. Learn about round brilliant and fancy shaped diamonds, and discover which diamond shape suits your individual style preferences.

What Are Natural Diamonds?

Billions of years ago, deep below the earth's surface, pockets of carbon atoms compressed into a cubic crystalline structure. This structure bonds each atom to four others, or tetrahedrally, creating the hardest and most conductive of all known natural materials.

Diamond formation requires an unfathomable amount of pressure and heat. As far as scientists know, these conditions only exist 100 miles below the earth, where 725,000 pounds per square inch of pressure and 2500 degree Fahrenheit temperatures provide the ideal environment for carbon atom compression.

Once formed, these diamonds traveled through molten rock that erupted during volcanic activity, depositing the precious stone close to the earth's surface.

The countries of Botswana and South Africa are leading producers of diamonds, but mines exist in several countries worldwide.

How Are Natural Diamonds Different Than Lab Grown Diamonds?

The key difference between natural diamonds and lab grown diamonds is their origins and price.

There is virtually no difference between natural diamonds and lab grown diamonds to the naked eye. Still, there is a significant price reduction because they are not as rare as natural diamonds. That means couples can find stunning lab grown stones in sizes that might otherwise be out of budget.

Natural diamonds are created when carbon atoms are compressed in the right temperature and pressure conditions deep within the earth’s mantle. Lab grown diamonds recreate these conditions using high-tech equipment under the supervision of experts.

Lab-grown diamonds are virtually indistinguishable from natural diamonds, as they have the same atomic composition and structure. Both consist of carbon arranged in the same tetrahedral pattern.

Diamond Ratings FAQs

The best diamond ratings are subjective to the person wearing the piece of jewelry. For example, while a diamond rating chart might rank a J-grade color diamond as less valuable than a D-grade, some find that they prefer the hint of color.

Diamonds are graded on their cut, clarity, and color. Cut is graded based on a 6-step scale from Ideal to Poor. The clarity is graded on a 10-step scale from Flawless to Inclusions 2. Color is graded on GIA’s D-to-Z system. The cut grade is the most important for overall beauty.

The 4 Cs of diamonds refer to characteristics that maximize the beauty of a diamond. The 4 Cs are cut, color, clarity, and carat.

A diamond certificate provides proof that a diamond was graded with an expert opinion on the quality of the diamond.

Yes, all Starfire diamonds are certified by the world’s leading gem grading labs including GIA, IGI, HRD, and GCAL.