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Diamond Education

Selecting the Right Diamond

For most, buying a diamond is a new experience, but that does not mean it needs to be difficult. Understanding a diamond’s quality and characteristics is straightforward and simple.

At House Of Brilliance we make it easy to understand a diamond’s characteristics and how they effect it’s appearance and value.

Step 1- Choose a Shape

Different people are attracted to different shapes. This quick guide will help you to learn the difference between the diamond shapes.

- This is by far the most popular shape of diamond and has been around for hundreds of years. Diamond cutters have been working with this shape longer than any other making it the maximum brilliance and shine that can be obtained in your diamond. When it comes to balancing the grades for clarity, color, and cut, this shape offers flexibility but will retain its brilliance and shine you are looking for.


Marquise- If you want a diamond that looks larger then its carat weight, this is the ideal shape for you. This stone is often used with other shapes such as a pear or teardrop. If you wear a marquise diamond in a ring, the length will create a graceful slender look on the finger. For the most traditional marquise cut, look for length to width ratios between 1.75 and 2.25. Length/Width = length to width ratio.

Emerald- The striking feature of these diamonds is their pavilion(make link to definition), which is cut with rectangular facets to create beautiful lines and clear visibility into the diamond. Due to this, you might prefer to search for a VS clarity diamond or better to avoid visiblity of the imperfections to the naked eye. The rectangular shape of these diamonds can vary greatly. For the traditional looking emerald cut, look for a length to width ratio between 1.3 and 1.50. Length/Width = length to width ratio.

Radiant- Radiant diamonds are unique. What makes them so are the corners that are trimmed with utmost care and perfection. The cut is also one of the reasons why this diamond is used alongside number of shapes and in making exquisite jewelry pieces. Even when this diamond is set with round or baguette, it will make a striking appearance and give a new look to the jewelry item. The traditional look for these diamonds are off square or rectangle. Look for length to width ratio between 1.10 and 1.35. For a square radiant cut, look for length to width ratio between 1 and 1.05. Length/Width = length to width ratio.

Pear- If you have seen the shape of a teardrop, you would be able to get an idea about this particular shape of diamond with its single point and round end. The overall look of this diamond is unique and thus it is used in a variety of jewelry designs. If you wear an elongated pear shaped diamond in your ring, it will create a graceful slender look on the finger. For a traditional look in a pear shape, look for length to width ratio between 1.45 and 1.75. Length/Width = length to width ratio.

Princess- One of the most popular diamonds outside of a round diamond is the princess cut. With their pointed corners and sharp lines, they stand out from the crowd and look elegant due to their cut and brilliance. For a traditional look in a princess cut, look for length to width ratio between 1 and 1.05. Length/Width = length to width ratio.

Oval-Just like round diamonds, oval diamonds have a brilliance that the onlooker would fall for. Oval diamonds are quite popular for their larger look and soft rounded shoulders. For the most traditional oval, look for length to width ratios between 1.30 and 1.60. Length/Width = length to width ratio.

Heart- The shape that represents the physical embodiment of love, the heart shaped diamond is unique and one of the most distinctive of all the shapes. For the most traditional heart, look for length to width ratios of 0.90 and 1.10. Length/Width = length to width ratio.

Asscher- With the same facet style of the emerald cut, this royal looking diamond is both elegant and unique. Like the emerald cut, the clear and beautiful lines of the asscher diamond make it very sensitive to imperfection visibility. When choosing this diamond, you might consider a VS diamond to avoid visibility of any imperfections. For the most traditional asscher, look for length to width ratios of 1.0 and 1.05. Length/Width = length to width ratio.

Cushion- This antique cut diamond has been reinvented with modern methods of cutting making it one of the most popular cut diamonds outside the round diamond. The cushion diamond is know for their “pillow cut” likeness. For the square cushion, look for ratios of 1.0 and 1.05. For a more off square shape, look for ratios of 1.15 and 1.30. Length/Width = length to width ratio.

Step 2- The "4 C's"

The quality of a House Of Brilliance diamond is evaluated using 4 primary characteristics known as the 4C’S – cut, color, clarity and carat. There is a wide range of diamond sizes and qualities available within any given budget. By following the industry’s tried and true tested guidlines below, it will help you in choosing the diamond that is right for you.


- The cut of a diamond determines its brilliance and sparkle. Cut is considered to be the most important of all of the diamond characteristics as it is what determines the overall beauty and life of a diamond. Diamonds with perfect clarity or color but which are badly cut can appear dull and lifeless, but the best cut diamonds have proportions that are consistently known for maximizing brilliance and overall beauty.


- The color of a diamond results from natural elements of nitrogen that existed when the diamond formed under the Earth. Most diamonds naturally show a degree of yellow, brown, green or grey. The most common color and hue is yellow. The amount of yellow hue is graded according to a scale which ranks the lack of color with the highest letter grade which ranges from D (colorless) to Z (heavy yellow). Diamonds whose color is beyond Z are denoted as “fancy color" diamonds and are graded using their own scale and terminology. The less color that appears in a diamond, the more rare it is, and therefor the higher the value.


- The clarity of a diamond is measured by the number of internal characteristics called imperfections and external characteristics called blemishes. The number, size, nature, and position of these characteristics all affect the final clarity grade of a diamond. Although no diamond is perfectly pure, diamonds with no or few inclusions are very rare and much higher in value.

The diamond grading scale is made of 6 categories, some of which are divided, for a total of 11 categories. All diamond clarity grading is determined using a 10X magnification.

1) Flawless (FL)

No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification

2) Internally Flawless (IF)

No inclusions visible under 10x magnification

3) Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2)

Inclusions so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification

4) Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2)

Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterized as minor

5) Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2)

Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification

6) Included (I1, I2, and I3)

Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance


- The term "carat" refers to the weight of a diamond. Just like there are 100 pennies in a dollar, the same calculation holds true with the weight of a diamond. 100 points equals 1 carat. Hence, 50 points is equal to 1/2 a carat and so on. The value of a diamond rises exponentially because larger diamonds are more rare and more desirable.

Step 3- Other Characteristics





Step 4- Diamonds Certification

House Of Brilliance diamonds are certified by the leading laboratories in the world including GIA, AGS, IGI, EGL USA, and HRD. These independent labs of trained gemologists provide a professional opinion that substantiates the price of a diamond. Diamond dealers very often conduct business sight unseen through these diamond grading reports. If you are interested in a House Of Brilliance diamond, you can view its certificate on our site before purchase. If you cannot view the cert on our site, simply contact a diamond and jewelry consultant at or 800-755-6627.