Buying Guide

How to Buy a Diamond

Throughout history, the diamond has been an enduring symbol of the powerful bond of love. Its strength, brilliance and value are as unique as the individuals who wear them. A diamond's worth is evaluated on four levels. We call these criteria the 4 C's — cut, carat weight, color and clarity. But there are other considerations as well when buying a diamond, and Ross-Simons has put together this education section to help you understand the terminology and special considerations you need to make when selecting your perfect diamond.

Loose Diamonds


Selecting Your Diamond

Depending on your preference and your budget, the combination of the elements of the 4 C's, (as well as certification) is up to you. Is clarity more important than carat? Is carat more important than color? Only you can decide what combination makes up the perfect choice for your diamond jewelry.

Our Selecting an Engagement Ring Infographic also explains the 4C's in an easy to understand visual format.


The Diamond 4C's

Diamond Carat Weight — Carat weight is the standard measure of a diamond's weight. The larger the diamond, the more rare it is. A carat (equivalent to 200 milligrams) consists of 100 points. Therefore, a diamond of 75 points weighs .75 carats.

It is important to remember that two diamonds of equal carat weight may have dramatically different values, depending upon the stone's cut, clarity and color.

What is a diamond carat anyway? Learn more about the carob bean and how "magic sizes" can influence the price of your diamond.


Diamond Clarity — Most diamonds contain very tiny natural characteristics called "inclusions." The size, number, position, nature and color of these inclusions (as seen by the trained eye using 10 power magnification) will determine a stone's clarity grade. The smaller and less frequent the inclusions and surface blemishes, the more valuable and rare the gemstone.


FL : Internally Flawless FL  IF

VVS1 VVS22 : Very, Very Slight Inclusions VVS1  VVS22
Very, Very

VS1 VS22 : Very Slight Inclusions VS1  VS22

SI1 SI2 : Slight Inclusions SI1  SI2

I1 I2 I3 : Eye Visual Inclusions I1  I2  I3
Eye Visual


What is a blemish? How about an inclusion? Learn more about diamond clarity and how the GIA-grading system can help you choose the best diamond.


Diamond Color — In nature, diamonds are found with a wide array of color — from colorless, to faint yellow or even brown, to rare pinks, blues, greens and other colors known as "fancies." Selecting a diamond color is a matter of preference. Fancy yellow and pink diamonds make a creative and individual statement for an engagement ring. Most diamonds have at least a trace of yellow, brown or grey body color. In general, the more colorless a diamond, the greater its relative value. Diamonds that are graded D, E, and F are considered colorless. Diamonds graded G, H, and I are considered near-colorless. The color of your diamond will be reflected on your certificate.


Diamond Color D-F Colorless D–F

Diamond Color G-J Near Colorless G–J

Diamond Color K-M Slightly Tinted K–M

Diamond Color N-R Very Light Yellow or Brown N–R
Light Yellow
or Brown

Diamond Color S-Z Light Yellow or Brown S–Z
Light Yellow
or Brown


The color of a diamond can have a big impact on the price. Learn more about the color-grade rankings, fancies, and how to choose the best setting for your diamond jewelry.


Diamond Cuts — How a diamond is cut is extremely important. In fact, it might be the most significant factor of the 4 C's. The cut determines the diamond's reflective qualities and directly influences its value. A diamond's cut affects its brilliance. The better the cut, the brighter the diamond appears.

How light enters a diamond is demonstrated in the illustration (at right). When a diamond is well cut, light enters through the table, travels to the pavilion and reflects from side-to-side, then pours out so the eye can see its fiery brilliance. Poorly cut diamonds have less fire and brilliance, because light enters through the table, hits the facets and is ultimately lost out of the diamond's sides.

A diamond's cut is sometimes confused with its shape. Shape is the actual appearance of a diamond, like round, pear, princess, oval, emerald, etc.

Cut Too Shallow
Light escapes
through the bottom

Cut Too Deep
Light escapes
through the sides

Perfectly Cut
More light, more
brilliance on top


Learn more about diamond cuts and shapes, the elements that make up the cut of a diamond, how to choose the best shape, and much more.


Selecting the Ring and Proposing

So you've decided to pop the question. Congratulations! Now you have many things to think about including buying the perfect ring for your soon-to-be fiance and deciding how to propose. These decisions will be talked about for a lifetime, so here are some helpful articles on selecting the engagement ring and designing your proposal.


The Ross-Simons Tradition of Exceptional Quality, Selection and Service

At Ross-Simons we want you to treasure your diamond purchase for a lifetime. As a family owned jeweler for 65 years, we are a name that is recognized and respected nationwide for integrity, exquisite selection and exceptional value. Learn more about us.

Learn more about Diamond Jewelry at Ross-Simons


Diamond Jewelry Care & Handling

Many people think diamonds are indestructible, but they do require care. Diamonds are natural grease attractors, wash your diamond regularly with jewelry cleaner and dry it with a lint free cloth. For a diamond that is worn daily this should be done once per week.

Use brushes sparingly as they can damage the mounting. Chlorine can pit and dissolve gold alloys in your mounting. Do not wear your ring swimming in a pool or working with chlorine solutions. We recommend that you bring your diamond to your trusted jeweler for a periodic inspection and professional cleaning. This service is always free of charge if you purchase your diamond engagement ring at Ross-Simons.


Conflict Diamonds

As one of America's foremost fine jewelers, Ross-Simons shares the concern of all regarding conflict diamonds. Certainly, the hardships and military burdens faced by some of the poorest African countries require that we take the proper care when sourcing our diamonds. In that regard, we resolve that Ross-Simons will purchase diamonds only through legitimate dealers in open transactions. And in our continuing effort to provide customers with the highest quality diamonds, we will only source through legal and established diamond dealers.

Ross-Simons and its suppliers support the Kimberley Process. As part of the process, we buy diamonds from manufacturers who have documentation warranting that the merchandise was obtained through legitimate channels. Today, the US Customs Service is actively enforcing the Kimberley Process requirements as diamonds enter American ports.

Ross-Simons continues to support and promote the processes that uphold the legitimacy of our business in the diamond trade.