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Diamonds 101

An Insider’s Guide to Diamonds

There are diamonds and there are Schmitt diamonds. What do you deserve? The truth is, we love everything diamonds and we’re excited to share our expertise with you. For now, we’ll give you the highlights and explain some terminology. But, we’d love you to stop by so we can honestly convey everything we know and love about this extraordinary gem that literally took billions of years to create.

SHAPE makes a difference.

There are a multitude of diamond shapes. Round Brilliants are by far the most popular and yes, tend to be the most brilliant. But, we’re not partial to one over another. Quite frankly, we love them all. Any shape other than round is referred to as a fancy cut. Consider the benefits of each of these shapes when you’re choosing.


Round Brilliant

The most popular; cut for maximum brilliance.


Princess Cut

A popular fancy-cut; it has a great deal of sparkle.


Asscher Cut

Newly popular, oval is a modified brilliant-cut with similar fire; it’s elongated shape creates the illusion of greater size. 


Asscher Cut

A square cut with rounded corners, much like a pillow; arguably giving the most sparkle.


Asscher Cut

An elegant square shape with clipped corners that make diamonds appear octagonal.


Emerald Cut

Rectangular with parallel facets and clipped corners; produces a hall-of-mirrors effect.



An elongated shape with tapering points at both ends; flatters the finger.


Pear Cut

Teardrop-shaped, with a great deal of sparkle.


Radiant Cut

A combination of the emerald cut and the round brilliant; typically, with clipped corners.


Heart Cut

A sentimental cut that is sometimes hard to find.

Beyond the Four Cs.

Understanding the first four Cs is helpful when selecting a diamond, but it doesn’t make you an expert, and it won’t help you distinguish the difference between two diamonds of similar quality. That takes formal training. Many of us are graduates of the Gemological Institute of America. Consider us your Phoenix diamond experts—and the first place to consider when you’re looking for that important fifth C…Confidence.


It’s nearly everything.

What do we consider to be important? A diamond cut with the most exacting proportions for its shape. Think of it like this: The bottom of the diamond has facets, and those facets act like mirrors. When the facets are cut at the proper angle, light enters through the top of the diamond, bounces off the mirrors, and returns to your eye in a full spectrum of color. The opposite is true for a poorly cut diamond with incongruous proportions. It will allow light to escape out the bottom and sides, resulting in a dull, dark appearance. 

Angles allow the diamond to capture and reflect light or sparkle. For a brilliant diamond, with excellent polish and symmetry, let your diamond professionals at Schmitt Jewelers help you choose the best cut for the diamond shape of your choice. And finally, an exceptional cut will also increase your diamond’s value. We guess you can say, making it a cut above the rest.

diamond cut diagram


White diamonds are not all colorless. The spectrum ranges from light yellow to totally colorless. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) created a lettering system from D to Z, which is used to identify the amount of color present in each diamond with D awarded only to rare, totally colorless diamonds. Colorless diamonds however, can be graded D, E or F. A near colorless diamond can be rated G, H, I or J. Your value increases the more colorless your diamond actually is. 

Learn more about color.

Colorless Diamond
Near Colorless Diamond
Faint Yellow Diamond
Very Light Yellow Diamond
Light Yellow Diamond


Natural diamonds are formed by tremendous heat and pressure deep within the earth. This process can result in “inclusions” and “blemishes”. These are simply fancy words for imperfections. No diamond is perfect, that’s important to understand. However, the closer it comes to perfection, the higher the value. An inclusion is often difficult to see to the naked eye and seldom affects the beauty of the diamond. However, it does affect the price! See the complete GIA clarity scale here. 

Internally Flawless Diamond
Very Very Slight Inclusions Diamond
Very Slight Inclusions Diamond
Slight Inclusions Diamond
Imperfect Diamond


The size of the diamond typically plays an important part in your decision. To some, the size of the diamond may be the most important “C”. When you think about carat size, think of it as a dollar which can also be 100 pennies. A 50-point diamond weighs 0.50 carats. However, the weight can provide you a different value based on the other 3 C’s. It gets a little confusing. And, that’s why at Schmitt Jewelers we are ready to talk you through the process. A fraction of a carat can also mean a difference in cost, which is why this can play such an important part in your buying decision.