Diamond IQ test

You've got 10 right out of 12. Check answers # 5, 7, below.

You’re a diamond wizard and are ready to begin your shopping experience. Armed with this knowledge, you will ensure a beautiful, sparkly stone at the end of your search. Start your search with the Pricescope search engine.

Know you are looking for an exceptionally cut stone? Try the search by cut quality and start looking for those ideals and H&A’s today.

1. The most important thing in finding a sparkly diamond is color and clarity.

FALSE. The most important thing to a diamond's sparkle is the 4th C...CUT. The cut of a stone will ensure that the stone has a great balance of fire, scintillation and brilliance, which are all items that your eye perceives in 'motion' as sparkle. Many people tend to think that color and clarity have a large part to do with the diamond's sparkly look. In essence, color only makes the stone look colorful and clarity only makes the diamond look included. Only in very rare and extreme instances will a diamond's clarity have anything to do with sparkle, for example if a stone is so heavily included (I3 or similar) that it affects the way the diamond is able to return light. With stones in the typical clarity grades (IF-SI), clarity does not play a part in determining a diamond's sparkle. Cut is what makes the diamond look it’s best, sparkle it’s brightest and perform most effectively.
2. Diamonds sold on the internet are primarily rejects or stones that don’t meet the grade at your mall or local jeweler.

FALSE. In fact, the internet offers a way to widen your selection options. Online vendors tend to carry more inventory in well-cut stones, and this benefits you in spending less time searching. Many times the online vendors carry the same virtual inventory as an offline vendor can get access to, so in essence, you may be searching from a similar pool of stones. Also, there are internet stones that are branded and sold only by certain online vendors--stones that you cannot find elsewhere.
3. The best way to shop for diamonds is in a jewelry store with bright lighting.

FALSE. All diamonds, no matter how good, or how bad, look great under well designed jewellery shop lights. However, that is not how your stone will be viewed on a daily basis. Even a horribly cut stone will sparkle when put under many warm, bright lights. But a well-cut stone will sparkle regardless of the lighting situation...even in almost dark! Ask to take the stone out into natural lighting, or near a window. As you are getting serious about your diamond purchase, try to emulate lighting situations that your stone may be in (e.g. candlelight or low-light) so that you can get a real feel for what your diamond will look like when it's on your finger. Unless you plan to attach a pocket-light to your finger, your stone will not always look as it does in the typical jeweler lighting.
4. More facets on a diamond mean more sparkle.

FALSE. More facets on a diamond just mean more facets! Many companies have been cutting stones with more facets, and they tout those as better than the typical 57/58 faceted stone. That is not necessarily true. In the end, if your eye appreciates the look of the extra facets more than a regular diamond--then that may be the stone for you. But it's important to be educated about the extra facets and why they were placed there in the first place. People have noted that extra facet diamonds don't look like a 'real diamond', but that may just be a perception. The question I would ask yourself if considering a diamond with more facets is: why was this diamond cut with more facets when an experienced cutter could have cut a 57/58 diamond with excellent proportions and achieve the same look if not better? In the end only you can determine if an extra-faceted stone is right for you--but be sure that you know that you can get a 57/58 diamond that was excellently cut and have it look the same if not better than the branded, expensive extra-faceted stone.
5. Hearts and Arrows on a diamond mean excellent symmetry in the stone.

TRUE. Hearts and Arrows (H&A) represent excellent symmetry, but nothing in diamonds is perfect. There is no 'industry standard' when it comes to H&A stones, many people don't realize that anyone can call a stone H&A, put a label on it and sell it for more. What you should be looking for in an H&A stone are the H&A images to be very crisp and the H&A to be aligned without broken arrow heads or sloppy hearts. See below for a few images of H&A that are excellent vs those that are mediocre. One important thing to note is that almost any stone will exhibit some sight of Hearts and Arrows--even a non-well-cut stone. That is just the nature of a round brilliant cut. However, you are looking for excellence in those H&A images in order to be able to determine if the H&A branding is well-deserved. Be sure to not pay the markup for a sloppy H&A stone, you could most likely get an excellently cut H&A with that same money if you continue to look.
6. An AGS0 grade means that the diamond is an 'ideal' cut.

FALSE. An AGS0 grade means that the diamond scored 'Ideal' for Proportions, Polish & Symmetry. The AGS0 is a well intentioned attempt to help establish cut quality. However, not all are great stones. The tolerances used by the AGS are not as tight as those in the AGA (the first US diamond certificate with a cut grade) or other cut grading tools like HCA. AGS graded diamonds tend to be a little more expensive but are a good place to start. Be sure to take the numbers from the cert and run them through HCA; that way you will avoid most of the stones that do not perform as well with ideal-scope and brilliancescopes etc. There are some very nice looking diamonds, with unusual proportion combinations, that rate as low as AGS7. The GIA cut study survey has had favorable responses to diamonds rated as low as AGS10.
7. SI clarity does not guarantee that the stone will be eye-clean.

TRUE. An SI clarity does not guarantee anything. Each lab will determine it's own level of comforability with clarity grades. A GIA SI may not be the same as an EGL Israel SI. Also, grading is done from the top down, not from the sides or the bottom. Therefore, there may be an SI stone that has inclusions visible from the sides or from the bottom, but not from the top. That stone would be deserving of the SI grade, in that instance. If considering an SI stone for the purposes of maximizing your budget, confirm with your jeweler or vendor that the stone is eye-clean and if you are viewing the stone in person--confirm this yourself. The SI grade is a great way to get a slightly larger stone for less money as long as there are no inclusions visible to your naked eye. It's also important to note the types of inclusions visible in an SI grading. There may be wispy white inclusions that are only visible at certain angles of the stone, these may be acceptable to you. However, others may not like the appearance of black carbon inclusions, no matter how small, these tend to appear as specs of dirt in the stone.
8. An IF or FL clarity grading means that the diamond has perfect clarity.

FALSE. No diamond has perfect clarity, it's not the nature of a diamond to be absolutely perfect. IF or FL means only that there are no visible inclusions under 10x magnification. Bump that magnification up to 40x or 60x and you may very well see some small imperfections in the stone. However, all grading is done at 10x magnification, an important thing ot remember when thinking about clarity grading. Clarity grading can affect the price of your stone in a large way, determine what is most important to you before beginning your search.
9. Diamond grading reports are 100% accurate and eliminate the need of independent evaluation.

FALSE. Grading reports (typically issued by labs such as AGS, GIA, EGL, etc.) reflect the lab's opinion of how a stone should be graded. Such reports are subjective professional evaluations - similar to a doctor's diagnosis. That's why it's important to get an independent expert opinion of your stone. Think of it as a "second opinion" on your diamond.
10. All one-carat diamonds are going to be the same size.

FALSE. The average diameter of a well-cut 1 carat diamond should be around 6.5mm. Many times at a local store you may see a 1c stone, then see another stone on someone's hand and think that one looks larger than another. But how can they be, they are both the same size? In fact, the cut of the stone doesn't only have to do with the sparkle, but also to do with how the diamond appears in size. If a 1 carat stone has an average diameter of 6.4mm, that means that this stone will face up more as a .90c stone than a 1c stone. Be sure you are not paying the price for a 1c stone if you are only getting something that looks like a .90c stone. Sometimes the stone will also face up larger, in that a 1c stone may have a diameter of 6.6mm. This means the stone looks larger than 1c, more around 1.10c. This all has to do with the cut. In terms of a smaller-looking 1c stone, chances are the extra carat weight is hidden where you cannot see it, in the pavilion of the stone (bottom) or the girdle of the stone with a thick girdle. This is not desirable. Some would prefer more of the weight to be distributed up top in the diamter, with a more shallow pavilion. This would give you the bigger looking 1c stone. However, neither the smaller looking 1c or the larger looking 1c are going to be cut to the true 'ideal' proportions of a 1c. Depending on what your priorities are, more people looking for an excellently cut stone would lean towards finding a 1c with that 6.5mm average diameter and ensuring that all proportions are in matching order.
11. Buying from a Brick and Mortar jeweler is safer than buying online.

FALSE. Buying online is no more risky than buying offline. Offline with a local jeweler, you can view the stone and most likely also view the stone and inclusions under a 10x magnification loupe. Online, you do not have the luxury of viewing the stone in person, but many online vendors give you so many reports and pictures of the stone that it feels as though you are looking at the stone through virtual eyes. When shopping offline, one relies heavily on trust--you are trusting that jeweler to lead you in the right direction in order to make a sound purchase. However, online you must do most of the research yourself--this usually leads to a more educated purchase, one that most buyers feel more confident about than they could have imagined at the start of the shopping experience. However you buy, online or offline, be sure to educate yourself, request all the pictures and reports that you may need to satisfy your curiousity. A good online vendor will go that extra mile for you as the customer--ensuring that you are satisfied with your purchase. Many online vendors even have buyback policies, or lifetime trade-in policies, just as many offline jewelers do the same. Buying online is most likely cheaper than buying the same diamond offline because online vendors do not always have the same overhead that an offline jeweler does in terms of a local storefront. However you purchase, research the vendor or jeweler before giving them your money. And always ensure that you have a good return policy in case the independent.
12. There is no need to send a diamond with a grading report from a good lab to an independent appraiser.

FALSE. A grading report is subjective, as noted earlier. You should always have the stone double checked by an independent appraiser when you get it. An independent appraiser will be able to view the stone and run any reports that you request, as long as they have equipment. They will be able to confirm the size of the stone, color, clarity, locations of inclusions, the grading information and any other information that came with your stone. If they have a Sarin machine, they will be able to confirm the angles and additional specs on the stone. An IdealScope will show you the light return of the stone. A BrillianceScope (which only a few appraisers have) will show you how the stone will perform in various lighting circumstances. All in all, an independent appraisal is very important. Independent appraisers work for you--the customer. The average range of an independent appraisal can be around $100 per hour. One stone will most likely take around one hour of work.