How to Examine a Diamond

Whenever possible, you should look at a diamond just as a professional diamond buyer does: loose, with proper lighting conditions, and of course using the proper tools. When you’ve found the diamond that’s perfect for you, ask the associate to weigh it in front of you to know the exact carat weight of the diamond, as a point or two difference can significantly change the cost. The diamond quality is extremely important so we’ve listed the FAQs about how to examine a diamond below:

Does it make a difference if I examine a diamond mounted or unmounted?

“Mounting” refers to whether the diamond is set in the ring or loose.

A mounted diamond hides up to 25 percent of the diamond from your eye. So you should examine the diamond loose, using the proper lighting conditions, with the right microscopic tools to be able to see what's in a diamond.

Don’t simply concentrate on the top of the diamond. You need to look at the diamond layer by layer, and delve deep into the interior of that diamond, so you can identify where all of the characteristics are that make that diamond unique.

Should I ask the salesperson to clean the diamond before I view it?

When viewing diamonds, the diamonds should already be clean, and a professional jewelry salesperson should show you the diamond after having cleaned it. That said, it’s a safe precaution to always ask your jewelry professional to clean the diamond for you so you get the best view possible.

When I examine a diamond should I use my hands or tweezers?

When examining your diamond, it's recommended that you use diamond tweezers to be able to examine it. Avoid touching the diamond because the oils on your hands are easily transferred to that diamond, and it impairs the look of the diamond. There are special tweezers that every jewelry sales professional should have at your disposal.

Does it matter under what light I view a diamond?

Seeing thing in a different light is a good thing. In fact, when purchasing your diamond you should actually see it under several different light sources, and in a color grading tray. The first light to use is a laboratory light that bleaches out all color except for the actual color of your diamond. You should also view the diamond under natural conditions such as sunlight because that is how the diamond will be viewed for the rest of your life. Diamonds are often displayed under LED lights which direct colored light into the diamond and while looking beautiful will not accurately depict the diamond’s properties in real life. So go ahead and shed a little light on things and see what you are really getting.

Should I view a diamond under a microscope when shopping?

You should always view your diamond under 10x magnification, ideally under a gemscope, before making your decision. At the very least, you should use a ten power loop which is a small, hand-held device that's really a great tool in the hands of a trained gemologist. However, the pitfalls of the loop are that it doesn't have a light source, it's a little unsteady and it can be difficult to use.

Every reputable jeweler will recommend that you view the diamond under a stereo binocular microscope at ten power magnification. Stable light source, two eyes looking at the diamond also ensures true 3-dimensional viewing so you can study the depth of the diamond and every other characteristic available to you.

Why is 10x magnification the industry standard?

Ten times' magnification is the standard magnification in the industry as a result of the creation of the Clarity Rating Scale. This scale is the standard used throughout the diamond industry. Now, what does that mean? It means that a diamond that is graded as flawless, means that under 10x magnification there are no markings visible. However, because a diamond is a natural substance, if you crank that microscope up to 20x or 30x, you will be able to see markings - even in a flawless diamond. It’s all about the Clarity scale.

What should I focus on when looking at a diamond under magnification?

There are several things that you should want to focus on. The first and foremost, obviously, is the C of clarity. You want to look at what's in the diamond. Now, many people are under the impression that inclusions are a bad thing. That’s not necessarily true. At some point, when the inclusions are so minute that you can't see them with the naked eye, they become very valuable in identifying your diamond, because there are no two diamonds that have inclusions in exactly the same places.

The other things that you look for are abrasions on the surface, nicks or cavities or cracks that may affect the structural integrity of the diamond. Also be aware of markings that will affect the beauty and brilliance of it. For the most part though, magnification makes sure you're getting exactly what you're being told you're getting - and that the markings aren't so prevalent that they impact the beauty and brilliance of the diamond.