Morays Diamond Buyer Guide
Others will tell you to watch for Four Cs + One.
Morays suggests you look deeper.
The Four Cs of Diamond Hunting plus One: Color. Clarity. Cut. Carat. Plus Cost. Almost everyone talks about those. But who tells you more? Every one of Morays seven generations of fine Old World Guild jewelers and purveyors of collectible timepieces.
As you go through our guide, there is one disclaimer which keeps appearing. No, it isn’t an equivocation of facts found here. It is a truth about computers, computing and an invitation. No matter how good our photography, no matter how close the color calibration of your monitor, the ideal lighting in your room. There will always be variation and slight distortion on any computer or mobile screen.
We invite you, then, jewelry initiate of seventh generation Morays customer, to visit us in our downtown Miami heirloom location. Under no obligation, learn your Four + One Diamond Cs. Get to know Fancy Color Diamonds as they are meant to be appreciated; what their color undertones can look like and mean. Learn sizes, shapes, clarity, settings that enhance; settings that detract. Learn when a colorless stone holds more than one with fancy color.
Our goal is to make you an educated, discerning member of the Morays family. To make the first Morays Diamond or collectable timepiece you give, no matter the size, no matter the cost, as precious and valued as the last you give. As precious and valued as that one special piece you keep for yourself. All the expertise of Morays clientele and staff grew from education, experience and working with the world’s most respected designers. For those at the beginning of your journey for the most appreciated, gifted and yes, adorned, coveted, collected. For those who consider Morays a second home.
Please enjoy and profit from this factual and unbiased introductory guide to the art and science of purchasing a Morays Diamond. Those most glittering of light, color and Mother Nature. As well as what is perhaps the world’s most misrepresented, inflated and what is perhaps the world’s most misrepresented, inflated and even regretted stones.
The Color of Diamonds
You think you know what’s outside.
Morays will show you what’s in.
Except for very Fancy Color Diamonds (Fancy Pink, Fancy Blue and Fancy Yellow), diamond colors are valued by what you can’t see. Not by what you can. The more “colorless” they appear, the more valuable they actually are.
Many color grades and degrees of perfection exist within the average “white” or “colorless” diamond. Jewelers use a letter scale (Morays uses the GIA scale, from the Gemology Institute of America), from D, which classifies a diamond colorless, to Z, which indicates increasing color in the diamond, color possibly even visible to the naked eye.
So important is color to your diamond’s value, Morays is both highly skilled and extremely careful color grading stones. Because of variations in the stones themselves, in their light intensity, the room’s light color and type, all Morays Diamond grading is done under highly controlled circumstances. We rely upon industry-standard color comparisons, equipment and our only highly skilled powers of observation certified by GIA.
D through J: do you know your color-coded alphabet?
Forget your As and Bs. Diamond Color starts with D, a stone of little hue but much fire, rarity and intensity. This GIA color grading continues to J and beyond, where color is especially noticeable even in smaller stones.
Don’t be fooled by the latest mall “rare diamond” color find. Chocolate (or brown) diamonds are not considered among the finer Fancy Color Diamonds and are, in fact, less valuable than traditional Fancy Color or “colorless” stones.
Fire, Ice and – alphabet?
Clear, “colorless” diamonds diffuse light much like a prism, dividing it into various aspects of color and bright light. This diffused light, the diamond’s “fire,” diminishes as the depth and strength of the stone’s color increases.
Colorless diamonds are graded D, E, F and are considered the most rare and expensive of stones.
Other GIA “letter grades” include: G & H: Near colorless, containing so little color it is barely seen by even the educated naked eye.
I & J: Although these stones may have a slight color discernible by the naked eye, I & J diamonds are considered near colorless.
J & Beyond: From here down the Diamond Color Alphabet, color is noticeable, especially in smaller stones. Included Stones: Morays does not recommend these diamonds as inclusions (color and other imperfections) are visible to the naked eye, greatly limiting their beauty and heirloom quality.
More to help you appreciate your Morays Diamond Education
AGS Grading System
GIA Grading System
Sample GIA Certificate
Sample AGS Certificate
Sample EGL Certificate
*Disclaimer: Because of the variations in computer, mobile and tablet screens and their color calibrations, we invite you to visit us here at Morays to study these charts or compare real stones. While we have endeavored to make these as correct as possible, at the store we can teach you the more subtle differences on professionally color-corrected, ideal lighting.
As always, there is no charge for your Morays education. It is our way of continuing our Old World heritage of training in the service of our customers.
Fancy Color Diamonds?*
Fancy Color Diamonds are valued under the same traditional “Four C + One” mantle. Color. Cut. Clarity. Carat Weight. But that first “C” – Color with the capital C – changes the way your jeweler should (and should teach you) to evaluate the Fancy Color Diamond.
First, consider the stone’s true hue:
*Be sure to familiarize yourself with the Morays Diamond Buyers’ Guide dealing with Fancy Color Diamond Cuts and Shapes, Contemporary and Antique Cuts and Shapes, artificial devices, unscrupulous tricks and treatments at the end of this guide.
The Four Cs of Fancy Color Diamonds
As with all diamonds, the basic “Four + One C” will help explain how rare and expensive a stone will be. All else being equal, a fancy light pink diamond (see charts), lovely as it may be, will be less valuable than a vivid pink (again, see charts and info from GIA).
GIA, the Gemology Institute of America) uses nine categories to grade Fancy Color Diamonds, each with its own saturation scale:
- Very Light
- Fancy Light
- Fancy Dark
- Fancy Intense
- Fancy Deep
- Fancy Vivid
In addition, GIA also recognizes secondary undertones which can enhance or deter from the value of a Fancy Color Diamond (example: a purplish-pink diamond can be more valuable than a diamond showing only pink, depending upon the intensity of its purple.
A secondary color (purple, pink or other) which detracts from the pure Fancy Color lessens its value instead of adding to it.
Fancy Color Diamonds you may prefer to view with a Morays Professional
As with many of the color illustration in this Morays Diamond Buying Guide and throughout Morays (or any other site where color is important), you may find these more easily compared in our perfectly lighted viewing areas. Again, the variation in computer screens and color settings, internet quality, etc., may give a less clear difference than the Moray’s in store educational experience.
A Clarification about Clarity
Failing perfection, Flaws may hold considerable virtue
As in life, nothing holds so dear as the illusion of Perfection. But as in life, it is rare, indeed, a Diamond of such perfection as to be completely, telescopically and scientifically flawless appears.
Born under immense pressure and high temperatures, diamonds bond into stones of unparalleled strength and beauty. Yet as with all Mother Nature’s bounty, nothing – no rock, no tree, no flower, no diamond – is ever without a flaw.
In diamonds, trace minerals trapped during crystallization, carbon spots, pinpoints, clouds, crystals, even feathers and microscopic animals are all part of the process. While some may deter from a stone’s perfection, much of these contribute to each diamond’s unique beauty and true value.
We have endeavored to make The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) ratings easily understood here. But to be seen more easily, recognized more easily in the future, consider an education visit to Morays.
AS CLEAR AS WE CAN MAKE IT
Obviously, so little in life is perfect, one must be extremely careful when seeking “perfection” in a Diamond. Instead, please follow the classifications below. Although they begin with “flawless,” seemingly as Perfect, GIA focuses more realistically on flaws, blemishes and occlusions which are easily visible to the naked eye or under the (scientifically) more accurate, but far from every-detailed-clarified, 10X Magnification Jewelers instruments.
Please also note we are discussing two types of diamond impurities, Inclusions and Blemishes, as well as one very powerful way to ensure you always see in your Morays diamond what you are meant to see: The Truth.
Inclusions are found inside the diamond, made up of tiny white, black or other color spots, large or small cracks, colored/uncolored crystals. Depending upon their sizes, amounts, colors, placement, etc.,an inclusion can actually enhance a diamond’s value.
Blemishes, however, flaw a diamond’s outer surface, showing nicks, scratches, natural leftovers and other signs of the rough, uncut and unpolished diamond your jeweler may stay with.
Flawless (FL) diamonds have no inclusions or blemishes visible to the naked eye.
Internally Flawless (IF) diamonds have no inclusions, only surface blemishes, imperfections are visible.
Included (I1, I2, I3) These stones have inclusions easily visible to the naked eye. Thus Morays does not recommend or trade in these stones.
Slightly Included (SI1and SI2) have inclusions noticeable under 10X Magnification which may be visible to the naked eye.
Very Slightly included (VS1 and VS2) have visible inclusions considered minor.
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) have inclusions which are difficult to see, even under the 10X Magnification system.
Never cut your diamond short.
It’s the cut – not the shape – that makes the sizzle.
It’s the shape – not the cut – that makes the statement.
Although many consider the shape in which your stone is cut testament to its many points of light, surface, finish and symmetry, it is actually the cut of your diamond with its number, size and placement of facet proportions which add profoundly to the over all brilliance and appearance of your stone.
Part of your diamond’s value lies in the quality of these factors, as enhanced by both the quality of the original stone and the skill with which these three factors are enhanced in its cut. The cut, with all its light reflecting facet proportions on your diamond’s surface, most obviously adds to the sparkle most diamond lovers seek.
Not to be overlooked, however, are three more considerations which help determine how your diamond arrives at its final conclusion (and value): how it is cut.
Four more ways to consider your diamond
- Brilliance – the total light reflected by a diamond’s cut and clarity
- Fire – the way a diamond’s reflected light fires up and releases its color spectrum
- Scintillation – move your diamond, watch the flashes of light, color, sparkle.
- Cut, proportions, symmetry and polish – all add up to the rarity and value of your stone. Its recipient may be thinking brilliance, but don’t forget fire, scintillation and brilliance may be what you intended to look for. But it the cut, proportions, symmetry and polish which catch the eye (second only to size).
Look at your diamond from the side. A Morays Diamond will have none of these important components missing or compromised:
- Crown: Top of Stone
- Girdle: Separates top of stone from its bottom
- Pavillion: Bottom facets vs. top facets/shape. For example, a round (brilliant cut) diamond will have 57 facets – 58 if the bottom is flat, with a cutlet
- Table: The large flat facet on top of a diamond
Carat: The Big C everyone brags about, but who really knows?
From the last – or the first – consideration when you buy a diamond, Carat is, none the less, the C everyone talks about. In truth, Carat is merely the weight of the stone, which is not always the same as is size. Diamonds are weighed in metric carats, each carat equal to 0.2 grams.
Like US Dollars, a carat is divided into one hundred points and expressed in carats and decimals, so 1.50 carats would be one-¬point-five carats. The larger the stone, the higher value per carat. A two carat diamond would therefore cost more per carat than a one carat stone, up and down the size spectrum.
The Fifth C: The cost of a Morays Diamond: You get what you pay for
While we’ve discussed color, clarity, carat, cut – the traditional Four Cs of Diamond Buying – there is one “C” we’ve yet to mention. Cost. By now, you should have a good idea how complex choosing and pricing a diamond truly is. Size (Carat) alone won’t tell you, but it may help. May, because size without quality, clarity, color and a fabulous cut/setting still must be added into the pricing equation. The same goes for any of the original Four Cs: they sound pretty important on their own. But one without the other will affect your purchase – and its price – more than any one factor alone will.
We recommend our Morays customers find a balance between size, color, clarity, cut and the last “C”, along a big “B” word – budget. To find the stone, the setting, the perfect pieces that best fit your needs, wants and realities, bring all your concerns, all you know and all you want to learn – to discuss your purchase with a certified Morays jeweler.
You may realize in your mind the bigger, the rarer the stone, the bigger, the rarer the price. But you may not realize what you have in mind is not necessarily what you – your wife, your husband, mother, father, colleague or intended – has in theirs.
Buying a Morays Diamond may not be about the biggest, the rarest or “the best.” More likely, it’s about what’s best for you, whoever will wear it and how it will be worn. Our skilled, long term employees aren’t here to make you spend more than you should. They’re here to help you decide what you should. Why you should. And how to make each Morays purchase right for you.