Welcome to the Van-Daaz information center.

Van-Daaz's shopping guidelines have been devised to be of use to a wide array of diamond-curious people. Accordingly, there are two parts to the document. Part I. contains a general and easy to follow overview of diamond's different qualities. Part II, on the other hand, offers a more in-depth analysis of these properties and their effect on diamond value.


PART I: * Who should read this page and why? * Short overview of the "4 C's"- the 4 main Characteristics of the diamond gem; * diamond Shapes & Styles ; *How are diamonds priced ?

Part II: * In-depth study of the "4C's" (diagrams included...)


The purchase of a diamond is a seldom event for the majority of diamond buyers. For many about to be married it is a first-time or unique experience.

Almost by definition, giving a diamond represents the celebration of a special occasion. And as special as the occasion may be so also is the extent to which the diamond, itself, is special in its embodiment of this event. This rarest and most precious of gems has come to symbolize the milestones of our lives.

It is fitting that the purest and most brilliant of all the world's stones should also be the most enduring. These qualities have rendered the diamond a perfect symbol of engagement and love.

This guide is aimed at helping the one-time or rare-occasion buyers. They may have learnt from them all there is to know about the "birds and the bees"; but, dad (and even grandpa) are generally (and equally...) at a loss for words with respect to diamonds! At this crucial point in one's life they are as helpless as the buyer...

Learning about the diamond's unique characteristics is an invaluable asset when the time comes to purchase one. We hope that this page will be helpful to you in making the proper choice when you shop for a diamond. Understanding the trade's terminology as reviewed here may prove essential to that choice: your purchase will be an educated process instead of a blind guess.

All in all, shopping for a diamond is similar to shopping for any other quality product of great complexity. The more you know, the easier it will be to distinguish the ordinary from the exceptional when it comes to value for your money.

The qualities that make the diamond so special -- purity, brilliance and the effect of color-- have been translated, to an extent, into a grading system that corresponds, interestingly enough, to their rarity and determines therefore the diamond's price.

As you might know, if you already started your shopping process, the quality of a diamond is measured by four different criteria.

The four attributes in question happen, all, to start with the letter 'C' and are known as "The Four C's":

  • The diamond's Cut, namely, the quality created through the cutting of the raw crystal by respecting certain proportions, angels and positioning of its different facets relative to each other. These characteristics are created through cutting the diamond crystal into traditionally developed shapes, proportions and styles. The Gemological Institute of America (the "GIA") has set grading standards, albeit somewhat cumbersome to the novice, for the 4 C's. The diamond's cut is classified by the GIA as Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor (Recut).
  • The diamond's Clarity- the term used when measuring what was described above as "purity" of a diamond. It consists of the measurement of the diamond's unadulterated, complete transparency and clearness from blemishes. To what measurable extent it is free of elements such as mineral inclusions, impurities, cracks, scratches etc. that may affect the "purity" of its transparency, namely, the diamonds clarity. The GIA grading standards for clarity start with the extremely rare [F]lawless ("F"), proceeding to the still very rare [I]nternally [F]lawless ("IF") which are followed by the rare "VVS1 (or: 2)", high quality "VS1 (or 2)", good and acceptable "S1 (or 2)" and, finally "I1 (or 2 or 3)"--where the letter "V" stands for the word "Very", "S" for "Small Inclusion (or: "impurity")" and "I" for "Imperfection" (or, "Impurity" or "Inclusion) . You may find their exact classification criteria in Part II .
  • The diamond's Color whereby complete colorlessness is the rarest and most sought after . Fancy, natural colored diamonds such as Canary Yellow are coming now into vogue . The GIA Grading system marks diamonds coloration level in alphabetical order from "D" for Colorless to "Z" for prominent hue.
  • The diamond's weight in Carats - a traditional measuring unit derived from the weight of the Carob seed (used in antiquity as the weight standard) ; Today the Carat is defined as 0.2 of a gram.

The universally accepted units of measurement of these four respective qualities of the diamond were set by the G.I.A- The Gemological Institute of America.

Some of these units are coded in letters which constitute acronyms (e.g., "VVS2" for "Very-Very-Small Inclusion-Level 2" ) or stand for an order (e.g., "D" is better than "E" etc.) .

If you are familiar with the Four C's and their measurement standards you need not read this section. You may go straight to our available diamonds list especially if you do not wish to read the exact definitions of the G.I.A standards. If, however, you wish to decipher the diamond trade's intricate grading method-- you may find the information in Part II to be of high interest.


A diamond's shape is also referred to as its "style". The diamond's shape is NOT to be confused with its CUT: the former stands for the diamond's style while the latter defines the quality of its proportions and polish. Traditionally there are five shape variations . Round Brilliant; Marquise; Emerald Cut; Pear- shaped and oval. You may choose one of those or a more contemporary shape such as Princess-cut or Heart shape, bearing in mind that no form is more "appropriate" than another: the one you choose should be entirely a matter of personal taste.

Even without graphical interface you can still have an idea: Heart, Pear, Oval, Round Brilliant and Square are multifaceted styles resembling their name.

The most popular shape, the "Round Brilliant" is described in depth and depicted in Part II.


A diamond's price is directly related to the combination of the four C's.

A diamond of twice the weight of another is much rarer and therefore more precious and will have a higher price per carat. The price per carat is the monetary value that when multiplied by the diamond's weight (in carats) produces the diamond's price.

Weight also has psychological as well as scarcity value since a diamond of 1 carat or slightly higher is worth considerably more, weight for weight, than a diamond of 0.90 carat because it has reached or exceeded the conventional unit of the complete or full 1.00 carat. The same principle applies at the dividing line for 2 and 3 carat diamonds etc.-as the price increases in leaps with each complete and full carat unit. Price jumps for full and numerically "round" "stages" are also applied to diamonds of lesser weights, i.e., a 50 points diamond vs. a 49 points diamond is more valuable weight per weight by being a "full" 1/2 carat (there are 100 'points' in one carat. Thus, e.g., 0.50 or, 1/2 carat is equal to 50 points).

Color also plays an important role in determining a diamonds value. The price of a diamond varies quite sharply with color. As a rough guide, depending on market conditions, if a diamond with certain characteristics and weight of color "H" were worth 100 units of currency another with the same characteristics but of color "F" (two color levels higher) would be worth approximately 130 units, while one with color "J" (two color levels lower) would be worth 80. Moves in clarity grades will affect the price in a similar manner. As the combinations of clarity, cut and color increases in "total score" -- their effect on price becomes greater . However, due to the numerous different possible combinations of Clarity, Color and Cut grading for each Carat weight size the price of each stone is determined through the use of complicated formulas, through tables as well as through reliance on expertise and experience .

A Few Helpful Hints

  1. De Beers, the world leading diamond trading company, recommends a budget of approximately 2 months salary for a diamond engagement ring. In their words "...Spend less and the relatives will talk; spend more and they'll rave..."
  2. With your budget in mind make your diamond choice based on the information in this report. Determine what is more important for you, a diamond of larger size with some compromise on the overall quality combination of cut, clarity and color or a smaller diamond of higher quality and beauty. You may try to customize your diamond purchase through Van-Daaz.
  3. Lower clarities with higher color allow for greater diamond weight and are more desirable in the marketplace, however, diamonds in this category are popular and certain shortages and price premiums exist.
  4. Cut and proportions play an important role since they make a lower quality diamond look good to the eye and they sharply reduces the price of high investment quality diamonds. Cut is also the characteristic that is most neglected by diamond salespeople in the effort of making a sale. If the diamond is not well cut a fact which reduces the price of the diamond, the seller will emphasize the lower price rather than discuss the improper proportions. Notice, however, that certain tolerances apply and the diamond with good overall cut is definitely acceptable.
  5. Once ready to set your purchased diamond in a ring or other piece of jewelry have it checked with a reputable gemologist, preferably one that does not sell diamonds. This will insure a more professional grading report for your diamond. Keep in mind that some diamond sales people will use the grading terminology liberally in order to help sell the diamond. The diamonds shipped out by Van-Daaz are always graded by the G.I.A, the EGL, IGI or HRD. Certification by these labs of national scale and international repute is your guarantee of the most objective grading possible. By being large and detached from local business interests, and since they do not SELL diamonds, their grading cannot be affected by the price associated with the final grading results nor by business pressure exerted by the submitting dealer. This cannot always be said about in-house gradings or those issued by small scale gemological laboratories.
  6. What are your guarantees? Honest diamond dealers and institutions will offer a full money back unconditional guarantee for a certain specified period. ( i.e. 30 days) as well as some form of partial money back guarantee for the future. Money back guarantees insure that you are buying directly from a first hand source that is not afraid to reimburse the purchase price since the profit is smaller than expected and she can, therefore, easily resell the stone for the same or higher price due to its great value; This is a direct result of being a first-hand source .
  7. The diamond engagement ring is very important and will help accentuate the diamond. Quality of workmanship varies from one jeweler to the next. Paying slightly more and obtaining better quality is a must since it is the ring that shows up more in the final examination and observation than the diamond alone. Good workmanship will be easy to see when being compared, so do not try to save a nominal amount and regret your choice. A well made ring will last longer, look richer and make you feel better!

Read this guide again if you wish to memorize some key elements in it , examine our available diamonds and fill in one of our on-line, user-friendly inquiry forms.

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[Part II | Back to our main menu | Diamond prices | Customize your diamond to your budget]

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