In order to choose your diamond, you should understand the 4Cs: Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat weight. These are the characteristics that determine diamond quality and will help you select the right diamond.


Color refers to the natural coloration of a diamond. Colorless diamonds are the most valuable but are also very rare. Most diamonds used in jewelry are nearly colorless with tints of yellow or brown.

  • D  E  F

  • G  H  I  J
    Near Colorless

  • K  L  M

  • N  O  P  Q  R
    Very Light

  • S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


The Cut refers to the shape of the diamond and the arrangement of the facets. A well-cut diamond's facets reflect and refract light with sparkling brilliance.

SHALLOW CUT Light "leaks" through the bottom. Diamond may have dull reflection.

IDEAL CUT As light is reflected from all sides, it comes back through the top sparkling.

DEEP CUT Light is lost through the sides. Diamond may appear dark in the center.


Clarity represents the degree to which a diamond is free of natural internal flaws, called inclusions. The fewer the inclusions a diamond has, the more valuable it is.

GIA Flawless VVS1 VVS2 VS1 VS2 SI1 SI2 I1 I2 I3
  Internally Flawless Very Very
Slightly Included
Very Slightly Included Slightly Included Included


Carat is the weight measurement of a diamond. One carat equals 100 points. As the carat size of a diamond increases, so does its price.

  • .50ct.

  • .75ct.

  • 1.00ct.

  • 1.50cts.

  • 2.00cts.

Diamond weights are approximate*
  • 1/10 ct. may be .09 - .11 ct.
  • 1/8 ct. may be .12 - .13 ct.
  • 1/7 ct. may be .14 - .15 ct.
  • 1/6 ct. may be .16 - .17 ct.
  • 1/5 ct. may be .18 - .22 ct.
  • 1/4 ct. may be .23 - .28 ct.
  • 1/3 ct. may be .29 - .36 ct.
  • 3/8 ct. may be .37 - .44 ct.
  • 1/2 ct. may be .45 - .54 ct.
  • 3/5 ct. may be .55 - .58 ct.
  • 5/8 ct. may be .59 - .61 ct.
  • 2/3 ct. may be .62 - .69 ct.
  • 3/4 ct. may be .70 - .79 ct.
  • 7/8 ct. may be .80 - .94 ct.
  • 1 ct. may be .95 - 1.10 cts.
  • 1 1/4 cts. may be 1.23 - 1.28 cts.
  • 1 1/2 cts. may be 1.45 - 1.58 cts.
  • 1 3/4 cts. may be 1.70 - 1.79 cts.
  • 2 cts. may be 1.95 - 2.10 cts.
  • 2 1/2 cts. may be 2.45 - 2.58 cts.
  • 3 cts. may be 2.95 - 3.10 cts.
  • 5 cts. may be 4.95 - 5.10 cts.
  • 6 cts. may be 5.95 - 6.10 cts.
  • 10 cts. may be 9.95 - 10.10 cts.

* Diamond weights are based on FTC standards.


Diamond shape is an important factor to consider when choosing a diamond. Read about the ten basic diamond shapes and select the one that's right for you.

  • Round

  • Princess

  • Emerald

  • Asscher

  • Marquise

  • Oval

  • Radiant

  • Pear

  • Heart

  • Cushion

  • Click on each diamond shape pictured above to explore and learn about the various shapes and their traits.

  • Round - By far the most popular shape available today, the classic round brilliant cut diamond delivers on its promise of unrivaled fire and brilliance.

  • Princess - The ladylike princess-cut stone has a square or rectangular shape with pointed corners. An array of intricate facets adds brilliance and sparkle.

  • Emerald - A rectangular or square shape with corner facets, the unique look of the emerald cut shape is created by the step cuts that create a mirrored effect that looks like a staircase.

  • Asscher - This diamond shape utilizes many of the same cutting techniques as the emerald cut, usually with larger step facets, a higher crown and a smaller table. Their uniquely angled and cropped corners help create a timeless look.

  • Marquise - This fancy gemstone cut has an elongated shape with pointed ends. Its shape is flattering to the small hand, making it appear longer.

  • Oval - A stone cut into an elongated circle with the same number of facets as a round diamond with similar brilliance. This shape gives a more elongated look to a ring and the finger it's on.

  • Radiant - A square stone cut to have a complete brilliant-cut facet pattern applied to both the crown and pavilion. Radiant diamonds tend to emit a beautiful, memorable glow.

  • Pear - A pear stone cut is also called a teardrop with a tapered point and rounded end. This shape creates a subtle slimming effect on the fingers.

  • Heart – A heart shape is synonymous with love and affection. When choosing a heart, look for stones where the stone is symmetrical and the cleft is clearly defined.

  • Cushion - Also known as a pillow cut, the romantic cushion cut combines a square cut with rounded corners and has larger facets to increase its brilliance.


Want to upgrade your diamond jewelry? The Exchange offers a Lifetime Trade-Up Program when you purchase qualified diamond jewelry. Authorized customers may trade in the Exchange purchased diamond at any time and receive credit towards the purchase of another diamond jewelry item of fifty percent or higher value. Trade-Up Certificate, receipt and inspection of the returned diamonds are required at the time of trade-in.


Diamond Trade-up will be accepted on bridal sets including engagement and anniversary rings, solitaire rings, solitaire earrings and solitaire pendants. Gemstones and pearls are excluded from the Diamond Trade-Up Program.




Independent and nonprofit, GIA is considered the final word on a diamond's authenticity and quality. GIA developed the 4Cs and the International Diamond Grading System™, the grading standard adopted by jewelry professionals around the globe.

While GIA is the benchmark for all Independent Gemological Labs, the EXCHANGE also has certificates from other highly respected labs including IGI, GSI, IGL and AGS. Each certificate provides a complete documentation of your diamond's cut, carat weight and quality.

No official Department of Defense endorsement implied by use of external links or commercial advertising.