Understanding Diamonds

In order to get a beautiful, brilliant diamond at a price you can afford,
we have to look at 4 characteristics.






Diamond size is usually described by carat weight not measurements.

diamond 2.5ct
2.5 carat
250 points
10 grainer
diamond 2ct
2 carat
200 points
8 grainer
diamond 1.5ct
1.5 carat
150 points
6 grainer
diamond 1ct
1 carat
100 points
4 grainer
diamond .75ct
3/4 carat
75 points
3 grainer
diamond .5ct
1/2 carat
50 points
2 grainer

(Shown magnified)

1 Carat = 200 milligrams, but carats are usually subdivided into 100 points, so a 1 carat weight diamond can be called “100 points” or a “50 pointer”. Some diamond dealers refer to grains (.25ct) so that 1ct might be called a '4 Grainer'. A diamond twice the weight doesn’t really look twice as big, but will cost well over twice the price if the same grade.


The Clarity affects the rarity - therefore the cost.

Diamonds tiny internal markings are called inclusions and are graded under 10x magnification. When not visible to the naked eye, inclusions have little effect on the visual beauty and brilliance, however, they dramatically affect the price.
<< Highest pricesBest Value >>
Overly Flawed
dia FL
No inclusions visible (by an expert) under 10x magnification.
dia VVS
Very, Very Slight Inclusions
Minute inclusions; extremely difficult to find under 10x magnification.
dia VS
Very Slight Inclusions
Minor inclusions; difficult to find under 10x magnification.
dia SI
Slight Inclusions
Noticeable inclusions; relatively easy to find under 10x magnification.
dia SI3
Included SI3-I1
Obvious inclusions under 10x magnification. This is the single largest clarity group.
dia I1
Included I2-I3
Obvious inclusions under 10x magnification. Easily visible to the naked eye.
*SI3 is not a GIA grade, but is used by some other grading labs.


Understanding a diamonds beauty and brilliance

Most people prefer colorless diamonds, but subtle color differences can be hard to see. Color is the most subjective of the 4 C’s, so there’s no right or wrong choice.
dia D
dia G
Near Colorless
dia K
Faint Yellow
dia N
Very Lt. Yellow
N - Z

Colorless and near colorless diamonds (D-J) appear more white. As you go below the near colorless range, a diamonds color, primarily yellow, brown or gray is more noticeable and will affect rarity, appearance and ultimate cost.

Some people prefer a warmer body color, fancy colors ,or simply don’t notice a bit of color. The color of metal in the gem setting also can affect how noticeable a diamonds color appears.


Understanding a diamonds beauty and brilliance

Diamond cutters often compromise brilliance to obtain the largest possible finished diamond from the uncut crystal, resulting in a diamond that is larger, but one that is often poorly cut and therefore less brilliant. We hand select our diamonds for the most beautifully cut.


dia shallow cut
Too Shallow
dia deep cut
Too Deep
Learn More


dia proper cut
Proper Cut
Learn More

Rarity and Expense

Although two diamonds may look the same to the naked eye, when viewed under 10x magnification one has fewer inclusions, making it rarer.
While this rarity makes one more expensive than the other, both diamonds are equally beautiful and brilliant to the naked eye.

Both diamonds appear to be the same.
dia vvs1
price tag
dia SI1
price tag
Viewed with naked eye

dia vvs1
price tag
dia SI1
price tag
Viewed under 10x magnification

The Perfect Price

diamond perfect price
diamond perfect price
diamond perfect price

Get to your perfect price with the perfect diamond by deciding what’s important to you. A larger stone with lower color and clarity may cost the same as a smaller, higher grade diamond.

Ask these questions:
  • Is a little color ok to you?
  • Can you see the inclusions?
  • What size do you prefer?

Then, adjust the color, clarity and size (the cut should never be compromised) and you will end up with the perfect diamond at your perfect price!

The Sacred Rules of Selecting Your Diamond

1 See your diamond loose
Learn More
diamond tray
2 Use proper lighting and a color grading tray to examine your diamond
Learn More
3Inspect your diamond under 10x magnification
Learn More
digital scale
4 Have the exact weight of your diamond verified
diamond report mr-1
5 Make sure your diamond comes with an independent lab grading report
Learn More
dia D
6 Buy a diamond with your eyes, not with your ears
Learn More

Diamond Basics

GIA clarity scale


GIA color scale


Cut drives diamond performance


Diamond Anatomy


Natural Mined vs Lab Grown

Each of our natural mined diamonds is hand selected for exceptional beauty and verified by our staff gemologists. We source primarily diamonds cut from Canadian & Botswanan rough (which includes Namibian and South African material). We also offer recycled antique diamonds as well as colored rose cut diamonds, usually cut from Australian rough. Green Lake is committed to sourcing diamonds that benefit their communities of origin and are mined and where fair labor standards and excellent human rights records prevail.
Advancements in chemical vapor deposition, high temperature - high pressure and other technologies have enabled a few specialized facilities around the world to literally ‘grow’ gem quality diamonds from pure carbon. Under a controlled environment the carbon is formed into diamond crystals that are precision cut and polished just as a diamond mined from the earth would be. These are not simulants – these are real diamonds that are virtually indistinguishable from their mined equivalent, even to gemological grading agencies. In partnering with America’s most esteemed and pioneering private laboratory, Green Lake Jewelry Works is proud to offer our own Grown Diamonds collection.

Buying a Diamond Online

Use our eyes, passion and expertise

Brant at the Cutter

We choose diamonds with the same passion for quality we put into every piece we make.
Green Lake Jewelry Works is devoted to crafting exemplary, one-of-a-kind rings and we'll make sure you get a spectacular diamond that you can be as proud of as we are.

Only buy from a company whose gemologists and experts personally evaluate each diamond the same way we do.