How to choose a diamond

When buying a diamond it is very easy to get carried away. Before you begin shopping, determine a budget. Only you can decide what amount is comfortable for you. Remember – diamonds are expensive and for this reason, you need to know how to choose the best diamond for your money.

Set a Budget: Don’t start looking for a diamond before you have set a budget. Setting a budget will allow you to quickly focus on the diamonds available in your price range.

Know the 4C’s: Over the years, diamond professionals have developed standards for comparing and evaluating diamonds. These standards are better known as the 4 C’s – Carat weight, Colour, Clarity, and Cut — which, together, affect the appearance and value of the diamond. A diamond’s value is influenced by its rarity. Before purchasing your diamond you should take the time to learn what characteristics influence a diamond’s value. Only then can you decide which of the 4C’s – Carat weight, Colour, Clarity, and Cut – are most important to you. Strive for a stone that offers the best combination of the 4C’s.

Choose the shape that pleases you: Today’s most popular shape is round, but diamonds come in many appealing shapes, including emerald, heart, pear, and princess cuts.

Choose your diamond’s colour: Remember, the colour difference is minute, but the price is not.

Choose the Clarity: Most diamonds have blemishes and inclusions. These inclusions are what makes your diamond unique. Diamonds are graded under 10X magnification, so you might think twice before paying for better clarity that can’t be seen with the naked eye.

Carat weight: Obviously everyone strives to purchase as large a diamond as possible. Remember, a large diamond is not always a beautiful diamond. Make sure you haven’t compromised too much on the other C’s before selecting your diamond. Be especially careful on the diamond’s cut. A poorly cut diamond loses its fire and brilliance, therefore looking more like a piece of glass.

Buying diamonds on the Internet can be cheaper than buying them from conventional sellers due to lower overhead costs. But before deciding to buy a diamond online make sure the diamonds are certified through an independent laboratory.

An interesting page that discusses the 4C’s in greater detail is Learning About The 4Cs Of Diamonds on Leo Schachter’s site, a self-described diamond artisan.

Zodiac Stones


Bloodstone: A variety of chalcedony that is green with small red inclusions of jasper, which resemble drops of blood, hence the name. People once thought that the bloodstone helped combat blood-related diseases and that it could even stop bleeding. Another name for the bloodstone is heliotrope.


Sapphire: This is a type of corundum. A sapphire’s hardness is second only to a diamond’s. Sapphires are named after the Latin word for blue: sapphirus. Although most associated with the colour blue, sapphires also come in a variety of other colours. These fancy sapphires can be green, pink, and yellow. There are also some that change colour and look blue in direct sunlight and purple indoors.


Agate: It is considered a precious stone in Islam. According to tradition the wearer of an agate ring, for example, is believed to be protected from various mishaps and will enjoy longevity, among other benefits. In other traditions, agate is believed to cure the stings of scorpions and the bites of snakes, soothe the mind, prevent contagion, secure the favour of the powerful, and bring victory over enemies.


Emerald: The Smithsonian Institution in Washinton D.C. is home to the Gachala Emerald. Donated by famous jeweller Harry Winston, it is uncut, measures about 5 cm, and weighs 858 carats (172 g). Another famous emerald is the 1759 carat (351.8 g) uncut Guinness Emerald Crystal. Both were found in Columbia.


Onyx: From the Greek onux, which means “fingernail”, it is a variety of chalcedony that is comprised of parallel alternatively coloured layers of white and black. Onyx is thought to help one sleep better and some believe it can relieve stress and protect against disorders of the nervous system.


Carnelian: Related to agate and onyx — it is also a form of chalcedony — the carnelian is favoured for its red-brown colour and most often this typically opaque stone is carved into cabochon: a polished convex oval shape. It is believed to combat infertility and impotence.


Peridot: The majority of peridot today is mined on the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona by Native Americans. Peridot has been mined for over four thousand years and is even remarked upon in the Bible, referred to by its Hebrew name, pitdah. Ancient Egyptians called it the “gem of the sun” and ancient Romans thought of it as the “evening emerald”.


Beryl: Refers to a family of gemstones that includes aquamarines and emeralds. Beryls are actually colourless and get their colour from radiation or other minerals that bond with the crystal structure. Manganese turns it pink while a combination of iron and irradiation from uranium gives it a yellow hue.


Topaz: Probably the most well-known topaz is the Braganza, a 1680 carat gem set in the Portuguese Crown. For years it was believed to be the second-largest diamond in the world until it was discovered that it was in fact a colourless topaz. The ancient Greeks thought topaz could make the one who wears it invisible in times of dire need.


Ruby: Some famous star rubies include the Delong (100.32 carat), Midnight Star (116.75 carat), and the Rosser Reeves (138.7 carat). Star rubies are rubies cut into a cabochon that exhibit asterism: a phenomenon caused by dense inclusions of tiny parallel slender fibres in the mineral — in the case of rubies it is small needles of rutile (titanium oxide) — that cause the light to reflect a billowy star-like formation of concentrated light that moves around when the mineral is rotated.


Garnet: Supposedly, Noah navigated the rough seas in his boat that held the animals of the world for 40 days and 40 nights with the aid of a lantern carved from garnet. Garnet derives from the Latin word granatum — pomegranate. This is because they resemble the seeds of a pomegranate.


Amethyst: Considered sacred to Buddha by Tibetan monks, the prayer beds of their rosaries are frequently made of the gemstone. Exposing an amethyst to too much sunlight will negatively affect the stone, causing its colour to fade over time. Amethyst is thought to promote celibacy and that it symbolises piety. Thus its use in the Catholic churches, most prominently as the stone set in the rings of Bishops.



Garnet: is found in almost any colour, but blue garnets are exceptionally rare. The name garnet refers not to a specific mineral, but a group of similar minerals. The most well known are the almandine and pyrope garnets, because they are red: the colour most associated with garnets.


Amethyst: The ancient Greeks believed that if this transparent purple variety of quartz was worn it would prevent the wearer from becoming inebriated. An interesting myth is that if placed in the drinking bowl of a pet, it would reduce the fleas on the pet.


Aquamarine: A transparent variety of beryl, the name is Latin for “seawater” and was often given to sailors to ensure a safe voyage and was also believed to prevent naupathia: seasickness.


Diamond: According to Guinness World Records the largest cut diamond is an unnamed black fancy coloured diamond: a diamond containing impurities that make it appear black. It weighs 555.55 carats (111.11 g) and has 55 facets.


Emerald: Although hard, it is known to be brittle. Thus rough emeralds are oiled after they are cut and polished. The oil seeps into any microscopic fissures in the gemstone. This strengthens the emerald and improves its clarity.


Pearl: The only non-mineral, widely-accepted, birthstone, pearls form inside an oyster, or other molluscs, as the result of a defence mechanism against irritants inside the shell, which envelopes the irritant in layers of nacre: the internal surface of the oyster’s shell.


Ruby: Rubies are the red-coloured variety of the mineral corundum. All other colours of corundum are classified as Sapphires. The name Ruby is derived from the Latin for red — ruber. The Guinness World Record holding largest ruby was awarded to Beijing Fugui Tianshi Jewelry for its 8.184 kg ruby. It measures 130x138x145 mm and was officially certified in December 2005.


Peridot: Belonging to the olivine group of minerals, it is found not only on Earth but on meteorites. This makes it one of the only gemstones known to exist elsewhere. The intensity of the green colour of peridot depends on the amount of iron integrated within the crystal structure.


Sapphire: It is believed to increase friendship, generosity love, and wisdom. According to Guinness World Records, the largest carved sapphire is an 80 500 carats (16.1 kg) stone that was displayed in March 2005 at a show in the USA. It is multicoloured, featuring blue, gold, and grey.


Opal:The majority of precious opal — those with the characteristically beautiful flashes of colour inside — is found in Australia. The word opal derives from the Latin opalus, which means “precious stone”. The opal symbolises hope, innocence, and purity.


Topaz: Blue topaz is not naturally occurring. Most topaz is varying shades of yellow, but other colours, such as green, grey, pink, and white, are also found. To imbue topaz with a blue hue, it is exposed to gamma radiation and heated.


Turquoise: The colour turquoise was named for this gemstone. One of the most famous archaeological artefacts to incorporate turquoise is Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s burial mask. The solid gold mask is also inlaid with carnelian and lapis lazuli