Jewelry Care Guides

Fortunoff Diamond Buyer's Guide

General Care for Fine Jewelry

Diamonds signify special occasions in life. They symbolize love, engagements, wedding vows, anniversaries, birthdays, and more. While it’s exciting to buy a diamond, it can also be overwhelming. When you buy your diamond from Fortunoff, you can rest assured that you have purchased exceptional quality at an honest price. Some stores falsely advertise 50% savings when what they really do is inflate prices to claim a huge sale. Fortunoff offers fair prices every day. Our standards of quality, selection, value pricing and service are legendary. Generations of families have shopped confidently at Fortunoff, The Source. We invite you to do the same.

Our Diamond Buyer’s guide will help demystify your diamond-buying experience. We’ll help you balance all the elements that go into selecting the diamond that’s right for you. Armed with knowledge, you can be confident in understanding the 4 C’s of diamonds: Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat Weight, plus the most important 5th C: Confidence.

    Top Reasons to Buy from Fortunoff

  • Committed to quality: we carefully examine every diamond and reject more than 90% of the diamonds offered to us.
  • Every diamond solitaire is accompanied by a full diamond grading report.
  • Lifetime trade-up policy on solitaire diamonds purchased from Fortunoff. Some restrictions apply, so contact us for more information.
  • Complimentary insurance estimates and updates.
  • GIA-trained diamond experts are available by appointment to guide you in selecting the diamond that is perfect for you.
  • Your satisfaction is guaranteed with our 30-day money-back refund policy.

Color

Most colored gemstones routinely undergo heating or other treatments to further enhance their natural beauty. These enhancements are generally permanent. However, extra care should be taken with all colored gemstone jewelry. If cared for properly, it can last a lifetime.

  • Color preference in diamonds is a very personal thing. Some people covet a colorless diamond; others desire a “warmer” color. *Most gem-quality diamonds appear to be white to the untrained eye, but there are subtle differences that can greatly affect value. Diamonds with no traces of body color are extremely rare.
  • To accurately determine a diamond’s color grade using Gemological Institute of America (GIA) standards, the diamond is viewed unset, table down, and compared to a “Master Set” whose colors have been predetermined by the GIA (see the chart on the facing page). Your Fortunoff diamond engagement ring has been carefully color graded by professional graders using these standards.
  • Colored diamonds occur in nature in shades ranging from the palest yellows and pinks to vivid blues and reds. The vivid hues are rarest of all. All yellow and brown diamonds more strongly colored than Z color are termed fancy colors, as are all reds, pinks, greens and blues. Fancy color diamonds are graded according to a separate set of standards. Some diamonds are colored artificially, using special laboratory techniques. These treated diamonds are much less valuable, and Fortunoff generally does not sell such diamonds.

Clarity

  • Most diamonds develop natural “inclusions” or imperfections during their formation deep within the earth. The fewer the imperfections, the rarer and more valuable the diamond.
  • Diamond clarity is graded based on the position, color, number, nature and size of these features. It takes an experienced, trained grader to correctly evaluate the clarity of a diamond.
  • Flawless and internally flawless diamonds are exceedingly rare. The term “flawless” is a highly restricted one, and has been so misused that it is now regulated by the Federal Trade Commission. While most inclusions may not affect the beauty of a diamond, they do affect its value and price, and some may even affect durability.
  • At Fortunoff, diamonds accompanied by laboratory reports are re-checked to be sure they pass our more rigorous standards. Many types of imperfections that are acceptable to other retailers will be rejected by our experts.
  • Open imperfections, which break the surface of the diamond, are often not shown on laboratory reports, but may threaten the beauty or durability of the diamond. Many diamonds have “opens.” To protect you, Fortunoff rejects such diamonds. Other retailers sell those we’ve rejected.
  • Some stores use vague or deceptive phrases and don’t fully disclose the nature or quality of their diamonds. At Fortunoff, you will receive a diamond grading report that clearly shows the clarity grade and identifying features which make your diamond unique.

GIA Clarity Scale

    An accurate clarity grade can only be assigned by an experienced, professionally trained grader using 10x magnification.

  • FL
    * Flawless- no inclusions or blemishes
    * IF- Internally Flawless- no inclusions and only minor surface blemishes
    Flawless and Internally Flawless diamonds are extremely rare
  • VVS1 & VVS2
    Very, very slightly included- minute inclusions, while viewing diamonds under a 10x microscope.
  • VVS1: Extremely difficult to see.
    * VVS2: Very difficult to see.
  • VS1 & VS2
    Very slightly included- minor inclusions.
    * VS1- Difficult to see.
    * VS2- Fairly difficult to see.
  • SI1 & SI2
    Slightly included- noticeable inclusions to a skilled grader.
    * SI1: Easy to see..
    * SI2: Very easy to see.
  • VS1 & VS2
    Very slightly included- minor inclusions.
    * VS1- Difficult to see.
    * VS2- Fairly difficult to see.
  • I1, I2, & I3
    Inclusions are obvious under magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance.
    * I1: Imperfect 1- Inclusions affect a diamond’s appearance and transparency and are often seen with the naked eye.
    * I2: Imperfect 2- Inclusions seriously affect the diamond’s appearance and are often seen with the naked eye.
    * I3: Imperfect 3- Inclusions seriously affect a diamond’s appearance when viewed with the naked eye and may affect durability.

Carat Weight

  • Of the 4 C’s, carat weight is the simplest factor in determining the value of a diamond. As with other precious gems, the weight of a diamond is expressed in carats. One carat equals one-fifth of a gram or 1/142 of an ounce. A carat is divided into 100 points, so a 3/4 carat diamond weighs 75 points or .75 carats.
  • Carat weight is not exactly the same as size. A woman weighing 120 lbs. can be a size 10 or a size 6, depending on height and other factors. Diamonds vary in similar fashion. (See Cut below.)
  • Tons of rock must be mined to unearth a single one-carat gem-quality diamond. Larger, heavier diamonds are much rarer. Their price per carat increases geometrically, not arithmetically. For example, a two-carat diamond will cost far more than two one-carat diamonds of the same quality.
  • Fortunoff engagement diamonds are accurately weighed loose (out of their settings) on a calibrated scale. Some stores give vague or estimated weights, or an “approximate total weight that may vary widely.” At Fortunoff, we state the exact weight of your center diamond, to one-hundredth of a carat.

Cut

  • Cut is the single most important factor in determining the diamond’s beauty and value. A poorly cut diamond may sell for up to 50% less than a very well-cut diamond of otherwise identical color and clarity.
  • Diamonds form deep beneath the earth’s surface as irregularly shaped crystals, called rough. Here, the skill of a master cutter, with years of experience, is vital. The crystal’s general shape, size and any imperfections are taken into consideration in planning how to transform the rough crystal into a beautiful cut and polished work of art.
  • When a diamond is properly cut, the facets act as mirrors and prisms, maximizing its brilliance and fire. Each crystal must be crafted by the cutter to fulfill its single most important job: to be beautiful. A stone cut without skill, or carelessly, too deep or too shallow, results in a stone with little sparkle or beauty…and far less value.
  • Cut has long been the least understood of the 4 C’s. Some retailers will tell you that only their diamond is the best cut. Fortunately, recent studies by the scientists at GIA have confirmed that a wide variety of proportions can yield an equally beautiful diamond. The cut grade is shown clearly and simply on the new GIA grading report. The myth that only one type of diamond can be “ideal” has finally been put to rest.

How A Diamond Handles Light

  • It is the cut that enables a diamond to make the best use of light.
  • * Well cut- Light is reflected from one facet to another, then disperses through the top of the diamond.
  • * Too deep- Light escapes through the opposite side of the pavilion.
  • * Too shallow- Light passes through the pavilion before it can be reflected.

Shape

Over the last century, the shape of a finished diamond has taken on increasingly more refined forms. Shape is often confused with the technical term “cut” (discussed above). The cushion, for example, is an updated version of an older shape revived to complement today’s return to the vintage look. The princess cut, on the other hand, is entirely modern in feeling. Preference for any particular shape is very personal. Within each shape, at Fortunoff, you will find well-cut, beautiful diamonds. Let our diamond experts help you choose the one that speaks to you.

The Fifth C: Confidence

* Fortunoff is an internationally recognized leader in the jewelry industry. We purchase diamonds directly from the world’s most important diamond sources. Our GIA-trained diamond buying team selects each diamond for the best combination of cut, color, clarity, beauty and value. We reject more than 90% of the diamonds presented to us, so that each diamond we offer to you is of fine quality at the best possible price.
* Each solitaire diamond is accompanied by a grading report, so you always know exactly what you are purchasing. Your Fortunoff diamond may also be girdle-inscribed with the grading report number to give you additional security and peace of mind. This is available with two weeks’ lead time, for a nominal additional cost.
* We proudly offer the Fortunoff Solitaire Trade-Up policy. Should you wish to trade up your Fortunoff diamond to a larger or finer one, we will apply the full original purchase price of the center diamond toward your new selection. There are some restrictions so please contact us for further details.

About Appraisals

* Your Fortunoff diamond engagement ring is accompanied by a diamond grading report.
* A Fortunoff Estimate of Replacement Value is available for insurance purposes. This is a detailed narrative summary of your diamond, including the current retail price, but it is not an appraisal. If you require an Estimate of Replacement Value, please contact us.
* You should consult with your insurance agent, who can advise you as to the best way to protect your jewelry. Due to changes in market conditions over time, you should periodically review your policy to be sure your treasured diamond is adequately insured.
* If you wish or need to have your diamond appraised, find a qualified independent appraiser, one who is not affiliated with any jewelry seller. You may be surprised to know that there are no laws governing who can appraise jewelry. An honest and accurate appraisal of your diamond should be an independent one.
* For your convenience, Fortunoff maintains a list of some of the most reputable local, independent appraisers. We also can refer you to one of the national appraisal organizations, which also can recommend qualified appraisers.

Social Responsibility

* Your diamond should be a symbol of love and trust. The vast majority of the world’s diamonds support democracy and well-being by providing much-needed employment and other benefits to the local population.
* At Fortunoff, we fully support the Kimberley Process, the international certification scheme regulating worldwide trade in rough diamonds. The Kimberley Process is working to prevent the trade of “conflict diamonds.”
* Fortunoff also proudly supports agencies that are working to ensure ethical, socially responsible diamond, gemstone and precious metals sourcing. We are supporters of the Diamond Development Initiative (www.ddiglobal.org) and other organizations.