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Located in the Heart of Chicago's Jewelers Row

Diamond Education

 


At Ethan Lord, we offer a large variety of high quality diamond shapes and sizes. Diamonds are the world’s most exquisite gemstone and the hardest substance known to man. When mined and properly cut, their magnificent display of light and colors creates a fiery brilliance that has become the perfect symbol of love between two people

Every diamond that we carry has been hand selected from the best manufacturers based on strict criteria to ensure you receive the perfect diamond. By only having GIA certified diamonds with certain quality standards for cut, color, clarity, polish and symmetry, etc., we have eliminated the fear of shopping online allowing you to purchase with confidence! Additionally, we believe that a GIA certification will provide you with an accurate representation of your diamond’s characteristics. While there are other grading laboratories such as the American Gemological Institute (AGS) and the European Gemological Laboratory (EGL), we do not carry diamonds certified by these agencies as their grading standards tend to be less stringent. 

To view the list of available diamonds, please click on the Select Your Diamond image to the right. If you have specific questions regarding diamonds, or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us toll free at 877-384-5673 (877-ETHAN LJ) or via email [email protected].

      Select Your Diamond

Anatomy of a Diamond

Understanding the individual aspects will help you better understand the differences in diamonds.

Facet

The smooth, flat faces on the surface of a diamond. They allow light to both enter a diamond and reflect off its surface at different angles. This creates the wonderful iridescence for which diamonds are famous. A round brilliant has 58 facets (or 57 if there is no culet).

Diameter

The width of the diamond measured through the girdle.

Girdle

The outer edge or the widest part of the diamond. The girdle is the intersection of the crown and pavilion.

Pavilion

The bottom portion of the diamond from the girdle to the culet.

Culet

The facet at the tip of the diamond. It protects the tip of the pavilion from being chipped or damaged. Most shapes have no culet at all or a very small culet.

Table

The top of the diamond and its largest facet.

Crown

The top portion of a diamond from the table to the girdle.

Depth

The height of a diamond from table to culet. The depth is measured in millimeters.

Crown Angle

The angle at which a diamond's bezel facets intersect the girdle plane. This gentle slope of the facets that surround the table is what helps to create the dispersion, or fire, in a diamond.

Table Percentage

The value that represents how the diameter of the table facet compares to the diameter of the entire diamond. For a round diamond, gemologists calculate table percentage by dividing the diameter of the table, which is measured in millimeters (this millimeter measurement does not appear on diamond grading reports) by the average girdle diameter. For a fancy shape diamond, table percentage is calculated by dividing the width of the table, at the widest part of the diamond, by the millimeter width of the entire stone.

Shape of a Diamond

Cut and shape are often confused. A diamond’s shape is the outward appearance of the stone. While there are hundreds of different diamond shapes, we have listed the most popular.

 

Round


The round brilliant is the most popular diamond shape and is the only one with a cut grade recognized by all the laboratories such as the GIA, AGA, and EGL. While diamond saws and jewelry lathes have enabled the development of Round shapes since around 1900, technology now allows for precise mathematical proportions to optimize the brilliance (the amount of white light reflected) and fire (flashes of spectral colors) of this shape. With 58 exactly placed facets, the round brilliant diamond produces the ultimate in luster and beauty.

 

 

Princess


The Princess diamond is a relatively new shape having been created in the 1970s, and is one of the more popular fancy shapes. The princess combines the brilliance of a round diamond with an overall square or rectangular appearance. This allows it to emphasize a diamond’s fire rather than its luster. The top of the diamond is square and the overall shape is similar to that of a pyramid.

 

 

Emerald


An emerald diamond is rectangular in shape. Its facets are arranged parallel to the girdle; this is known as the step or trap cut. An emerald cut creates a unique optical appearance providing a view into the diamond. Bcause sharp corners are points of weakness where a diamond may fracture, these stones often have their corners truncated with an octagonal outline. Both the pavilion and crown are comparatively shallow so step cut stones are usually not as bright or fiery as brilliant cut stones. Instead, they accentuate a diamond's clarity and color.

 

 

Asscher


Named after its developers, Abraham and Joseph Asscher, this cut is basically a square emerald with a unique step cut and cropped corners. The Asscher was very popular in the 1920s, and is now regaining its popularity after being featured on the HBO Series, Sex and the City. Asscher has also recently been the diamond cut of choice for several celebrity engagement rings.

 

 

Marquise


The standard marquise diamond contains 56 facets and is elongated with pointed ends. According to legend, it was inspired by the smile of the Marquise de Pompadour and created for France’s Louis XIV, who wanted a diamond to match it. The shape of a marquise diamond can maximize carat weight, creating a much larger-looking diamond. Additionally, the length of the marquise makes fingers appear long and slender.

 

 

Oval


The oval is a diamond shape that has become more popular over the last few decades. This is a great choice for those who desire the overall brilliance of a round brilliant cut, but seek a shape that is more unique.

 

 

Radiant


This is a squarish shaped diamond with trimmed corners. The radiant is extremely versatile and can be set in many different ways. It is one of the less common fancy shapes, so is an alternate for those who want a square diamond such as the princess.

 

 

Pear


This shape provides the brilliance and fire of a round cut diamond, but with a more unique shape. The pear is also referred to as the teardrop because of its single point and rounded end.

 

 

Heart


TA heart-shaped diamond is a romantic choice for a variety of diamond jewelry. The heart cut diamond usually contains 59 facets and is considered a brilliant cut.

 

 

Cushion


This fancy diamond shape has been around for more than a century, and usually resembles the shape of a pillow. It is sometimes referred to as a pillow cut. Typically, it is in the shape of a square or square-rectangle.

 

Cut of a Diamond

Many people confuse diamond cut with the shape. But cut is the metric used to evaluate the precision and quality of the overall cutting itself. Many consider cut the most important of the 4 C’s because a well-cut diamond, regardless of shape, has more fire and brilliance. Cut is also the most complex of the 4 C’s; not even the major labs agree on how to best measure the quality of a diamond’s cut. Diamond Cut usually takes into consideration Proportions, Symmetry and Polish. Light Performance or other tests can also be used to calculate the precision of the diamond cut.

Proportions

 


Ideal:
 
When a diamond is cut to proper proportions, light is reflected from one facet to another and dispersed through the top of the stone.
     
Too Shallow:   If the diamond is cut too shallow, light escapes through the pavilion before it can be reflected.
     
Too Deep:   If the diamond is cut too deep, light escapes through the opposite side of the pavilion.

 

Symmetry

Small variations in symmetry include misalignment of facets or facets that fail to point correctly to the girdle. Symmetry is regarded as an indicator of the quality of a diamond's cut; it is graded as Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair or Poor.

Polish

Polish influences how well light is able to pass through a diamond and is crucial to its brilliance. Diamonds with lower polish grades are less brilliant because they have microscopic polish lines that blur the surface of the diamond. These polish lines reduce the amount of light that enters or exits a diamond. Polish is graded as Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair or Poor.

 

Color of a Diamond

Diamond color is graded according to the GIA Grading Scale and is based on the presence or absence of color in white diamonds, which never changes over time. Each color grade is based on a very small range. When a diamond is color graded it is compared using a set of master stones. Master stones are a set of real diamonds that display a range of known colors. 


The color-grading scale ranges from D to Z, with D being the whitest stone available; it is also the most rare. Colors E and F have no detectable color to the naked eye and also fall into the Colorless category. Diamonds in the G to J color range have a hint of body color and are considered Near Colorless. The eye begins to detect traces of yellow in diamonds that are in the J to M range. 

Exceptions are fancy colored diamonds; certain colors such as red and pink are very rare and expensive.

Clarity of a Diamond

A diamond’s clarity is a measure of its flaws or impurities. These imperfections are referred to as inclusions, which can be located inside or on the surface of the stone. To determine a diamond’s clarity, it is viewed under 10 times magnification by a trained gemologist. Small inclusions do not impact a diamond’s beauty or endanger its durability.

Inclusion Rating


FL/IF (Internally Flawless):
 
No inclusions visible under 10x magnification.
     
VVS1/VVS2 (Very Very Slightly Included):   Very difficult to see inclusions under 10x magnification.
     
VS1/VS2 (Very Slightly Included):   Inclusions are not visible to the unaided eye. Difficult to see inclusions under 10x magnification.
     
SI1/SI2 (Slightly Included):   Inclusions are typically visible under 10x magnification. Some SI diamonds may have inclusions visible to the unaided eye.
     
I1-I3 (Included):   Diamonds with visible inclusions to the naked eye. These inclusions sometimes affect the stone’s durability and can be so numerous or large that they impact transparency and brilliance.

 

Carat Weight


A carat is a unit of measurement used to weigh a diamond. Fractions of a carat are referred to as “points” or fractions. A 50-point diamond weighs .5 carats or ½ a carat. Similarly, a 1-carat diamond weighs 100 points. 

Weight does not always equal size or beauty. Poorly cut diamonds, regardless of size, can be dull and lifeless. Plus, diamonds of the same weight can be different sizes. If a diamond is cut too shallow it may have a larger diameter but a smaller depth, which will impair its brilliance. That’s why cut is so important.

 

Certifications

There are a variety of gemological institutes that appraise diamonds and measure and certify loose diamonds and diamond jewelry. Ethan Lord uses the following agencies for diamond certification:

Gemological Institute of America (GIA)

Founded in 1931 in Los Angeles, the GIA is the world’s foremost authority on diamonds, colored stones, and pearls. A public benefit, nonprofit institute, the GIA is the leading source of knowledge, standards, and education in gems and jewelry.

Download the GIA sample certification here.

Click here to learn more about the GIA.

American Gem Society (AGS)

The American Gem Society is a trade association of retail jewelers, independent appraisers, suppliers and selective industry members which was founded in 1934 by Robert M. Shipley.  The society is based in Las Vegas, NV along with the affiliated American Gem Society Laboratories (AGSL) which was founded in 1996.  The AGSL offers laboratory services to members of the jewelry industry. 

Download the AGSL sample certification here.

Click here to learn more about the AGSL.

EGL USA

EGL USA’s main office is located in the heart of New York’s diamond district and has been there since 1977. The lab became independently owned and operated in 1986, and grew to include a west coast office in Los Angeles. Together, the labs certify diamonds and gemstones exclusively in North America, 

Download the EGL sample certification here.

Click here to learn more about EGL USA.