Diamond Buying Guide

Calvin's Round Brilliant Diamond

Acquiring a diamond is unlike any other purchase you will make in your lifetime. There is no more enduring symbol of love than a diamond. Additionally, there is no more durable gemstone than a diamond, so chances are the gem you select will be admired for generations. The staff at Calvin’s is committed to making the purchase of a diamond a pleasure instead of a task. We draw on the decades of combined experience educating clients in order to help you make a perfect choice.


The characteristics of a diamond that need consideration are the same regardless of the size or shape of the gem. These characteristics are generally known as “THE FOUR C’s”.

CARAT: the most easily compared characteristic of a diamond is its carat weight. To give you some scale, there are 5 carats in a gram. A carat is broken down into one hundred units called “points”. So a “fifty point” (.50) diamond is one half carat, a “thirty three point” (.33) diamond is a third carat and so on. Generally speaking, there is no subjectivity or variance in the carat weight of a diamond from store to store, or between grading reports or “certs”.

COLOR: does the diamond have any yellow, grey or other coloration that prevents it from being “colorless”, or “pure white”? Color is typically difficult to judge in a well cut stone when viewing from the top. We will be happy to show you in person how color is actually determined in a diamond. Then we can show you how color affects the pricing of a diamond so that you can make you own determination about which color of diamond is right for you.

CLARITY: can you see anything in the diamond, either to the naked eye or with magnification that keeps the gem from being “flawless”? There are 6 grades, identifiable only with 10X magnification that have a dramatic effect on price. We make it remarkably easy for you to see what to look for in diamond clarity.

CUT: does the diamond sparkle? Diamonds are prized for their brilliance, and that brilliance comes from the cut of the stone. Unlike color and clarity, it is nearly impossible to quantify the value and effect of cut in writing. Even a “GIA TRIPLE X” grading, meaning that the cut, symmetry and polish of a diamond are judged to “excellent” does not really tell you how much the diamond will sparkle. This can truly only be appreciated with the naked eye. At Calvin’s we put special emphasis on cut for a very good reason. Once the diamond is set, it becomes very difficult, even for a gemologist, to accurately judge the color and clarity. BUT you will always be aware of the sparkle and brilliance.


CERT: refers to an analysis or grading report issued by an independent gemological lab. Diamonds are not actually “certified”, but rather, evaluated. There are a remarkable number of gem “labs” around the world with varying degrees of consistency and accuracy. Without getting into the negatives of each lab, we rely almost exclusively on the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and EGL (US only). These two organizations have exhibited the consistency that we demand when representing a diamond to our clients.

CYBER: It is very tempting to explore the internet when seeking a diamond. After all, we can price compare clothes, shoes, toys and almost any other product by brand or description with a fair amount of confidence. When to comes to diamonds (or really any gemstone), shopping the web is the most risky path. While a site may offer an independent grading report, or even a GIA report, the color, clarity and carat weight are only about 50% of the story. The other 50% is the cut of the diamond. No one has yet found a reliable way to articulate the sparkle or brilliance of a diamond; it must be seen by the naked eye. And yet cut is a huge factor in the value of the diamond as well as its ultimate beauty. This is why when searching a web site you might see 4 or 5 diamonds (or more) with the same color, clarity and carat weight, and yet each at a different price. The most critical aspects of the diamond can only truly be appreciated in person.

Confidence: does not come from an e-mail or a customer service rep on the other end of the phone. It comes from visiting with a professional who will guide you through the purchase process, understand and ultimately fulfill your needs, and BE THERE when needed. Calvin’s has been in the same location for 20 years and Calvin and Jackie Smith stand behind each and every jewelry purchase. Whether it’s a sizing, repair, or diamond upgrade, our goal is complete and personal attention to your needs.