How to Choose a DIamond


When it comes to diamond shopping, there’s a lot to consider. What kind of stone exemplifies your love story? Should I buy a diamond online? How do I know it’s a real diamond? The process can go from joyful to daunting if you’re not sure what to look for. We’ve broken down the essentials with what the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) deems the four C’s, the most important characteristics when it comes to diamond shopping.

michael m crown collection

View the MICHAEL M Crown collection.

CARAT WEIGHT- A major factor when it comes to price, carat weight or CW is the weight of the stone. While the weight doesn’t make a significant difference in clarity, the cut does. 

CLARITY- When it comes to clarity, it’s all about the grade. With 11 grades spanning six categories, the GIA notes that a grade of VVS1 (very very slightly included) or VVS2 (very slightly included) are ideal, as these grades hint at barely noticeable imperfections, like clouding and knots, under 10x magnification. Asscher and Emerald cuts tend to show imperfections more whereas a Round cut does not. Another thing to look for are diamonds with an IF (internally flawless) grade which means under 10x magnification, there are no visible flaws.

MICHAEL M princess engagement ring

View the MICHAEL M Princess collection.

COLOR- When diamonds are mined, they don’t always come out sparkling. The market grading scale ranges from D for the most colorless to Z for being yellow (and not so brilliant) in color. White diamonds five carats and up, colorless (D,E,F) and a clarity grade of VVS1 or VVS2 or better are things to look for. The color of a white diamond is graded D to G, while colored diamonds are deemed at best vivid and at worst light fancy.


  • D-F: The highest grade of diamond, completely colorless with the most brilliance. 


  • G-H, I-J: Near colorless diamonds, but great value.


  • K: Faintly noticeable color within the stone, but more affordable.
  • Z: At the bottom of the scale when it comes to quality, these diamonds have a noticeable yellow hue. These are not the same as Fancy diamonds, graded on a different scale.

CUT- A measurement of how light reflects within the diamond, these are things to pay attention to:

Ideal: Very few if any imperfections and high brilliance. High light reflection. 

Very Good: Slight imperfections that aren’t visible to the naked eye. Reflects as much light as the ideal but for a lower price.

Good: Few imperfections. The brilliance of the diamond might be impacted by aspects such as a pavilion angle variation or a missing facet. 

Fair: More dull with several imperfections. The brilliance of the diamond is lowered by misshapen features.

Poor: Glassy, dull and without any symmetry. No brilliance. 


Authenticity is paramount when it comes to a diamond. Be sure you receive a certificate from an accredited, internationally-recognized body like the GIA. It means that the diamond has been independently assessed for authenticity and graded according to its quality.

Any diamond purchase should come with this certificate; not one that is written in-house by the jeweler or dealer as this bears no meaning on the stone’s authenticity. Each stone should also have a laser inscription corresponding to its certificate, which should be checked by an independent third party.