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Diamond Education

Diamond Education

Selecting the perfect diamond can be a daunting experience.  However, with the right guidance and an understanding of the basic principles, you can be confident with your selection and excited about making the right purchase for your loved ones for generations to come. 

Porter Lyons is built on the belief that buying diamonds and designing should be an enjoyable experience! Our education guidelines will highlight everything you need to know so that you can feel knowledgeable and assured when making your selection. 


In order to understand a diamond, one must know every stone is unique.  Just like snowflakes & people, no two diamonds are exactly alike.  Therefore, to understand a diamonds' qualities, we depend upon the Gemological Institute of America’s (GIA) globally accepted standard for describing diamonds, otherwise known as the 4 Cs of Diamond Quality. 

THE 4 Cs 


Of the 4 Cs, the "cut" is the most crucial component to a stone’s overall beauty and value.  The Cut should not be confused with the “shape” of a diamond.  The Cut is an objective measure of a diamond’s light performance or “sparkle”.  In an ideally cut stone, the light entering the diamond reflects internally from facet to facet, and is reflected out only through the top of the stone, called the Crown, thus creating the fire and brilliance of the stone. If a diamond is cut too shallow or too deep, light leaks out the bottom or the sides of the stone, causing the stone to appear dark. 


The “shape” of a diamond refers to the overall outline of the stone.  There is no “right”, “wrong”, “good”, or “bad” when it comes to the shape of a stone.  The beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.   


After the diamond Cut, Color is generally considered the second most important attribute when selecting a diamond.  A diamond’s color grade refers to the lack of color in the stone.  The GIA grades diamond color on a scale beginning with D, which represents “colorless”, and continues to Z as the presence of color increases.  While most diamonds appear to have no color to the untrained eye, in fact most stones usually contain slight tones of yellow.  Diamonds in the D-to-F range are considered “Colorless”, and therefore are the most expensive.  Diamonds in the G-to-J range are considered “Near Colorless” and are often considerably less expensive.  Beyond the J-grade, diamonds are considered to have “Faint Noticeable color”.  


The diamond Carat weight is a measurement of how much a diamond weighs.  Each carat is divided into 100 “points”.  For example, a half-Carat stone is considered a “50 point diamond”.  All else being equal, diamond price increases with Carat weight because larger diamonds are more rare, and thus more desirable. 


When selecting a diamond one must consider all the 4 Cs and decide which factors are the most important to them.  Here are some key points to keep in mind: 

  • The eye tends to notice sparkle before color, which is why Color is generally considered the second most important characteristic of diamond, after Cut. 
  • The sparkle of a well-Cut diamond can make it appear larger than the actual carat weight might suggest. 
  • As diamond size increases, Color becomes more visible. 
  • In general, one will not notice a difference in Color without jumping two color grades.  When considering an "H" versus an "I" where all other factors are similar, the lower color grade might be worth the savings. 
  • The type of the metal type can affect the appearance of the diamond. For example, yellow gold will make the diamond look slightly more yellow and platinum will make it look more colorless.