Picking a Diamond

Picking a Diamond

Here at M. J. Reed Jewelers, we carry a variety of settings so that you have the greatest flexibility in designing your ring or pendant. But how do you choose the perfect diamond?

Diamonds are graded by the four C’s – Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat. Deciding which characteristics are the most important to you is entirely a matter of personal preference and budget. 


Diamond color is graded on a scale from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow). In general, the whiter the diamond, the more valuable it is – with the exception of diamonds with strong natural color, such as fancy canary diamonds.

The differences between the different color grades are very small, and are measured by careful examination and comparison to a Master Diamond set by a trained jeweler.

We carry a variety of color grades to fit every design and budget. Many rings feature center stones in the colorless (D-F) or near colorless (G-J) ranges.

14K Yellow Gold Diamond Wedding SetH-Color Diamond in 14K Yellow Gold Ring
14K White Gold Marquise Diamond RingK-Color Marquise Cut Diamond in 14K White Gold Ring
14K White Gold Black Diamond NecklaceBlack Diamond in 14K White Gold Pendant
14K White Gold Cognac Diamond RingCognac Colored Diamond in 14K White Gold Ring
14K Yellow Gold Canary Diamond RingCanary Colored and White Diamonds in 14K Yellow Gold Ring


A diamond’s clarity is judged by the number of inclusions – or natural imperfections – occurring in the diamond. The stone is graded on a scale from Included (imperfections visible to the naked eye) to Flawless. On higher clarity grades (VVS, VS), the inclusions are only visible under a microscope. A good SI stone may likewise be very clean to the eye, but I-clarity diamonds will certainly have visible inclusions.

Flawless Diamond
Very Very Slightly Included Diamond
Very Very Slightly Included (VVS)
Very Slightly Included Diamond
Very Slightly Included (VS)
Slightly Included Diamond
Slightly Included (SI)
Included Diamond
Included (I)


Cut refers to the shaping and faceting of the diamond, and heavily affects the sparkle of the stone. The cut of the diamond is about more than just the shape – the value of a cut is determined by how closely it conforms to ideal proportions. An ideal cut will reflect light from the stone to achieve the most brilliance, fire, and scintillation. A small diamond with a better cut will be a far more beautiful stone than a very large diamond with a poor cut; but a larger diamond with a fair cut will be less expensive.


Diamonds are traditionally weighed in carats, or points. A carat is equivalent to 0.2 grams. A point is one hundredth of a carat. So a diamond that weighs a fourth of a carat might be said to weigh 25 points, or a collection of very small diamonds might be said to weigh 10 points total.


The shape of the diamond is another consideration, outside of the 4 C’s. Over the years, diamonds have been cut in a variety of shapes according to fashion and the desired effect. The most popular shape is the round brilliant cut, followed by the princess cut, but other shapes such as marquise, emerald, and pear remain options for those looking for something a bit different.

Round Cut


Princess Cut


Marquise Cut


Oval Cut


Pear Cut


Emerald Cut