Diamond & Gemstone Guide

Certification of Diamonds:

There are only a few Diamond and Gemstone certification laboratories, in our years of experience, that we and the international community consider accurate, consistent, and fair. These labs are EGL (USA), GIA, AGS, IGI, PGS, and HRD.

We sell natural (never synthetic), Diamonds certified by these labs, and many are laser inscribed.

Selecting a Diamond

Here at M. J. Reed Jewelers, we have an endless variety of settings so that you have the greatest flexibility in designing your ring or other jewelry items. 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 yellow or other color Diamonds.

The separation between the different color grades is very small, and is measured by a trained, experienced jeweler, using both a careful examination and a comparison to a Master Diamond Color Grading Set.

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.

H-Color Diamond in 14K Yellow Gold Ring

K-Color Marquise Cut Diamond in 14K White Gold Ring

Cognac Colored Diamond in 14K White Gold Ring

Black Diamond in 14K White Gold Pendant

Canary Colored and White Diamond in 14K Yellow Gold Ring


A Diamonds clarity is judged by the type and location of inclusions- or natural imperfections occurring in the Diamond. The Diamond is graded on a scale from Flawless to Included, when examined with a 10X optically corrected magnification, by a trained, Diamond grading expert. On higher clarity grades (VVS, VS), the inclusions are only visible under a microscope. A good SI- Clarity stone may likely be very clean to the eye, but an I- Clarity Diamond will certainly have visible inclusions. All clarity is done at 10X magnification by a trained Diamond Grader.


Very Very Slightly Included

Very Slightly Included

Slightly Included



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

Carat Weight

Diamonds are traditionally weighed in carats, or points. A carat is equivalent to .02 grams. A point is one hundredth of a carat. So a Diamond that weighs a fourth of a carat might be said to weigh 252 points, or a collection of very small Diamonds might be said to weigh 10 points total.


The shape of a 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 and 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.


Rubies, emeralds and sapphires – even fancy colored Diamonds! The options for colored stones in fine jewelry are endless: rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and the list goes on. Precious gemstones are featured in Anniversary jewelry, engagement rings, wedding jewelry, birthday jewelry and all those pieces that mark a very special event.

Gemstones are valued slightly different from Diamonds. Natural stones come in a variety of colors, sizes and clarity, all of which impact the value of the stone. A sapphire can be a deep velvety blue, or a bright sparkling pink. A ruby can range from an opaque pinkish-red to a deep transparent blood-red. The best gemstones exhibit intense color, fiery brilliance, and sparkling transparency. Let us show you the differences!

Precious Metals

Fine jewelry can be made of any number of precious metals, and your choice depends on budget, color, and desired properties of the metals.


Gold is the most popular metal to make fine jewelry and can come in a variety of purities and colors. The purity of gold is measured in Karats: 100% pure gold is 24 Karat. Many jewelry items are made in 18K gold (75% pure), 14K gold (58.5% pure), and 10K gold (41% pure). Gold is naturally yellow in color, but because most gold jewelry contains some percentage of other metals, its color can be changed. White, yellow and rose gold in 18K, 14K, and 10K are all possibilities for jewelry.


Platinum is another precious metal option. It is denser and tougher than gold, and used in greater purity, allowing for the creation of very durable jewelry. Platinum is a silvery-white metal, which will not tarnish or fade.


Silver is the least expensive of the precious metals. All silver jewelry is made out of sterling silver, which is 92.5% pure silver. The remaining metal content is added to give it durability. The color of the metal is silvery-white. Over time, sterling silver will tarnish, but can always be polished back to a like-new shine with silver cleaner or a buffing cloth.

Why precious metals?

Over the past few years, there have been many different metals and materials offered as alternatives to traditional precious metal jewelry- for instance, titanium and tungsten men’s wedding bands. While they can be a less expensive and scratch free alternative, they come with their own pitfalls. Over time, your hands change shape, and accidents happen. Titanium, and other exotic materials, cannot necessarily be resized, nor can they be cut off in case of an emergency.

At M. J. Reed Jewelers, we only offer precious metals. These metals are tried and true, providing years of beautiful luster and adaptability. They can be resized, remade, and in case of an emergency, can be cut off the wearer’s hand without harm.

Our precious metal rings are entirely environmentally sustainable. Old gold, silver, and platinum rings are melted down and recycled to make new pieces every day. Even the time gold particles generated from casting and repairs are carefully collected and sent to be recycled. The gemstones set into our rings are entirely conflict free. When you wear a ring from M. J. Reed Jewelers, you can be sure you are wearing a quality piece of jewelry created through environmentally sustainable practice.



Antique is the most commonly used word to describe vintage jewelry design. For us At M.J. Reed Jewelers, antique jewelry is described best by jewelry that exhibits vintage motifs, fine old world details, like hand engraving, hand milgraining and intricate filigree work. Antique jewelry must be at least 80 years old to be considered antique, and made before the 1940s.

Victorian (1837-1900)

Victorian-era jewelry features nature-inspired designs that are delicately and intricately etched into gold. Lockets and brooches were popular in daytime jewelry during the early Victorian era, whereas colored Gemstones and Diamonds were worn during the evening. Diamonds and feminine, bright Gemstones such as Sapphire, Peridot, and Spinel were used in this design era. Star, crescent, feathers and other nature motifs were common in Victorian designs.

Edwardian (1900-1915)

The Edwardian period began upon the death of Queen Victoria, when her son Edward became King. During this period many of the Edwardian-designed pieces incorporated more expensive gems such as Diamonds, Emeralds and Rubies in elaborate designs. Dangle earrings were very popular during this time and very intricate details were added to designs. Edwardian jewelry was made to look as light and delicate as possible, reflecting the femininity of the Edwardian lady.

Art Nouveau (1895-1915)

Art Nouveau expresses the natural world with romanticized forms. From flowers and birds to mythical beings, an Art Nouveau piece freezes a moment in time. When creating a piece the elements of hand forged filigree was almost a must. Using gemstones in a sculptural way, carving them into various geometric art works using diamonds and other faceted gems as punctuation rather than the main focus.

Art Deco (1920-1930)

Art Deco jewelry motifs are characterized by geometric designs, diverse combinations of color, and abstract patterns. In 1922, the opening of Tutankhamen’s tomb in Egypt inspired another Egyptian revival. Art Deco era jewelry is recognized for its use of bold symmetry and geometric patterning.


Contemporary jewelry moves away from the excessive ornament details associated with estate pieces and focuses instead on framing the natural beauty of gems with clean design and modern shapes. The American Abstract expressionists dominated the art world in the 1940s and 50s. Artists saw themselves as pioneers, liberating the world from the bonds of tradition.


Like the word, this style of design focuses on earthy beauty. With curls, whimsical petals, vines, and feminine details, organic style jewelry pulls inspiration from anywhere and everywhere. Interpreting the natural world with metal and Gems.


M. J. Reed Jewelers utilizes a range of textures, finishes, as well as black and rough cut gemstones to achieve a very rustic, down-to-earth aesthetic. With precious materials appearing closer to their natural state, rustic wedding jewelry defies traditional notions about ‘perfection’ yet maintains a chic appeal all the same.