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A diamond forms deep in the earth under extreme heat and pressure. These unique conditions result in a diamond’s atoms linking in a special way, making it the hardest substance on earth. This makes them ideal for everyday wear.

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) uses four characteristics to grade diamonds: color, cut, clarity, and carat weight. Below is a brief introduction to each of these characteristics. It is important to note that a diamond’s value is determined using all four characteristics.


A diamond’s cut is measured by how its facets interact with light. Diamond cut can be graded as excellent, very good, good, fair and poor. For our standard solitaire diamond rings set with round brilliant cut white diamonds, we recommend either excellent or very good cuts only, allowing the diamond to truly show its beauty.


The GIA grades diamonds in alphabetical order from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow color). D, E, and F are colorless and the most rare, which makes them the most valuable. G-J are near colorless, meaning they look colorless from the top of the stone, or the table, but can show a slight hint of yellow from the bottom of the stone, or the pavillion. The faint yellow is not usually visible once the stone is set, making this range a very appealing choice. K-M range diamonds have a faint, N-R very light, and S-Z light yellow color visible from the table and the pavillion of the stone. The yellow is caused by a trace of nitrogen, and can often be very attractive depending on your aesthetic preferences.


When a diamond forms, other materials or smaller diamond crystals often get trapped inside the diamond. These natural inclusions are also referred to as clarity characteristics. Based on their placement and size to a trained gemologist under 10x magnification, the diamonds are graded as such:

F — flawless
IF — internally flawless
VVS1, VVS2 — very very slightly included 1 or 2
VS1, VS2 — very slightly included 1 or 2
SI1, SI2, — slightly included 1 or 2
I1, I2, I3 — included 1, 2 or 3

Most diamonds in our SH Wedding collection are VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2, and S1 clarity, but we can source almost any clarity for you.

Carat Weight

This characteristic measures a diamond’s total weight. One carat is equal to 0.2 grams.

All of our center diamonds in the SH Wedding collection come with a GIA certificate which lists precise qualities of each diamond using these four parameters. GIA prescribes each diamond a unique GIA number which is laser inscribed on the widest part of the diamond (called the girdle).