The CUT of a diamond refers to how well it will reflect light and optimize brilliance. Skilled and honest diamond cutters facet diamonds in an attempt to closely match a scientifically formulated optical proportions model. A successful effort will release maximum brilliance from each diamond, but a failure results in dull stones of lesser value. The G.I.A. (Gemological Institute of America) and A.G.S.L. (American Gem Society Laboratories) impartially assess the cut grade of a certified diamond according to the proportions, polish, and symmetry of its facets.


A round diamond, the only diamond shape that receives a cut grade, receives one of the following five G.I.A. grades: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, or Poor. (A.G.S.L. also includes an “Ideal” cut grade which is in essence equivalent to G.I.A.’s “Excellent” classification). “Fancy” shaped diamonds, which include princess-cuts, emerald-cuts or any diamond shape that is not round, are only scored for their polish and symmetry and are not given a cut grade.


To simplify these grading systems, Sasha Primak’s “Design Your Own” tool gives users the ability to narrow down their diamond search through five categories that unify the grades given by the G.I.A., A.G.S.L., as well as the evaluations of Sasha Primak’s own gemological experts. The five categories are: Excellent, Ideal, Very Good, Good, and Select.    EXCELLENT cut diamonds are those graded as “Excellent” on their G.I.A. certificate. IDEAL diamonds are those that have been graded “Ideal” on their A.G.S.L. certificate. The mathematically superior proportions of these two categories of diamonds ensure maximum brilliance, fire, and scintillation. Diamonds that are listed as GOOD or VERY GOOD are diamonds that have been assessed such grades on their respective certificates. Finally, certified diamonds found in the SELECT category are those which never received a cut grade, (only in 2006 did the G.I.A. begin grading diamond cut) however, these diamonds have been carefully examined by Sasha Primak’s staff of gemologists and, if graded, would all fall in the range between “Good” and “Excellent.”  These diamonds typically represent the best value available in the market today.
(back to top)

The CLARITY of a diamond is graded according to the quantity, size, and position of natural imperfections known as blemishes and inclusions. A blemish can be a scratch, pit, or any type of flaw found on the outside of a diamond, while inclusions are created internally during the formation of a diamond. Inclusions are regarded as a diamond’s fingerprint, making each one unique and distinguishable. Most inclusions can only be seen under magnification and, if prevalent, can affect the diamond's ability to reflect light, therefore influencing the stone's quality and value.

The GIA’s (Gemological Institute of America’s) grading scale has become the standard tool to measure a diamond's clarity. The scale is comprised of 11 clarity grades ranging from “Flawless” to “Included.” A "Flawless" clarity grade means that a diamond has no blemishes or inclusions that are visible to a skilled grader under 10X magnification. These diamonds are exceptionally rare and therefore extremely valuable.

The majority of diamonds sold today are those graded as “Very Slightly Included” (VS1/VS2) or “Slightly Included” (SI1/SI2). A clarity grade of VS1/VS2 means that inclusions or blemishes can be observed using 10X magnification, but they are deemed to be minor. If an SI1/SI2 clarity grade is given, this means that imperfections are noticeable to a skilled grader under 10X magnification.

When purchasing jewelry that prominently features an individual diamond, such as a solitaire engagement ring, it is important to understand the clarity grade and how it affects the overall appearance of a diamond.

(back to top)

The COLOR of a diamond is evaluated in terms of how closely it is to being colorless. Since the internal color of a diamond will affect its overall brilliance and ability to disperse light, diamonds that are colorless or near-colorless are more rare and, therefore, more valuable. The further a diamond is from being colorless, the more it will appear to have a yellowish or brownish tint.

The diamond industry adheres to the GIA’s (Gemological Institute of America’s) standard for grading diamond color. In this system, diamonds graded from “D” to “F” are considered to be in the colorless range, with “D” color stones being completely colorless and incredibly rare. Diamond grades from “G” to “J” indicate that the stones are in the near-colorless range. Grades from “K” to “Z” represent diamonds that range from having faint color to a very yellowish hue.

In addition to the normal color range, there is also a grading system that focuses on distinct colors of diamonds, known as “Fancy” colors. These diamonds are graded on how intensely and vibrantly they show a particular color. Exceptionally rare and valuable, these fancy color diamonds may include bright pinks, reds, blues, velvety purples, and more.

(back to top)

The standard unit of measurement for the weight of a diamond is the carat (ct). One carat is equal to 0.20 grams. Diamond weight is typically measured to one thousandth of a carat and then rounded to the nearest hundredth to ensure a precise assessment.

When reading the carat weight of a diamond, jewelers often understand it in terms of “points,” where one carat is equal to 100 points. For example, a diamond weight of 0.75 ct would be spoken as “75 points” or referred to as a “75-pointer.” Carat weight is also frequently expressed as a fraction or decimal. For example, a 75-point diamond could also be expressed as weighing ¾ ct or 0.75 ct. Similarly, a 25-point diamond is equal to ¼ ct or 0.25 ct.

If cut, color, and clarity are equal, a larger diamond will most likely cost more. Prices typically increase exponentially as carat weight increases due to the fact that larger diamonds occur in nature very rarely compared to smaller diamonds. A good tip is to always consider a diamond's weight as it relates to the other factors of its overall quality. For instance, a larger diamond that has been cut poorly or has a poor color rating might not be as desirable as a smaller, higher-quality stone. Likewise, a diamond of better color, cut and clarity might be more affordable in a smaller carat weight. Always consider your budget and personal preferences before purchasing.

(back to top)

Diamonds are cut in a variety of shapes to create different styles of jewelry and to appeal to many different individual tastes. A diamond shape is cut based on the diamond cutter’s examination of the innate shape of a rough, raw diamond crystal. A skilled diamond cutter will assess the attributes of a raw stone and then select a shape that will maximize the stone's weight as well as its fire and brilliance.

The round brilliant cut diamond is the most popular, but others, known as “Fancy” shapes, such as the princess, marquise, and emerald cut, are also mainstays in the diamond market. In addition to common fancy shapes, there are a myriad of other innovative and whimsical cuts including oval, asscher, cushion, pear, trillian, heart, star, flower, cloverleaf, kite, baguette, barrel, bullet, crescent, half-moon, shield, trapeze, pentagon, hexagon, keystone, epaulet, and calf's head, to name a few. Many of these cuts are used as smaller "side" stones that, for example, might accompany a center diamond in a three-stone ring. There are also countless variations of the standard shapes shown below.

(back to top)

A diamond purchase represents a major investment in time, energy, and money. At Sasha Primak, we make every effort to ensure that diamonds have been carefully examined and graded.

Assessment of each loose diamond is completed by the most respected independent laboratories in diamond grading: GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and AGSL (American Gem Society Laboratories). The procedures used by these esteemed organizations to grade diamonds are designed to achieve the utmost accuracy. Each diamond is subject to the scrutiny and analysis of experienced diamond graders and gemologists who use the latest optical tools and most up-to-date identification techniques. Every diamond’s grading report details an authoritative review of a diamond’s 4 C’s
color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. Since these labs are not affiliated with any retailer, wholesaler, or manufacturer, you gain extra peace of mind and confidence knowing that your report represents the impartial opinion of unbiased professionals.

In addition to the diamond grading certificate supplied by these independent laboratories, every order placed with Sasha Primak is shipped with an appraisal completed by our own expert gemologists. If you will be shopping for insurance on your important Sasha Primak purchase, insurance companies will need this appraisal to determine your coverage.

Thanks to these thorough diamond grading techniques, you can confidently shop Sasha Primak knowing that your expression of love is also a financially sound purchase.

(back to top)

Completely pure precious metals are rarely used in jewelry manufacturing. They are typically too soft, too hard, or too expensive and therefore must be mixed (alloyed) with other metals. This mixing process is known as “karating-down” of pure gold, platinum, or palladium.

The oldest of the standard alloy systems is the Karat Scale, in which gold content is stated in terms of karats (k) ranging from 1 to 24. In this system, the karatage represents the percentage of pure gold found, where 24k gold is equal to 100% gold content. Karat measurements are calculated by dividing the number by 24. For example, 18k gold would be equal to 18/24 or, stated as a percentage, 75% pure gold. Likewise, jewelry made in 14k gold represents an alloy that is 58.3% pure gold.

Purity, also known as fineness, is often expressed in terms of parts per thousand. For instance, an alloy that has a fineness of 950 would contain 5%, or 50 parts per thousand, of other metals. Likewise, an 18k alloy would be understood as being 750 parts fine and a 14k alloy would have a fineness of 585.

While numerous variations of precious metal alloys exist, Sasha Primak only offers a select few that have proven over time to have the physical properties and consistent color that ideally suits our jewelry. Each alloy we use is proprietary, field-tested, and guaranteed to satisfy our strict quality requirements, as well as FTC standards for jewelry metals. In addition, all of them are guaranteed to pass the European Nickel Release test. Our alloys, presented in order of cost from highest to lowest, represent an unbeatable combination of quality and beauty: Platinum (950), Gold (750/18k), and Palladium (950).

(back to top)

Every diamond setting style creates a diverse range of overall aesthetics. While some are more advantageous for certain purposes, the choice of which setting to purchase is strictly a question of personal likes and dislikes.

Bar: Commonly used in wedding and anniversary bands, this setting style indicates that each stone is separated by thin bars that actually serve to secure the adjoining stones in place.

Bezel: In this type of setting, a stone is completely surrounded by metal, ensuring that the diamond is absolutely secure inside of a continuous metal rim. A bezel setting can accommodate the shape of any particular stone.

Channel: A series of stones are carefully nestled side-by-side and set within a groove, or channel, in the walls of a piece of jewelry. Commonly used for wedding and anniversary bands, this setting results in diamonds showing a smooth, uniform band of light, providing excellent stone protection.

Cluster: This is a style where several smaller stones are set close together in a cluster that surrounds a larger center stone. This is meant to create the illusion of having one big stone and is most commonly used in fashion jewelry such as rings, earrings, and pendants.

Flush: A setting where the stone is sunk into the metal until it is nearly level with the surface of the ring. This provides additional protection for larger stones and is most commonly used for rings.

Invisible: A technique where stones are set tightly next to each other, often in rows, with the metal that secures them hidden underneath. This setting enhances the brilliance of the diamonds and offers the illusion of larger stones.

Pavè: This setting style features many tiny stones set closely together to provide a uniform, glittering surface. Sasha Primak takes exceptional pride in true pavè setting done completely by hand. You can tell the difference in our pavè work because the surfaces are silky and smooth, with no stones raised above the surface. This helps to prevent jewelry from being caught on clothing or other fabrics.

Prong: Sometimes referred to as a “claw” setting, this style is the most popular type of setting for engagement rings, particularly for larger diamonds. Consisting of four, five, or six evenly spaced prongs (or claws), a prong setting securely cradles a stone within the mounting and raises it high above the shank, emphasizing the significance on the stone. This setting’s popularity is largely due to the fact that it allows the maximum amount of light to enter from all angles, intensifying a stone's brilliance.

(back to top)