Diamond Buying Guide

The 4 C's
When searching for your diamond, knowing about Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat Weight will give you more confidence in making your selection. The 4C’s are an internationally recognized grading criteria. Color, Clarity, and Cut refer to the gem’s visual qualities.


Your diamond’s clarity profile is determined by the unique characteristics found within it. Since no two diamonds are alike, nature has identified each diamond by its inclusions, or its fingerprints. Generally, these inclusions are minute imbedded crystals or other minerals trapped in the diamond during its formation. Diamond clarity is judged by the lack of inclusions. A diamond is termed flawless only if it has no internal inclusions or external detriments visible under a standard ten-power jeweler’s loupe. Flawless and internally flawless diamonds are exceedingly rare, and their worth is extraordinary.
learn about the different qualities of diamonds
learn about the different qualities of diamonds


A diamond’s color grade actually refers to its lack of color. Color in diamonds results from traces of other elements which mixed with carbon during the diamond’s formation. Generally, gem-quality diamonds, when seen alone, appear to be colorless to the untrained eye. Most diamonds actually contain a subtle hint of yellow, brown, or gray, but the colorless or near colorless are the most valuable. To determine the color of an unmounted diamond, Lee Michaels compares the loose diamond to an American Gem Society (AGS) “Master Set” of diamonds whose color, clarity and proportion have been certified.
explanation of color variations of diamonds
explanation of color variations of diamonds


Of the 4C’s, Carat Weight is the easiest to determine since all precious gems are weighed in carats. Diamonds are accurately weighed only when they are loose, or free from any mounting. The universally recognized metric carat equals .2 grams or 1/142 of an ounce and is divided into 100 points. Thus, a one-half carat diamond is 50 points or .50 carat. As diamonds increase in size, the price per carat increases exponentially. Of the diamonds mined annually, at most only 10% are gem quality when cut and finished. Thus, a diamond that weighs 2.00 carats will be more than double the price of a 1.00 carat diamond of the same quality.
scale of diamonds by carat
scale of diamonds by carat


Cut is the only human contribution to the diamond’s beauty. It is the most critical of the 4Cs because so much of a diamond’s value depends on the diamond cutter achieving the ultimate brilliance. A well-cut diamond will internally reflect light from one mirror-like facet to another and disperse and reflect it through the top of the stone. Each facet or plane of the diamond’s surface when properly placed, allows light to interact within the diamond and return to the eye as fire or brilliance.
Diamond cut guide
Diamond cut guide


Exceptional Cut is a diamond of precise proportions with exceptional polish and symmetry. Although this usually results in the most weight loss from the rough material, it achieves the most brilliant, scintillating gem. Only 5% of all round, brilliant cut diamonds qualify meeting the ultimate light dispersion.


Deep Cut is a diamond that appears smaller than it weighs as most of the weight lies in the pavilion or the depth. If the cut of the diamond is too deep, some light escapes through the sides causing the diamond to look dark.


Shallow Cut is a diamond that appears larger than it weighs as most of the weight is in the diameter. Light escapes out the bottom, and the diamond loses brilliance.

CONFIDENCE, Lee Michaels 5th C

Just as important as the 4C’s of diamond quality is the Lee Michaels Fifth C — Confidence in us as your preferred jeweler of choice. Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry demonstrates that commitment to you through our professional and gemological credentials, superior service, quality, and value. We appreciate our customers including us in their most joyous life events. We are honored to be part of such brilliant experiences.
rendering  of different shapes of diamonds
rendering  of different shapes of diamonds
Diamond Shapes
Shape is the one diamond factor that allows a diamond cutter to express creativity and imagination. Throughout history the shape of a finished diamond has taken many forms. The term shape in reference to diamonds is often confused with the technical term cut. It is the precision of the cut that determines the diamond’s fire, brilliance, and ultimate beauty.

Lee Michaels Has the Best Value and Selection of Diamonds in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and New Mexico

The name on the box assures you the following: Value: Your diamond was selected from one of the major cutting centers in the world where our purchasing power assures the best values. However, at any time within 30 days of your purchase, you may return your diamond with proof of purchase for a full refund. Although our customers rarely use this service, it is our way of making sure you are completely satisfied. Strict Grading: Your diamond was graded and identified by the most rigorous standards of Lee Michaels Registered Jewelers, Certified Gemologist Appraisers trained by the Gemological Institute of America and the American Gem Society. Because of our strict quality standards, you know your diamond’s quality has been confirmed. Conflict-free: Lee Michaels purchases only from suppliers who affirm that the diamonds are from legitimate sources who are in full compliance with the United Nations Resolutions on conflict-free diamond trading. Lifetime Valuation Update: Your diamond purchase over $1,000 is accompanied by a written valuation containing the full description of your diamond’s characteristics. Complimentary updates are provided at your request. Lifetime Trade-In Opportunity: Your diamond may be traded in at any time for another Lee Michaels diamond provided your new selection is twice the retail value of the diamond to be traded. Lifetime Cleaning & Inspection: Your diamond may be cleaned and inspected at any of our stores with our compliments. Ultimate Guarantee: Your diamond up to four carats will be replaced at no charge whether lost from the original mounting or damaged in the mounting, provided: Lee Michaels’ professionals inspect and service the diamond every six months which includes, any recommended repairs being made, and each inspection is recorded in the Diamond Inspection Log on the back of the Ultimate Diamond Guarantee you receive with your purchase. Some terms and limitations apply. Confidentiality: All of the Lee Michaels associates keep your purchase information in the strictest confidence.
Diamond Collections
SHOP Diamond Collections
Did you know you can upgrade your diamond studs?
Here's an example of how it works: You purchased a pair of .75ctw diamond studs 2 years ago for $975. You now want a pair of 1.5ctw diamond studs for $2,695. We give you credit for $975, taking the .75ctw pair back. You owe the difference of $1,720. Visit us in stores or click below to Learn More.

Frequently asked questions about Diamonds, their history, their value and more.

Diamond FAQs

Lee, Chad, Scott and Ryan Berg
Lee, Chad, Scott and Ryan Berg
Dear Friends,
There is something indescribable about the moment you discover the diamond meant for the person you love. Part of the thrill is anticipating that those feelings will be reflected in the emotions of the person who accepts it. When we open our doors every day, we anticipate a similar excitement for celebrating love, romance, and relationships. It’s why we have planned an Extraordinary Experience for you in choosing the diamond for the most important person in your life. We know that selection can be challenging and we also know that finding a trusted professional is a critical decision. We take our professional responsibility very seriously to search the world’s cutting centers for the most brilliant diamonds at the very best values. When you see our name on the box, you know the diamond you choose is one of only two we selected from every 20 diamonds we see. We invite you to visit any of our stores to discover your diamond and your moment. We promise you an Extraordinary Experience from opening our door to opening our box.

Available In Stores & Online

Browse a larger assortment of diamonds and meet our specially trained associates to learn more and select the perfect sparkler for your collection. Visit any Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry Store, located in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, Louisiana, San Antonio, Texas, Albuquerque, New Mexico and Jackson, Mississippi.