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Max Aria on Identifying Quality Diamonds

Max Aria has been involved in the diamond market for several years. Throughout his youth, his interests in business, wealth, and world politics led him to study law and economics. During his studies in Australia, he worked for a diamond and gold wholesaler. Within a year, Aria was able to buyout the owners and transform the company into one successfully focused on diamonds. He later founded Australia’s first specialized engagement ring company. Now working out of San Diego, California, Aria shares his best tips for identifying quality diamonds plus a few words of wisdom for new buyers.

The first step when purchasing a diamond, like any product, is education. Before committing to any product, including gems, we must do the research, Aria explains. Understand first what you expect from your purchase. Will the diamond be for an engagement ring, a piece of prized jewelry, or unset and meant as an investment? This will inform where you shop for the diamond and who reliable, trustworthy dealers are in your area.

For most buyers, Aria suggests familiarizing yourself with the four C’s of diamond: carat, color, clarity, and cut. These are the criteria on which a diamond is graded, he explains, and will inform the overall quality of the diamond and its value.


Most people believe that carat refers to the size of a diamond or gemstone, says Aria; however, carat is actually a measurement of mass. A carat is equal to 200 milligrams or 0.00643 ounces. It is therefore a very specific measurement used to accurately weigh gemstones and pearls. Generally, heavier diamonds, or gems of a higher carat, are valued higher because they are rarer than their lighter counterparts.


A colorless diamond is the rarest gem and therefore the most desirable, Aria explains. These are the diamonds most people imagine in engagement rings and set in high value jewelry. In reality, diamonds come in a range of color from colorless to tinged with yellow. They are evaluated on a scale of D (or colorless) to Z (lightly colored). The larger the diamond, the easier it will be to identify its color; however, diamonds ranging from D to E often require a professional to discern. Gems rated from S to Z will be easier to see with the naked eye. Often, when shopping for diamond in a jewelry setting, it is important to be aware or ask about the color grading of the diamond. Often jewelers will choose warmer settings for diamonds with more of a yellow tinge and white gold or platinum settings for colorless diamonds.

Of course, says Aria, it’s important to note that a diamonded rated Z for color is not the same as a “Fancy Yellow” diamond, which has another grading system.


Diamonds are formed with intense heat and pressure. These natural elements, whether deep in the ground or simulated in a laboratory, can cause imperfections in a diamond. Imperfections on the surface are referred to as blemishes while imperfections within the diamond are referred to as inclusions, says Aria. Diamonds are rated on a scale from 0 or flawless to 10 where imperfections are visible to the naked eye. Flawless diamonds are, of course, the rarest and are therefore the most valued.


Some might believe that a diamond is beautiful no matter how it is cut, but the cut of the gem significantly informs the sparkling quality we associate with a diamond. A gem that is cut too deep or too shallow will sparkle less in the light than one that is well proportioned. Some of the terms you might hear when discussing cut are brilliance, fire, and scintillation, which all refer to the play of light and sparkle on the diamond under white lights, Aria advises. The cut of the diamond can be graded on a scale of one or excellent to ten or poor. Poorly cut diamonds appear dull and are thus not as valuable as their excellent counterparts.

All four of these factors inform the overall value of a diamond. Max Aria suggests having a reputable jeweler provide a grading certificate for the diamond you purchase in order to insure you are receiving the diamond you pay for and have reference for the future.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes

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