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Do you know your diamonds? Have you seen various shapes, from brilliant (round), to marquise (oblong). Here’s a short lesson in judging a well-cut diamond.

Jewelers judge diamonds by four qualities. Cut is how a gem-cutter’s skill is determined. There are 57 or 58 angled planes called facets in a good cut that release the brilliant colors of a diamond. If it’s not cut just right, a diamond can lose light through the bottom. Diamonds are cut in many countries, but the major cutting centers are in New York, Antwerp, Tel Aviv and Bombay.

Jewelers will tell you that color is the hardest quality to judge. Most diamonds look white. However, with the right cut, tints of color from pink to light yellow appear. Color-graded stones with the label D, E or F are more expensive and much more rare.

Clarity is determined by nature. Over millions of years, the diamond formed to the level that it is and jewelers judge it’s clarity on scale from flawless to those with prominent imperfections. A flawless diamond will have only miniscule traces of non-crystallized carbon.

Carat-weight is the most commonly known factor in diamond assessment. Diamonds are weighed in metric carats and expressed in points. One carat weighs the same as a small paper clip and contains 100 points. Eighty percent of the world's rough diamond supply are produced in seven countries, Botswana, Russia, South Africa, Angola, Namibia, Australia and Zaire.