Let us educate you on how the characteristics and finer details of the international standard scale of diamond grading, as established by the G.I.A. (Gemological Institute of America).

Using our own large inventory of diamonds as examples, we will take our time explaining what the different diamond grades mean and how it affects their appearance and value. 

 We will never pressure you to buy in a hurry, in fact, quite the opposite is true. We are so confident in our quality per price that we always encourage our buyers to take their time to research and explore what other jewelry stores in San Antonio have to offer.

If you've done your homework, you'll be back!

Origin Of The 4C's

Every diamond is a miracle of time and place and chance.  Like snowflakes or fingerprints, no two are exactly alike.  This creates a tremendous diversity in the look of a diamond... some diamonds are brilliant while others seem lifeless.

Until the middle of the twentieth century, there was no agreed-upon standard by which diamonds could be judged. The Gemological Institute Of America (GIA) created the first, and now globally accepted standard for describing diamonds:    Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat Weight. 

The creation of this standard (now commonly known as the 4C's) meant two very important things: diamond quality could be communicated in a universal language, and diamond customers could now know exactly what they were about to purchase. Today, the 4Cs of Diamond Quality is the international standard for assessing the quality of any diamond, anywhere.


The diamond color evaluation of most gem-quality diamonds is based on the absence of color. A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue, like a drop of pure water, and consequently, a higher value. 

GIA's D-to-Z diamond color-grading system measures the degree of colorlessness by comparing a stone under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions to masterstones stones of established color value.


Natural diamonds are the result of carbon exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep in the earth. This process can result in a variety of internal characteristics called 'inclusions' and external characteristics called 'blemishes.' 

Evaluating diamond clarity involves determining the number, size, relief, nature, and position of these characteristics, as well as how these affect the overall appearance of the stone. While no diamond is perfectly pure, the closer it comes, the higher its value.



Diamonds are renowned for their ability to transmit light and sparkle so intensely. We often think of a diamond's cut as shape (round, emerald, pear), but a diamond's cut grade is really about how well a diamond's facets interact with light.

Precise artistry and workmanship are required to fashion a stone so its proportions, symmetry, and polish deliver the magnificent return of light only possible in a diamond.


Diamond carat weight is the measurement of how much a diamond weighs. A metric "carat" is defined as 200 milligrams.

Each carat can be subdivided into 100 'points.' This allows very precise measurements to the hundredth decimal place. A jeweler may describe the weight of a diamond below one carat by its 'points' alone. For instance, the jeweler may refer to a diamond that weighs 0.25 carats as a 'twenty-five pointer. ' Diamond weights greater than one carat are expressed in carats and decimals. A 1.08 carat stone would be described as 'one point oh eight carats.'

Anatomy Of A Diamond

Colored Gemstones

Colored gemstones set in dazzling jewelry pieces are often works of art. With an endless choice of color & brilliance, gemstone jewelry is simultaneously beautiful and joyous, and always sure to be eye-catching!

Let Cristina's help you learn about the vast ocean of colored gemstones. We will teach you about the many different precious and semi-precious stones, and help to discern between stones of similar hues and tones and show you stones you've probably never heard of or seen before. 

Whether your stone choice be based on seasonal selections, birthstone clothing/fashion matching, or if you are simply looking for the perfect stone to complement your beautiful eye color, please allow Cristina's the privilege of helping you to feel confident in your choice.

Precious vs. Semi-Precious

Generally, only diamonds, rubies, sapphires, & emeralds are considered precious stones.  Every other gemstone that isn’t one of those four is considered to be semi precious.  Though generally the precious stones are in higher demand and generally command higher prices, it can be very tricky because some stones considered semi-precious can demand extremely high prices while some of the precious stones will have much lower values based on their inferior quality.  

This separation between precious and semi precious has no real scientific backing, although it should be noted that the precious stones tend to create less trouble for jewelry repair, renovation, & customization.  This is because all 4 of the precious stones are able to withstand generally higher temperatures.  Furthermore, 3 of the 4 precious stones (diamonds, rubies, & sapphires) are molecularly stronger & harder than most other stones (emeralds are more fragile because they can crack and/or break more easily).   These 2 previously mentioned factors enable jewelers to more easily fashion the precious metals surrounding the stones while simultaneously creating a jewelry item that can generally considered to have more longevity. 

When purchasing a gemstone, we wouldn’t suggest getting too caught up on if the stone is precious versus semi precious. All gemstones are precious, in the sense that if they provide meaning and value to you in a piece of jewelry, they are special!  Bare in mind that colors are subjective and a piece of jewelry is emotional.

Traditional Birthstones

Possible Healing Properties

The splendor of colored gemstones has been a source of endless fascination for thousands of years. From our ancient ancestors to today, people have associated color (and consequently, colored stones) with dynamic qualities of vitality and vigor — and infused them with mythical, magical, medical, therapeutic, and symbolic properties.  We make no claims about the scientific truth of such beliefs, but it's certainly of tremendous interest, if only for a topic of conversation.  Below are just some of the well-known beliefs concerning the healing properties of gemstones.

  • Amber -Thought to aid memory loss, purify the body, alleviate headaches, and bone and heart problems, Amber is known for its stress relieving and calming properties.
  • Amethyst - Aids in the reduction of insomnia, arthritis, pain relief, and circulatory issues. Amethyst is considered the gemstone of meditation, peace, balance, courage, and inner strength.
  • Aquamarine - Aids the liver, throat, stomach, jaw, teeth, eyes, and ears. Aquamarine is also known for releasing fear, calming nerves, and bringing mental clarity.
  • Citrine - Considered the gemstone to provide greater or increased hearing, Citrine also promotes success, abundance, and clear thinking.
  • Garnet - Aids blood, heart, and lungs and is known to promote romantic love, passion, sensuality, and intimacy.
  • Lapis - Thought to aid in the alleviation of insomnia and depression, Lapis is also known for creating openness, truthfulness, and creativity.
  • Onyx - Associated with the root chakra, Onyx brings spiritual inspiration, and control over emotions.
  • Pearl - Known for its calming properties, the Pearl is said to aid purity, charity, integrity, truth, and loyalty in its wearer.
  • Peridot - Healing stress in relationships, lessening anger and jealousy, and slowing aging, the Peridot promotes abundance and prosperity.
  • Ruby - Aiding the emotions is the Ruby's calling card. Also known to increase integrity, devotion, and happiness.
  • Sapphire - The gemstone of creative expression and inner peace and meditation, the Sapphire also aids in personal expression and the alleviation of pain.
  • Topaz - One of the most powerful gemstones, Topaz facilitates the balance of emotions and provides protection from greed.
  • Turquoise - A gemstone steeped in lore and tradition, Turquoise is a healing and balancing stone.