Anna Sheffield

Diamond School

Welcome to Diamond School, the Anna Sheffield guide to what are quite possibly the most appealing and mysterious of the earth’s ancient, alchemical materials—diamonds and gemstones.

From the fundamentals of the 4Cs and the search for flawless beauty, to the delightful balance of perfectly-imperfect diamonds, we hope this guide to precious gems and fine jewelry will help to inform and empower you as you seek out stones that are uniquely meaningful to you—and perfect for your love.

A white background with sprinkled different colored stones off to the right side of the image.
Diamond School

Cut & Shape

The Cut and Shape of a diamond are distinct yet interrelated. When using
the term Shape, we are essentially referencing the silhouette, or outline,
as seen from the top of the diamond. While Cut refers to the overall arrangement of the stone's facets and the way light is reflected through them. Put simply, Shape is an aesthetic choice, and Cut contributes most to how beautifully a gemstone sparkles.

At Anna Sheffield, we work with a select set of shapes and cuts ideal for our designs; each stone is chosen for its particular combination of attributes from brilliance to timelessness, perfection to uniqueness.

Diamond School


Formed over eons deep within the earth, the creation of a diamond is part science, part alchemy.
Their transformation from carbon atoms to precious gemstone leaves a unique imprint: arrangements of tiny imperfections—called inclusions—that can be more, or less, visible.

An image of a white diamond, a grey diamond, and a black diamond on a flat surface

Graded on an 11-point scale created by the GIA, the size and position of
these blemishes is evaluated to determine the Clarity Rating. On one end, we work with stones that are flawless (FL) to very slightly included (VS1, VS2) though not visible to the naked eye. On the other end we celebrate and create jewelry with highly included stones—but only those whose one-of-a-kind arrangements within the diamond balance the perfectly imperfect, creating notable, singular beauty.


The number and location of inclusions determine a stone’s clarity rating. Some diamonds have no inclusions and are graded as flawless. The less inclusions a diamond carries, the more rare, and therefore more expensive, it is. However, only when a stone scores at or below the Slightly Included (SI) range do you begin to see imperfections with your unaided eye.  A tip: diamonds with a clarity of VS2 or VS1 offer great value, as inclusions won’t be seen, but the price per carat is far below that of a Flawless stone.


We source a number of one-of-a-kind included diamonds, and each is individually selected by Anna for it’s unique beauty, a story of the elements writ within the stone. A diamond’s inclusions each resemble their namesake ‘imperfection’ such as: cloud, feather, crystal, cavity, knot, and bruise. Their attraction lies in the aesthetic arrangement of these elements within the stone, each like a tiny work of art, or more accurately, nature.

Diamond School


The result of trace amounts of nitrogen and other elements present when their crystals form, diamonds' natural hues can range from perfectly colorless, or white, to grey, black, yellow, blue green and even pink. At Anna Sheffield, we love the flash of a flawless white as much as we adore the subtle intonations of grey and champagne and the richness of black diamonds.

  • D - F
  • G - J
    Near Colorless
  • K - M
  • N - R
    Very Light
  • S - Z

The diverse range of gemstones allows for a wide variety of exceptional jewelry pieces at different price points and holds true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 

Diamond School


Diamonds and precious gemstones are sized by their weight in metric carats, with one carat equal to 0.2 grams and each carat measured precisely to the 100th decimal place. As precious material, diamond prices generally increase with carat weight, but one must also take into consideration the other 4 Cs—color, clarity, cut, and character. Certain diamonds by virtue of their crystalline structure or the faceting of their cut, create variances in carat weight.

a black diamond round held by tweezers with a white background
a black diamond held between tweezers
a loose white diamond marquise held by tweezers on a white background
Diamond School


There are attributes to all gemstones–diamond and otherwise–that just can’t be summed up in a neat formula for color, cut, carat or clarity. Enter the 5th C. Quite possibly the least discussed yet truly impactful C is the one we refer to as Character. Character doesn’t come with a grading system, but it can speak to those almost indefinable traits that a molecular oddity created in the center of the earth (or in space!) might just have. That special twinkle that one stone might have that another does not. Those grey and black wisps and whirls that align inside the crystal just so. A hue that doesn’t quite fit in the scale of champagne. The feeling that this particular stone is calling to you! These are the ‘perfectly-imperfect’ attributes of Character that set diamonds apart.

A white diamond cushion, grey diamond marquise, and champagne diamond round sit on a flat surface side by side
Diamond School

Precious Gemstones

Neither too dark nor too pale and an even distribution of color throughout the gemstone is what makes an emerald, sapphire or ruby most desirable. As with diamonds, a gemstone’s clarity has to do with the number, size and position of inclusions that it contains. The fewer, smaller and less conspicuous the inclusions, the better—but remember their presence reflects the gemstone’s fascinating origin.

Transparency refers to the ability of a gemstone to transmit light. The quantity or absence of opacity determines what is called a stone's brilliance. Unlike diamonds, colored gemstones do not have a universal grading system. Professional jewelers do however tend to grade precious gems using the following:

  • Natural AAA

    few inclusions with high brilliance.

  • Natural AA

    moderately included with a bright, even hue.

  • Natural A

    heavily included and opaque; dark in color.

Diamond School

Semi-Precious Gemstones

We appreciate the rosy sparkle of peach morganite and the otherworldly fire of rainbow moonstones as much as we do the glittering beauty of a white diamond.  Each holds its own alchemical power and allure.  Seeking out stones of the highest quality available, we offer an inspired assortment of semi-precious gemstones including many that are certified single origin.

Diamond School

Precious Metals

Our fine jewelry and ceremonial rings are available in platinum, 14 karat or 18 karat gold—a karat (k) being the measure of purity. Pure gold is 24K, and any number below that means that other metals are mixed with the gold to form an alloy, which renders the material durable enough for daily wear. The gold that we use is entirely recycled; one of the many choices we make to create a more sustainable collection. 

Diamond School

Anatomy of a Ring

An Engagement ring is made up of many, small components, each with their own name and some with a particular function–for example, prongs are the tiny metal pieces that keep the stone or stones in place. Understanding this terminology will help to explain how these small design elements work across our myriad styles and will help to inform your choices for customization.

A diagram of the anatomy of an engagement ring
A cascade of wedding bands and an engagement rings on a pink background
Diamond School

Ceremonial Bands

Whether beautifully bare or diamond dusted, our curved nesting rings meet in infinite combinations inviting you create a look uniquely your own. A single band looks delicately minimal, while layering colors of diamonds and seed pearls creates an effect of luster and luxe. 

It's around us.
Between us.
Within us.
It's Alchemy.