Diamond Slang

Defining the Industry

In the jewelry industry we throw around a lot of slang terms like, “Chubbies, four grainers, off-makes and glow worms” to name a few. Some of this slang terminology is derived from decades of usage and other terms are technically correct definitions to describe a diamond like the “65/65 Rule.” What I tried to do in this article is give definitions of the most popular slang terms that jewelers, dealers and cutters have been using for years. Hopefully, it will make it a little easier for the consumer to understand the secret language we jewelers use on a day to day basis.


65/65 Rule

A rectangular diamond whose table and total depth percentage does not exceed 65% of the diamonds width.

As Is

A diamond that comes with no bonding or warranties. Its sale is final, no exceptions after the buyer takes possession from the vendor.
Back Alley A diamond that has had at least one previous owner and is being purchased on the secondary market. Example: Joe has purchased a Back Alley diamond. Translation: Joe has bought a used diamond.


A marquise shaped diamond whose length to width ratio exceeds 2.25 to 1. The diamond appears to have been stretched to look like a banana.
Big Brother Diamond Trading Company a.k.a. DeBeers.
Bling Bling A sparkly valuable diamond or diamond jewelry.
Blue Booked The dollar value placed on a diamond at time of purchase that the seller agrees to purchase the diamond back at some time in the future.
Bonded Synonymous with warranty. All diamonds are either fully bonded, partially bonded or not bonded. A new subcategory that has been popularized of late is the fully bonded diamond with an expiration date i.e. a limited lifetime warranty. The diamond is warranted not for the life of the diamond or person but for the life of the warranty itself. Most of these bogus warranty packages (breakage guarantee, buyback, exchange) run 90 days. A true fully bonded diamond has no expiration date or restocking fee.
Canaries A canary diamond is yellow in color due to the fact it is saturated with nitrogen. The four main categories of canaries are light fancy, fancy, intense fancy and vivid.
Chubbies Diamonds that are poorly proportioned. Typically, diamonds that have over-sized girdles or deep pavilions that cause the diamonds to appear smaller than they should when viewed from the top for any given weight.
Cognac A brown diamond dramatized as attractive and valuable with an appealing title.
Decorate the
How the facets are arranged on a diamond.
Doublet A diamond or gemstone that is made of two pieces. Example: The crown is diamond but it is epoxied to a pavilion made out of cubic zirconia.
Duping The con of selling a diamond with a Lab Grading Report or GIA appraisal that does not match the diamond being sold but rather matches a diamond that was shown loose to make the initial sale and later switched for the understudy.
Estate A diamond or piece of jewelry that has been previously owned and is up for sale.
Fancies Has two meanings. 1.) Any shape other than a round diamond or 2.) Any diamond of any particular color of the rainbow but white. These would include: blues, pinks, violets, and yellows to name a few. The most famous fancy in the world is “The Hope Diamond,” which is steel blue.
Fisheye The circular centrally dark light pattern that appears in the table of a round diamond when it is cut shallow. It derives its nickname due to the fact that the light leakage through the pavilion creates the look from the crown of that of a fish’s eye.
Footballs The opposite of a banana shape marquise which is too long. Rather a football is a marquise that closely resembles the shape of a football. A marquise could be described as a football if its length to width ratio is less than 1.75 to 1.
Fully Warranted Can be synonymous with fully bonded. A diamond that has a breakage, buyback, exchange and market crash guarantee. When it comes with no expiration dates, it is considered fully bonded, otherwise it is a limited lifetime warranty
Glow Worms A diamond that exhibits fluorescence in the presence of ultra violet light. Fluorescent diamonds are 20% less valuable than non-fluorescent diamonds.
Grade Bumping A diamond whose clarity or color grade has been raised by one or more grades by a lab, appraiser or salesman to enhance the value of the diamond.
Grainers In the orient, diamonds were weighed using grains of rice. (4 grains = 1/5 of a gram which = a 1ct diamond on a counter balance) Example: a 6 grainer = 1 1/2ct diamond
Grandfather An old diamond (Old Miners, Old European) or a diamond whose paperwork is outdated. A Lab Grading Report is considered a grandfather when it is over six months old and an appraisal is considered a grandfather at two years old.
Hot Rocks Diamonds whose country of origin (South Africa, Sierra Leon, etc.) is linked to fueling wars and oppression with the funds acquired from the sale or barter of diamonds.
Illusion Setting The placement of a diamond into a mirrored high polished plate of metal to give the illusion that the diamond is larger than it appears from a distance.
Laser Drilled A diamond whose carbon has been drilled out with a laser.
Melee Small diamonds, usually used to describe diamonds under 1/4ct in size.
Off-makes Generally speaking, a poorly proportioned diamond that is either cut too shallow, too deep or warped. All Class 3 and Class 4 cut diamonds are considered off-makes.
Old European A round diamond popularly cut in the early 1900’s for the public from European cutting houses. These diamonds had the same characteristics as an Old Miners (small table, high crown, open culet) with the exception that they were not squarish round but round in diameter.
Old Miners

A squarish round diamond typically 75 years or older whose facet arrangement is highlighted by a small table, high crown and open culet. Old Miners are also referred to as heavy makes.
Orphan A diamond that is being sold at an auction and has no current owner that is wearing it. Orphan can also be used to describe a diamond that does have an owner but the owner no longer wears it. Example: Mary owns a beautiful 2ct orphaned diamond. She should rescue it from her safety deposit box.
Padded See spreads and chubbies. The cutter kept extra weight on the stone that does not optimize the optics of the diamond. Only goal is to increase revenue.
P.B.’s Not peanut butter, but “Partially Bonded.” A diamond with some warranties.
Pegasus, Monarch or Bellataire Brand names for annealed (heated, baked) diamonds introduced into the market by General Electric and Lazare Kaplan in 1998.
Pick Pocketing A salesman has been said to be “pick pocketing” a customer when he uses the two month salary guideline in order to get as much money from a client in order to make a larger sale.
Plot The mapping of inclusions and blemishes on a paper diagram of the facet arrangement of any given diamond for identification purposes. Similar to a fingerprint.
River Rock A diamond that is so heavily included (I2 and I3’s) that they deserve to be thrown in the river. River rock is synonymous with a bad diamond of little or no value.
Rovals A poorly proportioned oval diamond that has a length to width ratio under 1.2 to 1 causing the diamond to look not quite round and not quite oval. Hence “Roval.”
Sandbagger An appraiser who misgrades an appraisal to sabotage a sale in order to recommend that the client purchase somewhere else.
Single Cuts Round diamonds that have less than 16 facets.
Spreads A diamond that is purposely cut wide to give the impression that the diamond is larger than its corresponding weight when viewed from the top. All spreads are also shallow with less than 38% light return.
Warped A diamond whose crown height percentage + maximum girdle thickness percentage + pavilion depth percentage doesn’t equal the total depth percentage within .5%.
The founder and president of Diamond Cutters International, Fred Cuellar is one of the top diamond experts in the world, as well as a three-time Guinness Book record holder in jewelry design.
Fred Cuellar
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