Top Diamond Buying Tips
People sometimes find it daunting to pick out a new diamond. It isn’t easy to tell if a diamond is real or fake, or of good quality when you are just standing in the store looking at it. When you, as a diamond buyer, first consider purchasing a new piece, the first things that should come to mind are the 4 Cs: cut, clarity, color, and carat.
• Cut: The cut of a diamond is probably the most important thing to consider when buying unless you are a rough diamonds buyer. It is also the most over-looked, mainly because diamond buyers don’t necessarily know what it is. The cut does not refer to the shape at all, and this is a common mistake among jewelers and buyers alike. The cut actually refers to the reflective properties of the diamond. In other words, the cut is what brings out the brilliance inside a diamond when light is shone on it. Raw diamond buyers don’t have to worry about cut because raw diamonds aren’t meant to be brilliant. In a diamond with a good cut, light travels all the way through the gem and reflects back up through the surface.
• Clarity: When a buyer looks at clarity, the buyer is looking at the blemishes and inclusions that come with the diamond. A diamond’s clarity has no impact on the outward appearance, but it affects the value. Blemishes are identifying characteristics on the outside of the diamond such as scratches or chips. Blemishes usually occur during the cutting of the diamond. Inclusions are flaws on the inside of the diamond such as air bubbles or trapped minerals that were there when the diamond formed. Inclusions and blemishes aren’t usually visible to the naked eye and have to be observed under 10 x magnifications. Diamonds are graded for clarity from F for flawless (incredibly rare) to I-3 (Included 3). Diamonds with a clarity rating of I-3 have clear inclusions that are visible to the naked eye. These diamonds should be avoided at all costs because, in principle, the clearer the diamond, the more money it is worth.
• Color: When looking at the color of a diamond, buyers are looking more at the presence or the absence of color than the actual color. In order for a diamond to have a brilliant sparkle, there needs to be less color. The absence of color allows light to shine through and reflect easily throughout the diamond. Color is graded on a letter scale, ranging from D all the way down to Z. Colors closer to the D end of the grading scale are completely white or near white, while colors grading toward Z have more of a yellow tinge. [Fancy diamonds are not considered when grading colors. They are diamonds that are very rare and more valuable because of their different colors.]
• Carat Weight: A carat is a unit of measurement that buyers of diamonds should become familiar with. Gold and diamond buyers shouldn’t be confused here. Literally it is 200 milligrams, or .2 grams. The carat is used to weigh the diamond and obviously, the bigger the better. Usually, diamonds are made in very small quantities, so finding a larger diamond increases its value exponentially. When buying a diamond, try to find a good balance between size and quality. Making sure that the diamond has good color, cut, and clarity is still important, regardless of the size. Diamonds buyers also need to make sure that the diamond will fit the setting well.
Choose Diamond Setting
No matter what diamond you buy, the setting is what will set it off as a piece of jewelry. There are many different types of settings to choose from that fit well with different shapes and types of diamonds.
• Prong settings are used to accentuate the diamond and not the metal of the setting. The thin prongs just hold the diamond in place while the entire piece is still visible.
• Bezel settings are precious metals wrapped around the diamond, and sit on top of the ring giving it a very classic look.
• Channel settings go around the entire band of the ring between two thin pieces of metal. They go well with or without a round stone in the center of the ring.
• Paved settings cover the shank of the ring in diamonds in a pattern that looks like a sort of pavement. The diamonds do not actually touch each other, but little bits of metal are placed in between them to hold them in place.
• Flush settings are when the diamond is sunk into the ring until it is level with the surface. Only the table and a small portion of the upper pavilion is shown when a stone is flush.
Every single diamond is different, just like a person’s fingerprint. Every diamond that has been registered with the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the American Gem Society (AGS) has a certificate that tells all of the details about that diamond. These certificates are accessible to jewelers everywhere, so be sure to ask for a certified diamond just to compare it to others and to make sure it is of quality. If you don’t see the certificate, then you are just taking in the jewelers’ claim of its quality. Although there are many other diamond graders, the GIA and the AGS are the most widely known and reputable. It is best to purchase diamonds that have been certified by one of those diamond graders, if possible.