How to Shop for Diamonds?
If I could offer just one piece of advice it would be: “Learn as much as you can about the 4C before you go shopping.”
For those who don’t know, that’s the cut, color, clarity and weight of the carat. And I want to add one more – common sense.
Choosing the perfect diamond (and there is no such thing as a “perfect” diamond, although some are close) is a matter of personal taste as well as diamond characteristics.
Some couples are willing to sacrifice quality for size, others prefer the perfect brilliance of a blue-and-white diamond over a larger stone with less clarity.
You’re on the jury – but not until you’re clear about the characteristics I mention. I suggest you read our Diamond Buying Guide, or go to one of the quality online jewelry stores such as http://www.bluenile.com or http://www.mondera.com.
Talk to any jeweler and they will all give you a different opinion on what they believe to be the most important diamond quality.
According to Mayer Herz, Vice President of Diamond Acquisition at Mondera.com, “Cutting is the most important consideration if you are on a budget. You can substitute color and low clarity if the stone is cut well.”
However, Joseph Schlussel, Publisher of the Diamond Registry Bulletin, said, “I personally believe color is the most important thing. Most people who go to the store today are told about the cut. But I saw what you could see with the naked eye. I would cut it. the last one, because most people can’t see it. ”
The safest all-round bet is to look for the whole “package,” with the best cut, clarity, color and size you can get for the price you are willing to pay.
Here are my tips to help you get the best score possible:
- * Make sure you get a Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or American Gem Society (AGS) Certificate when buying a diamond. Certificates guarantee that you get what you paid for.
- * If you’re buying at a retail store, ask to see your diamonds on a white sheet (or pick up your own diamonds – even a sheet of white paper will do!). Jewelers usually use black flannel to show off the stone because all diamonds look white against black.
- * The American Gem Society says that a diamond cut can affect the price by as much as 50%. A well-cut diamond, when viewed from above, will sparkle with a brilliance that you won’t find in other precious stones.
- * Most diamonds have defects (called inclusions) that developed during their formation millions of years ago. Some are impossible to see with the naked eye, others glare at you. The more inclusions, the worse the quality of the diamond, and the less light it emits. But those are all trade-offs – fewer inclusions means more expensive diamonds.
Knowledge is power, and the more you understand about how diamonds are valued and how it determines the price you will pay, the better you can judge what constitutes good value.
Most importantly, remember that you will be the one wearing them, and hopefully for a long time, so the final decision is yours. My first diamond had a deep hairline gap, and I loved diamonds for their minor flaws just as much as I loved my husband because of him!