How to Buy a Diamond
Selecting a diamond involves more than a casual trip to the jewelry store. Armed with the proper information, you can make a much more informed decision. Begin by choosing the shape of diamond you prefer, and take special note of which shape looks best on your finger. Although the round diamond is the most popular and brightest, diamonds come in many cuts including: oval, princess, marquise, radiant or even heart-shaped. Recently there has been new technology allowing amazingly bright cuts to multiple diamond shapes. Some of these are improvements others are not. We think the Star 129 is the brightest cut today. Don't buy another cut until you compare these with other cuts we carry.
Selecting a Diamond
How well the diamond is cut is by far the most important determiner of how bright a diamond will be. Many jewelers skirt this discussion because they can “swindle” a stone and be able to sell the diamond for up to 40% less. If you “swindle” the diamond (cutting it more shallow, but with a larger diameter) the brilliance is badly effected. Some use the term “Ideal” as the best cut available. Unfortunately, this is a range not specific proportions, and some jewelers use this term very loosely.
Examining the diamond's color is an important second step. Some diamonds have an undesirable yellow, gray or brown cast. Pure and colorless diamonds are at the very top of the color scale. You can also buy diamonds in fancy colors such as purple, red, blue, etc. These diamonds are very rare and more expensive than the normal clear to yellow varieties. If the diamond has nitrogen trapped in it when it is formed, it will have a slight yellow color. It is not the yellow color that is the culprit here though. When there is nitrogen in the stone it absorbs all the waves of light accept yellow. The yellow is only an indicator of how much light that is being absorbed and not reflected back out of the stone.
The diamond's clarity, or degree of minute inclusions, is the least important, up to a point. A 'flawless' diamond, one that is free from any and all inclusions or blemishes, is extremely rare. Diamonds are rated on a clarity scale that grades diamonds from 'flawless' to 'obvious inclusions’. The higher the diamond's rating on this scale, the greater is its cost and value.
The weight of a diamond is measured in carats. The greater the carat weight, the more valuable the diamond can be. Keep in mind that since the larger stones are indeed rare, two 1 /2-carat diamonds will be considerably less expensive than a single 1-carat diamond stone.
If you compare several diamonds side by side, you can select the best choice in your price range. No two diamonds are alike, so examine all of them carefully for their brilliance. Make your final decision based on which diamond offers the best combination of the four C's: clarity, color, cut and carat. Ignoring any of these important attributes will jeopardize your chances of getting the best diamond for your money. Be sure that you have a jeweler that is qualified to help you with this decision. Buy from a jeweler who will guide you through the process. A good jeweler will help you assess how much you can spend, show you a wide selection of diamonds, and explain the four C's. Buying a loose diamond gives you the option of selecting a suitable mounting or designing a custom setting around the stone.
How do you pick a good jeweler? Look for one that has certified gemologists on staff and that is willing to show you and teach you about what you are buying. Only the finer stores have gemologists on staff to assist you and to do appraisals. Our gemologists have spent many years of course work, studying gemstones. Becoming an expert in gemology is not something you can learn by spending a few hours on the Internet. A little knowledge can be helpful or a dangerous thing. Trusting qualified experts will assure you of a fulfilling jewelry experience. Buying from a truly knowledgeable jeweler will give you the fifth “C”…Confidence.
Qualified gems may have a certificate from several different organisations. One of the best of these is The Gemological Institute of America (GIA.) It is one of the largest impartial diamond-grading authorities in the world and issues grading reports that detail the diamond's specifications. However, do not take all organisation's certificates as gospel. They are good guidelines, but many are quite flatly wrong, to the point of being misleading. Your jeweler will guide you and help you select the best diamond or other precious stone for you. He wants to develop a lifelong customer out of you, not just a one-time sale. Beware of the “jeweler” you cannot see who is not concerned with giving you the service you deserve for being a good customer. Many people on the internet will promise anything to make them look good irregardless of what the truth is.
Finally, the largest possible diamond you can afford is not always your best value. You can be overlooking quality in favor of size and ending up with a less desirable stone. Balancing all factors is the best approach to choosing a quality diamond. Stop in and browse with a good high quality jeweler, and let him or her show you a selection of options offered. You can make the right selection and be a big part in this important process. Jewelers with years of experience and design awards to their credit can make this an incredibly rewarding experience for you. Ask the jeweler for his credentials…he or she will be happy to share them.
If you choose wisely you can look at your diamond for years to come and still marvel how incredibly beautiful it is, and how you made the right selection from a jeweler you can trust.