If you head into a purchase with no knowledge of diamonds, you could pay a lot more than you need to. It’s well worth taking the time to educate yourself a little, as this will make it more likely that you will get the best diamond at the best possible price.
Having knowledge means having a confident air about you when you do business with a seller. If you start the conversation by asking about the weight and the 4 C’s, the seller will automatically assume that you know more about diamonds than the average buyer, making them less likely to try and sell you something of a lesser quality at a higher price.
The first thing to consider is the Cut, which has nothing to do with the shape of the diamond. Terms such as pear, round, and princess refer to the shape of the diamond, while the cut is more about how the angles and finish reflect the light and make the gem sparkle.
Listed below are the basic rules of cut selection:
- The finest diamonds have what is referred to as an Ideal Cut, which means they will be particularly brilliant. This cut is only found on round diamonds.
- Premium Cut diamonds are also round, and while they are still a high-quality gem, they usually cost less for a seller to acquire than the Ideal Cut stones.
- Larger diamonds that reflect light well and which offer up a good deal of brilliance are known as Very Good diamonds. They cost less than the cuts discussed above.
- When a diamond cutter creates a larger stone as opposed to creating one in the premium category, you are usually left with a Good Cut. You still get a quality diamond here, albeit at a more affordable price.
- Fair and Poor Cut diamonds do not offer much in the way of brilliance and are usually cut to make a larger stone.
The next C that we need to talk about is Clarity.
As the word suggests, the clarity is all about how clear the diamond is and whether it has any internal flaws that might affect its brilliance. Flaws are never referred to as blemishes, but rather inclusions. A diamond with great clarity will sell at a high price.
You may hear a seller talk about ratings for inclusion not visible to the naked eye. These flaws are graded from F to SI, with the meaning of each grade listed below:
F – Flawless and extremely rare.
IF – Another rare type of diamond, this one will have surface flaws but no internal issues.
VVS1-VVS2- Very few inclusions will be found on these diamonds, with all flaws detected at 10X magnification by a diamond pro.
VS1-VS2 – Very similar to the previous grade, with minor inclusions found at 10X magnification.
SI1-SI2 – Very slightly included, although the flaws are easier to detect at 10X magnification.
I1-I2-I3 – These diamonds come with inclusions visible to the naked eye, and as such are not considered a good investment.
The next thing to discuss is the diamond Color, which actually has more to do with a lack of it as opposed to a lot of color. Diamonds that are colorless tend to refract more light and deliver a great sparkle. The more color a diamond has, the less light it will absorb. Colorless diamonds are a very rare find indeed.
Don’t be fooled by sellers who refer to a diamond as blue-white. What they are talking about here is fluorescence, which gives a diamond a milky appearance when exposed to sunlight, thus reducing its value. Sellers will try to make a diamond seem more sparkly by using lighting tricks, so always ask to see the stone in natural light.
There are some blues, yellows, and other colors of diamonds available, all of which are very rare and extremely valuable.
Jewelers use what is known as a GIA scale to rate all diamonds. D is the highest on the scale, which runs all the way to Z, which is the poorest quality.
When we talk about Carat, we talk about the weight of the diamond, with one carat equaling 0.2 grams. It goes without saying that larger diamonds are more expensive, especially since large diamonds are very rarely discovered. It’s worth noting that one large diamond has a greater value than 5 smaller ones which add up to the same weight. When buying a ring with a center stone surrounded by smaller diamonds, only ask about the weight of the diamond in the middle.
Before you hand over your money, be sure to ask for a grading report or diamond certificate put together by a professional gemologist. This report will include everything that you need to know about the stone, which will help prove the quality of your purchase.