Buying a diamond can be very challenging, even for people that are familiar with the industry. For a complete novice, it’s not uncommon to see a look of panic sweep over their face as they walk into a diamond store, trying (and failing), to appear as if they know what they are looking for.
Look, there is no denying the fact that there are endless options and considerations when buying a diamond. Everything from personal preferences, vendors, the 4 C’s, where to buy and even how to buy the diamond of your dream.
I see your panicked faces and have 10 easy tips to help you feel knowledgeable and confident about finding and purchasing your ideal diamond.
Follow These 10 Tips to Find Your Ideal Diamond!
1. Make a Budget
To start you’ve got to have at least a ball park figure for how much you can/want to spend on your diamond. A budget will help narrow your choices to a manageable level and ensure that your diamond choice doesn’t make your life uncomfortable, because you made an impulse purchase and now you’re in debt. Try to cast off the emotional aspect and really consider how much you can afford to spend. Once you have a budget, you’re going to be positioned for the best possible start. Your diamond search has received its first refinement.
2. Prioritize the 4 C's
Diamonds are graded according to 4 C’s (Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat) but they are not equal in the eyes of the industry, nor should they be for you. You need to find out, for yourself, what characteristics of the diamond are most important to you. Then prioritize these choices to help narrow your search further. This will help you focus in on the right diamond for you – a diamond that maximizes the happiness that it will produce in you.
3. Buy Certified Diamonds
Buying a certified diamond is not just a good idea, it is the only idea you should consider. There are two main reasons for buying a diamond that comes with a certification. The first is authenticity – to know that your diamond is a real diamond, which, I think you’d agree, is quite important. The second is to know the characteristics of your diamonds in terms of 4 C’s (Size, Color, Clarity and Cut). There are number of gemological labs in the market, the main ones to consider are GIA and AGS. Both are known to be more professional in how they grade and more consistent with their grading. The diamonds that are certified by those two are more expensive when compared to diamonds with the same grading level but from other labs.
4. Choose Clarity
When choosing from the clarity grade range (Flawless to I3) it is easy to get confused. At the top of the scale is the Flawless diamond; they have no visible flaws, even under microscope, and are priced accordingly. On the bottom end of the scale are I3 clarity diamonds (the “I” means “Included”, which are flaws) and these are best suited for industrial use where looks don’t matter. For most people, the best grades are going to be SI1, SI2 and some I1 clarity graded diamonds. There is great value to be found in these grades, as long as you do your homework. If you have just landed a big inheritance, congratulations, you could use your bigger budget to go up a level or two and find a really special diamond in the VSI range.
5. Choose Color
Diamond color is really a matter of preference, with a lot of different and contradictory opinions being shared. If you are going for a white diamond, for me there is no major difference between the ranges of D – G colors, especially when talking about round shapes. At the end of the day they will all look white/colorless – that is a promise from the Diamond Geek.
If you want to go with true white and don’t want to spend an arm and a leg, stick with F or G colors.
If you care less about color, but still want the diamond to look white: H, I, J and even K (in round diamonds) are great choices.
If you are not a huge white diamond fan and also want a yellow setting, you can look to the next letters in line – L, M, N and even P color.
If you go for a fancy color diamond, the sky is the limit, but remember that Intense and Vivid diamonds are much more expensive than the lighter tones.
6. Choose Cut
Call me a Geek, but I am a huge fan of a diamond cut. I am not talking about triple excellent diamonds, in terms of grading, but simply about a diamond that has a nice cut to accentuate its features. A well cut diamond will shine and feel more expressive than a diamond with a poor cut. When talking about certified diamonds, choosing the best graded diamond is a natural choice, but going for the “Very Good” grade in all three parameters (symmetry, proportions and cut) should get you a great diamond for a reasonable price.
7. Choose Size
Is bigger always better? Diamond size has a huge impact over price, due to rarity. If size is most important to you and you are on a budget, you would really have to compromise. Personally, I would advise to make size the last priority. Be clever and you can take advantage of the pricing categories. For example – going for a 0.92 carat diamond, instead of 1.00-1.05 carats, can save you 12-20% on a diamond with the same color, clarity and cut. A 0.85 carat diamond can save you even more and both look almost the same!
8. Choose Shape
Diamond shape is a true personal choice. The most important thing to know is that round diamonds are the most popular and consequently also the most expensive shapes. If you are a fan of Round diamonds, but willing to compromise and want to save a bit, Cushion and Oval diamonds are very close in looks to Round diamonds, but cost less. Personally, I’m a big fan of Radiant, Oval and Emerald shapes, which I think are stunning. Bottom line, go for the shape that speaks the loudest to you.
9. Understand Online vs. Local
Buying from a local (brick and mortar) diamond store has the obvious advantage of having a person to talk with. For a lot of people this is an important factor in the process of purchasing important items, like diamonds. There’s definitely something to seeing your diamond options in person, plus you know you will always have a place to clean and fix your jewels, which is something to consider.
The other option is shopping online. Buying from an online vendor has two main advantages: better pricing and larger inventory. There’s an added bonus of being able to buy a diamond from the comfort of your couch and, even if not in person, there is usually good sales members to help you through the process. Just make sure you choose an online vendor that has real magnified photos to give you a clear view of the diamond’s clarity.
This is another personal choice; just make sure you search online to establish whether the store, be it online or local, is a trusted vendor.
Have Enough Information to Choose The Ideal Diamond?
10. Study The Service & Return Policy
Following on from the previous point, if you buy locally, make sure you get the best after-sale services; like being able to resize your jewelry and have it cleaned. These little extras can count for a lot.
When buying online, make sure your vendor has a return policy that you are comfortable with. Read the fine print on the site to establish your rights, ask their sales people direct questions about their return policy and look for online reviews and social media pages to see what customers are saying about the vendor.
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As you can see, there is a lot to consider when shopping for a diamond, but the 10 points above will make you aware of the basic principles to finding a great diamond deal.
If you want even deeper insights, go ahead and read my complete diamond buying guide.
Most importantly, if you need assistance, you are most welcome to contact me. My advice is always FREE and always valuable. That’s what the Diamond Geek is here for.