Think ahead before diamond shopping

It is important to consider details diligently before heading out to shop and even in the early stages of shopping for a diamond. You may want to set a budget before shopping. This will help you choose the highest quality diamond you can find for your money. Another rule of thumb is to do research. Learn as much as you can about diamond quality and price to prevent yourself from getting cheated. Then, it is pretty important that you shop around once you do hit the diamond trail. Visit several different jewelers for a wider selection. Only visit reputable jewelers. Avoid shopping for diamonds over the Internet, especially if purchasing an important piece such as an engagement ring. Always look for a diamond in person so you can examine the quality firsthand.

Shop in person, look for 4 C’s of diamonds

The best way to choose a diamond is to do it in person. You might consider making an appointment to come in and see several diamonds in your particular range. When you call to set up your appointment, diamond experts will likely ask you questions to get a feel for what you may be happy with. Then, when you come in, the experts will have prepared several diamonds for you to see. Then, with the diamonds side by side, you can best decide which is best for you. Once you’ve gotten this far you have already probably heard about the “4 C’s” of diamonds. They are carat, color, clarity and cut. The sum of the 4 C’s will ultimately determine the “5th C”, which is cost or cash. Don’t let someone convince you that you need a particular quality. Everybody has different needs. It is best to speak with an expert who is holding the diamond, can see it and describe it while speaking with you. You are not buying a certificate, you are buying a diamond.

Carat simply refers to weight

Probably the easiest of the five C’s to comprehend is the carat because it refers to the weight of the diamond measured in carats. One carat is 0.2 grams. It takes almost 142 carats to equal 1 ounce. One carat has what is referred to as 100 “points.” Therefore, a quarter carat would weight 25 “points.” A half carat 50 “points.” , a three quarter carat 75 “points” and so on.

Color refers to visible tint

The actual visible “tint” of the diamond its called its color. The highest color and most rare is colorless. The worldwide color scale, derived by GIA (The Gemological Institute of America), starts at D and goes through Z and beyond to the fancy and vivid colors. Most diamonds sold in retail stores are near colorless to faint or light brown or faint yellow. There are even what as referred to as “fancy” colored diamonds which are below “Z” on the color scale in colors such as yellow, blue, pink and red. With the exception of the rare fancy colors, colorless diamonds command the highest prices.

Clarity means no blemishes

is the degree to which a diamond is free of blemishes and “inclusions.” Inclusions are internal “imperfections” in the diamond. Some inclusions are caused by conditions present when the diamond was formed, others during the cutting process. Since nature makes nothing absolutely pure or perfect those diamonds with few inclusions are rare and command a higher value or price. The industry wide scale ranges from the low end of “gem quality” diamonds I3 to the best flawless.

Cut refers to proportions

The cut refers not to the shape of the diamond but to the proportions to which the stone was polished. This is a touchy subject because it is difficult to measure “brilliance” in a diamond. However, there are several theories behind cutting the “ideal” diamond such as the one by Tolkowski. The AGS (American Gem Society), has come up with a “cut grade” with all their diamond reports. Based upon this theory and others we can conclude that the best cut diamonds fall into a range. AGS grades their perfectly cut diamonds 0 on a scale of 0 – 10. AGS ideal 0 cuts are extremely rare and consequently will cost much more. Very fine cut diamonds, AGS 1 and 2 grades, are also rare but also exhibit extreme brilliance and provide a great value.

Where you buy diamonds can determine cost

By purchasing the diamond from a diamond seller, you will pay 20 to 40 percent less than you would at a traditional jewelry store. The savings on the diamond may actually pay for the setting.

Often, a customer will shop for a diamond using a traditional jeweler, even if they eventually purchase online. The buyer is able to see various diamond sizes, shapes, and qualities first hand; allowing for a more informed and confident online purchase. In some cases, the customer may decide to purchase from the local jeweler based on their service and selection.