When it comes to buying diamonds, it can be easy to fall into the trap of being emotional and shelling out far more than you intended.
It is, however, possible to buy an affordable diamond without looking like you’ve wasted money on a cheap knock-off. And that’s great news for anyone on a budget!
To make a smart purchase, especially when buying a diamond stone, one must follow the following steps.
Know the 4Cs.
Have adequate knowledge of the various diamond cutting shapes, styles, and quality.
Select a metal to be used with the Ring/Band.
Choose the suitable side stones
Have a view of the diamond under various lighting conditions
Get an outstanding sparkle and size
Decide on the amount of money you would wish to spend on the diamond
To understand what contributes to the value and expense of a diamond, you need to be familiar with the ‘four Cs’: cut, carat, color, and clarity.
Once you understand the four Cs, you can use them to your advantage, and pick the perfectly priced diamond to dazzle your intended.
1. Understand about Diamond Cut Quality
The difference between a dull lump of rock and a dazzling diamond comes down to the cut, which gives the sparkle to the stone. There are no limits to the different shapes a diamond can be cut, including round, princess, cushion, oval, marquise, pear, emerald, and heart.
Diamond cuts are rated as excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor depending on how they measure up to the following:
How does the diamond look from above and what is its face-up appearance? Is it bright? Does it have a fire?
How is the design of the cut? Is it balanced and durable?
Has it been well crafted? This usually takes into consideration the polish and symmetry of the cut. Good symmetry will make a diamond-bright and scintillating. The craftsmanship affects how the light passes through the diamond and reflects out of it. A good polish ensures a smooth surface to the rock.
Expert tip: Round diamonds are perennially the most popular shape of a diamond – but they’re also the priciest. Carat for carat, you may be able to get a larger diamond for the same price, if it’s a different shape.
2. Know more about Diamond Carat
The carat weight of a diamond is usually the factor that affects the cost the most. A carat is equal to 200 milligrams, or 100 points.
It stands to reason that the bigger the diamond, the more it will cost. The reason for this is simple: bigger diamonds are rarer to find.
Expert tip: Minor differences in carat weight can have a disproportionate impact on the cost. For example, two diamonds can look nearly identical, but one will cost several hundred dollars more even if it differs by 0.1 carats. It can help to put the diamond you want side-by-side with one that’s 10 or 15 points less, to see that there isn’t as much of a difference as you thought – and it can save you thousands of dollars.
3. Diamond Color Grade
If you thought that all diamonds were clear or white, think again. In fact, most diamonds actually have a yellowish tint of varying strength. The scale to determine the color of a diamond ranges from D to Z, with D to F being colorless and therefore the rarest and most valuable. As you go down the scale towards Z, the diamonds become progressively more tinted.
Diamonds also come in a range of ‘fancy colors’, including black, blue, pink, brown, and yellow, but these are graded and priced differently.
Expert tip: D color diamonds are very rare, and you will pay accordingly. The human eye can only start to detect a tint from J onwards, so if you pick a diamond in the H or I range, it will still appear colorless but will be more affordable.
4. Diamond Clarity
Diamond clarity looks at if a diamond has any imperfections. The more clean or clear, the more valuable it is. Some flaws are easy to see, but others can only be seen under magnification. Flaws can either be an inherent part of the stone as a result of how it formed, or they can be as a result of the manufacturing process.
Some imperfections that you might find in a diamond are crystals, chips, cavities, graining, bruises, burns polish lines, or scratches. The scale ranges from F (flawless inside and out) to I1, I2, and I3 (included, three levels).
Expert tip: It can be quite difficult to see the imperfections in a diamond with the naked eye, depending on where in the diamond they are located. If you look at an SI2 (slightly included, two levels) diamond and can’t see any of the flaws without magnification, you can save a lot on the diamond without compromising on its appeal.
How to Buy a Diamond
The first step when setting out to buy a diamond is to know what your priorities are.
The factor that influences the price of a diamond the most is the carat weight. A more complex design can influence the price too.
The more ornate it is, the more it will cost. You also need to factor in certification and insurance costs.
In order to keep the price of your diamond to a minimum, you need to figure out which characteristics you’re willing to compromise on.
An expert tip is not to compromise on the quality of the cut; this contributes the most to a diamond’s brilliance.
If you don’t yet know what design the stone will be set in, choose a shape that can work in any setting that has been cut in a way that flatters the stone most.
This is especially important if you’ve chosen a lower-carat diamond.
Additionally, it’s important to consider if there are other elements of the ring beside the diamond.
The more intricate the setting, the more it’s going to cost. Also, consider the thickness of the band, and if you want any other stones or something like pearls to go into it too.
As Shirley Bassey sang, ‘diamonds are forever’.
They are an investment and making the right choice can be both challenging and thrilling.
But it will all be worth it when you have a sparkler in your hand that didn’t break the bank.
What to Know When Buying Diamond
For anyone buying a diamond stone for the first time, things can be a little confusing. Below are eight hacks that are likely to be of help for anyone buying a diamond. To begin with, first time buyers of diamond often find the price to be higher than they ever anticipated hence the need to compromise carefully. For anyone wishing to acquire a diamond, it is vital to review one’s finances and decide on the type of diamond they can afford after reviewing the prices online. Secondly, it is economical to consider alternatives to mined diamonds. This is because, even though these metals have the same durability and elegance as mined diamonds, they are less costly.
When buying a diamond, the cut quality is also a significant factor of consideration. Among the 4Cs, the cut is the most critical factor because it makes any imperfections associated with color and clarity less noticeable. One should also consider that diamonds come in various shapes and therefore choose a shape that will stand up for the crowd.
How to Pick a Good Diamond
With many types of diamonds to choose from, finding the best kind of diamond can sometimes be overwhelming compared to a jewelry store where there may be limited varieties to choose from. Even though people have unique searches for a diamond, one may find the following steps to be helpful.
- Choose the shape of your diamond as no shape is better than your desire.
- Set a carat weight minimum as per your desires. If, for instance, your heart set on a one-carat diamond, buying a half-carat diamond will be a disappointment.
- Begin with the highest quality of diamonds identified in step 1 and the minimum carat weight, as determined in step 2.
- If, after conducting the above steps, one finds himself or herself outside the budget, repeat the process using new thresholds, i.e., by reducing the clarity, color, and finally, the cut.
- At this point, if one is still outside the budget, the next step will depend on an individual’s preference and the need for the diamond. For instance, if the diamond preferred is under one carat, one should consider dropping it to SI2.
- Narrow down on the color of your choice, keeping in mind that different shapes reflect color differently.
How to Get the Best Deal on a Diamond
- Please focus on the cut; one should not give the jeweler room to overwhelm him or her with talks on cut, color, clarity, and carat. If one is buying the best diamond, then the price should be the leading factor towards the cut.
- Worry less about things you cannot see; most jewelers tend to place diamond under the microscope to show you something you cannot see using your naked eyes. As a buyer, the big question should be whether the flaws are essential to you.
- Buy an odd size; people usually buy the half-carat diamond or 1-carat ring anytime they enter a jewelry store, something one can take advantage of.
- Select a Halo setting; always fake the look of a big diamond by selecting a halo setting. This is usually a type of setting in which smaller accent stones surround the center stone.
- Select a less complicated prong setting; Don’t be overwhelmed with the diamond’s cost to the extent of overlooking the value of the setting.
- Purchase an estate diamond; Prefer going with a vintage ring since most stores buy and sell estate jewelry, so you don’t have to go far to find an heirloom quality engagement ring. Besides, since jewelers are likely to get estate pieces at a lower cost than new pieces, one will pay less.
- Reinvent a diamond stone; shop around for a second-hand diamond stone with a beautiful stone and an ugly setting and then have a jeweler remove the stone and put it in a new setting. This will help save costs on the diamond so that you can plan on having a good setup.
- Shop at the right time; If you want the best deal on a diamond, you must avoid buying it on special occasions like Christmas or Valentine since these are the most speculated times to gift people.