How To Buy A Budget Diamond Without Looking Cheap
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Get The Most Out Of Your Diamond Budget
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.