There are a lot of sparkles and colors in jewelry, but there is nothing quite as stunning as a diamond. Knowing what you’re getting when buying diamonds, whether they’re for your engagement ring, pendant, or even multiple diamonds for a special piece of jewelry, cannot be overstated. You will treasure this little gem for a lifetime – and you can make it a lifelong treasure if you play your cards right. To help you make the right decision, check out our diamond-buying guide.
The 4C’s are the Key.
It’s easier to judge a diamond’s quality than most people realize. The four Cs of diamonds can give you a good idea of where a diamond stands on the quality scale.
- Carat: Carat weight determines the size of a diamond. In general, diamonds with higher carat weights are more valuable and rare.
- Clarity: During the formation of natural diamonds, carbon is exposed to extreme heat and pressure deep within the Earth. Inclusions, or external characteristics known as blemishes, may be visible when the diamond is extracted and cut. Jewelers evaluate a diamond’s clarity by looking at its size, position, number, and how these inclusions and blemishes affect it’s appearance.
- Cut: If the diamond is well cut (especially if it is round), there is usually enough brilliance to make the color seem a shade or two better than it actually is. Regardless of the diamond’s technical grade, if it looks better under natural light than it does under grading light, that’s a benefit to the consumer.
- Color: Diamonds with a color grade of I or above are the best value. D through H are all in the white family, with very little difference between them. Color grades are not equal. If color could be plotted spatially, it might differ by an inch between D and E, by five inches between E and F, and by two feet between G and H.
Buy at Carat Thresholds
Diamonds weighing just less than certain “magic” thresholds offer significant price breaks. Diamonds weighing .90ct to .99ct can cost about $1,200 – $3,000 less per carat (based on the color and clarity grade) than diamonds weighing exactly 1.00ct. A small change in weight won’t affect a diamond’s circumference or how it appears when viewed from above since most of its weight is in the bottom half of the stone.
Go for Lab Grown Diamonds
Physical and chemical properties of lab grown diamonds are identical to those of natural diamonds. A lab created diamond is a real diamond that lasts for generations but is estimated to be 40-50% less expensive than a mined diamond.