6 beginner’s tips for buying diamonds, according to jewelry experts
Whether it’s a one-of-a-kind engagement ring, a meaningful gift for a loved one, or a luxurious treat for yourself, shopping for diamond jewelry can be tricky if you don’t have it. never done before.
What is the best cut to choose? Is size more important than shine? And how can you be sure you’re not palmed with cubic zirconia?
The truth is that some things come down to personal preference rather than hard and fast rules about what’s “best”, but it helps to have some basic knowledge.
Here, jewelry experts offer their top tips for first-time diamond buyers…
1. Get to know the four Cs
Diamond quality is assessed by the four Cs: cut, color, clarity and carat.
“Proportions are crucial to a diamond’s beauty and value,” says Daniel O’Farrell, diamond expert and founder of Daniel Christopher Jewelery (dcjewellery.com). You may have heard of cuts such as round, oval, pear or princess.
“There are five grades of cut, and generally the higher the grade, the more brilliant the diamond. We always recommend the highest cut quality – excellent – for the best quality diamond.
When determining a diamond’s value, “colorlessness prevails,” says O’Farrell. “Normal color grades for diamonds range from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown), and colorless diamonds are the rarest, therefore the most valuable. Diamonds with color grades K and below will appear clearly tinted .
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Not to be confused with color, clarity refers to any flaws stones might have.
“Clarity is important to diamond value because visible marks can negatively affect the stone’s appearance, symmetry, pattern, and brilliance,” says O’Farrell.
“Almost all diamonds have inclusions (internal imperfections) and blemishes (external surface imperfections) in varying degrees, and those with the fewest imperfections are rewarded with the highest grades of clarity.”
It’s “the measurement of a diamond’s weight,” says O’Farrell. “Even a slight change in carat weight can make a significant difference to the cost of a diamond, and is therefore measured with great precision with specialized machinery.”
2. Decide which of the C’s is more important
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You might think you should aim for the highest score in each of the four Cs, but compromising on certain aspects can help you get more for your money.
“The difference between the highest clarity (flawless) and the second highest (very, very lightly included) is not discernible to the naked eye, so it’s often unnecessary,” says diamond expert Claire Beatson. lab grown at Nightingale (nightingale.co .UK).
Another example is color grade. “A true colorless diamond will score between D and F on the color scale and command a premium price,” says Beatson. “Lower color grades will have a slight yellow tint, which is generally considered less desirable. However, this matters less on yellow gold jewelry, as any diamond, regardless of quality, will reflect the yellow of the gold.
3. Get a diamond certificate
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Sometimes called the fifth C, a diamond certificate is a guarantee that the stone you are buying matches the quality grading.
“It is virtually impossible to identify differences between diamond qualities without specialized training and equipment. Your diamond certificate is an assurance that you are getting the quality you pay for,” says Beatson.
It is also important for two other reasons. “It verifies that what you are buying is indeed a diamond. Many unscrupulous online sellers will sell cubic zirconia, moissanite and other diamond simulants as real diamonds,” says Beatson. Furthermore, “a large part of the resale value of a diamond depends on the possession of a valid certificate. So if you want to sell your diamond jewelry anytime in the future, you will get next to nothing without the certificate.
4. Choose a reputable jeweler
It is important to research the seller before making such a large purchase.
O’Farrell says, “The best way to make sure a jeweler is reputable is to find out how many years they have been in the business and, if possible, check their customer reviews.”
Also ask for credentials, he advises: “Having diamonds examined by experts with years of diamond experience and GIA (Gemological Institute of America) training is the best way to ensure that you are making the right decision when buying a diamond for the first time. Avoid buying used diamonds and beware of identity theft. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is!
5. Choose ethical diamonds
Known as ‘conflict stones’ or ‘blood diamonds’, these are unethical gemstones mined in conflict zones and/or sold to fund war efforts.
“Aim to buy from jewelers whose suppliers are members of the RJC (Responsible Jewelery Council),” says O’Farrell. “It can be difficult to know the true provenance of a diamond, so at least pay attention to diamonds traded through the Kimberley Process. One way to ensure a truly conflict-free diamond is to consider lab-grown diamonds, which are also more durable and affordable.
6. Follow your instincts
While it’s beneficial to seek advice from experts, the most important thing when buying diamond jewelry is to make sure you’re satisfied.
“When it comes to engagement rings, different styles can create very different aesthetics,” says Beatson. “By far the most popular is the round brilliant cut, but there are many more to choose from to suit your personal style and add a bit of character.”
Ultimately, you should trust your instincts. “Working through the process with someone you trust can help you feel more confident that you’re making the right decision,” says O’Farrell. “Remember that there is no such thing as a good or bad diamond, the most critical aspect is how the stone actually makes you feel.”
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