By Ira Weissman
When you know the facts about a particular product, you can make the most informed decision when purchasing, especially when identifying if the “deal” or “sale” or “bargain” you are being pitched is truly worth your time and money.
If this is the case for most products on the market today, all the more so with diamonds. Because buying a diamond can be a complicated and overwhelming process, not everyone has the patience and wherewithal to educate themselves. Instead, many people end up making an ill-informed decision and buying a diamond for more money than they should or paying for features of the diamond that are really a waste of money to the average admirer on the street.
What am I talking about? Let’s take a look at diamond color. The highest grade of color that a diamond can be marked is “D,” or perfectly colorless; then each letter after that throughout the alphabet signifies another gradation towards the color yellow. Since you want to buy the diamond with the most perfect color grade, you limit your search to only diamonds with D color, right?
Wrong. Paying for a D color, in almost all cases, is simply a waste of money. What you should be looking for, alternatively, is a diamond that simply looks white to the eye. That means that the average person on the street (who obviously does not walk around with a jeweler’s loupe, or magnifying glass) will recognize that the diamond is colorelss once set in the ring even if the color grade is not perfect.
In general, I use the following two rules of thumb.
First, if you are setting the diamond in a yellow gold setting, you can choose a lower colored diamond (K/L) than if you set the diamond in a platinum or white gold setting. The second rule is to consider the shape of your diamond.
Let’s break down the shapes into three categories: (1) round brilliant (J or better will look white), (2) Asscher, princess, and emerald (stick with H or I), and (3) all other shapes like oval, pear, marquise, etc (H or better only). Once you choose the shape you like, then check out your flexibility in terms of the color grade.
Another big mistake that uninformed consumers make about diamonds is selecting a higher clarity grade than necessary. Again, the goal is for the diamond to be eye-clean to the average onlooker. In order to do that, you do not need to buy an “FL,” or flawless, diamond. It could be that the small imperfections you see in the loupe, known as inclusions, would not be visible to the naked eye, and sometimes if they are on the periphery, they can be covered by one of the prongs of the ring.
Keep in mind that just as with diamond color, the shape of the diamond you choose will impact the clarity grade as well. You might be able to get away with a clarity grade of SI1 or SI2 (Slightly Included) and save your extra money for a bigger carat size, which is arguably the most noticeable characteristic of the 4 C’s.
Having said that, let’s talk about carats for a minute. There is a big jump in price when you go from slightly less than one carat to one carat. Why? Because people want to be able to say that their diamond is a full carat. BUT if the diamond is already close to a carat, it will not look much different. In other words, the difference between a 0.85 carat and a 1 carat diamond is just barely visible to your eye but is quite visible in your wallet.
The bottom line? Knowledge is power. Power to save money. Do your research before you get out there and make the most informed decision you can when it’s time to buy the bling.
- Fred Cuellar
- Publisher: Sourcebooks
- Edition no. 7 (04/01/2012)
- Fred Cuellar
- Publisher: Sourcebooks
- Edition no. 8 (11/06/2018)
- Antoinette Matlins PG FGA, Antonio C. Bonanno FGA ASA MGA
- Publisher: GemStone Press
- Edition no. 8 (08/30/2016)
Last update on 2019-02-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API