How to Select a Diamond
A diamond engagement ring is one of the most expensive and long-lasting investments a person can make. Diamonds can range in price from a few thousand dollars to several tens of thousands of dollars. So, what factors influence the price of a diamond?
Understanding diamonds can assist you in finding a stone that fits both your budget and your fiancee's preferences.
People rarely interact with diamonds, so they appear strange. But that doesn't make selecting a diamond any easier.
Not Quantity, but Quality
Diamonds have four characteristics that experts use to determine their price: cut, colour, clarity, and carat weight. Typically, the cut of your diamond has the greatest impact on its price, affecting it by 25% to 50%. Carat weight accounts for 10% to 20% of the price, with colour and clarity accounting for the remaining 10% to 15%.
Some people simply want a large diamond, but if you're looking for value, carat weight should be the last feature you consider. Instead, try to obtain the highest quality diamond that you can afford.
The "Four Cs"
The brilliance or sparkle of a diamond is directly proportional to how it is cut. The sparkle is usually what draws you to a particular diamond. Spend your money on the cut if you're going to splurge on one of the four C's. A well-cut smaller-carat diamond can appear larger. You should try to buy the highest cut grade available within your budget, and compromise on colour and clarity if necessary.
Although the cut of a diamond is an important quality indicator, some jewellers do not openly disclose the cut rating. If they don't, make sure to inquire.
The colour rating of a diamond starts with the highest grade of a letter "D," which is a colourless (white) diamond, and goes all the way to Z. Diamonds with a J rating or lower will start to show a hint of yellow. Most people notice a colour difference between I and J, so you don't have to buy a D-rated diamond.
Keep in mind that as the carat size increases, the colour will become more visible. The metal of the band may also influence your choice: a yellow gold band will bring out the yellow in a diamond, whereas a platinum or white gold band may not.
Inclusions are flaws in the diamond, such as minerals or laser lines (from when the diamond was cut). Consider a "eye-clean" diamond, which appears perfect to the naked eye. Purchasing a "very, very slightly included" (VVSI) or "very slightly included" (VSI) diamond will cost less and look just as nice. Diamonds with inclusions are preferred by some because they are more personal. Diamonds are formed naturally, and some have imperfections.
Once you've decided how much you're willing to spend on the first three C's, you can figure out what carat weight best fits your budget and quality criteria. Larger carat-weight diamonds are rarer, and their prices rise exponentially as they grow in size.
One technique is to purchase a slightly smaller diamond, which means purchasing just under whole carat marks, which can save hundreds of dollars. If you want to buy a two-carat diamond, go for 1.8 carats instead. You won't be able to tell the difference visually. You may also want to consider purchasing several smaller diamonds, which can be less expensive than a single large stone.
Diamonds are certified by an unbiased third party so that you can be confident that the stone you're purchasing is accurately rated. The American Gem Society Laboratories and the Gemological Institute of America are two of the major companies that certify diamonds in the United States. The European Gemological Laboratories is another legitimate certifier.
Many diamond dealers claim that all legally sold diamonds in the United States today are "conflict-free" and are not used to fund wars in places like Sierra Leone. However, some in the industry disagree. The Kimberly Process Certification Scheme is an international system that regulates rough diamond trade by requiring conflict-free certification. However, the group is self-regulated, and not all diamond dealers completely trust it.
If the history of your diamond is important to you, request proof of the stone's origin from your dealer. You could also go to a store that specialises in Canadian diamonds, which do not raise the same ethical concerns that some African diamonds do.
Some jewellers have partnered with specific banks to offer payment plans, or they offer their own financing programme. The most prudent approach is to open a high-yield savings or money market account and begin saving.
The majority of people who shop at jewellers, both online and in person, use a credit card. Some jewellers have teamed up with specific banks to offer payment plans that allow you to pay over time. But be cautious: these plans frequently have high interest rates. Paying with cash can help you save money at some stores. Excelsior Gems is one jeweller worth visiting.
Though it's unpleasant to consider, you should also inquire about the return policy before purchasing the ring. Many online jewellers, as well as national chains, provide return periods ranging from 30 to 90 days. Some small mom-and-pop shops may have return policies of as little as 24 hours.
You should also think about purchasing insurance in case the ring is stolen or damaged. This can be accomplished through your current homeowners' or renters' insurance, as well as through other private insurers.
You're not going to buy the first house you see; similarly, if you're going to spend thousands of dollars on something your partner will wear every day, you'll want to do your research. However, keep in mind that it is often difficult to find two stones that are exactly alike for the purpose of comparing prices.
Investigate all of your options and make an informed purchase. Just make certain that the diamonds are certified. You might also think about purchasing the diamond and band separately if you can get a good deal on both, or designing your own setting.