Is Bigger Better? The How-To's When Shopping for Diamonds
by Alex Miller
Buying a diamond can be an exhilarating
but daunting adventure, especially if you're a newbie. If I could
offer only one piece of advice it would be this: "Learn as much
as you can about the 4Cs before you go shopping."
For the uninitiated, that's cut, color, clarity
and carat weight. And I like to add one more - common sense. Choosing
the perfect diamond (and there's no such thing as the "perfect"
diamond, although a few have come close) is as much a matter of
personal taste as it is a matter of the diamond's characteristics.
Some couples are willing to forego quality for size,
others prefer the brilliance of a flawless blue-white diamond over
a larger stone with less clarity.
You be the judge - but not until you're clear about
those characteristics I mentioned. I suggest you read our Diamond
Buying Guide, or go to one of the quality online jewelers such
as www.bluenile.com or www.mondera.com.
Talk to any jeweler and they'll all give you a different
opinion as to what they believe is the most important quality of
According to Mayer Herz, Vice President of Diamond
Acquisition at Mondera.com, "Cut is the most important consideration
if you're on a budget. You can make up for low color and clarity
if the stone is well cut."
However, Joseph Schlussel, Publisher of Diamond
Registry Bulletin, says "I personally believe that color is the
most important thing. Most people who go into a store today, they
are told about cut. But I look at what you can see with a naked
eye. I would put cut the last, because most people can't see it."
The safest all-round bet is to look for the overall
"package", with the levels of cut, clarity, color and size as good
as you can get for the price you're willing to pay.
Here are my tips to help you get the best value
* Ensure you get a Gemological Institute of America
(GIA) or the American Gem Society (AGS) Certificate when you purchase
your diamond. A Certificate guarantees that you are getting what
you paid for.
* If you are buying at a retail store, ask to see
your diamond against a white cloth (or take your own - even a white
piece of paper will do the trick!). Jewelers typically use a black
felt cloth to display their stones because all diamonds look white
* The American Gem Society says that the cut of
the diamond can influence the price by as much as 50%. A well-cut
diamond, when viewed from above, will sparkle with a brilliance
you won't find in any other precious stone.
* Most diamonds have flaws (called inclusions) that
developed during its formation millions of years ago. Some are impossible
to see with the naked eye, others glare at you. The more inclusions,
the poorer the quality of the diamond, and the less light it will
emit. But its all a trade-off - fewer inclusions means a more expensive
Knowledge is power, and the more you understand
about how diamonds are graded and how that determines the price
you'll pay, the better you'll be able to judge what is good value.
Above all, remember that you'll be the one wearing
it, and hopefully for a long time, so the final decision is yours.
My very first diamond had a hairline crack deep inside it, and I
came to love that diamond as much for its tiny flaws as I loved
my husband for his!
Alex Miller has been involved in the jewelry industry
for more years than she cares to remember! She lists her passions
as "diamonds, diamonds and more diamonds" and has turned her passion
into an informative website. You can find more great articles about
diamonds, engagement rings, bridal jewelry, honeymoons and more
The place to go BEFORE you shop for jewelry online.
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