Most people don’t want to learn tons and tons of diamond information just to make one simple diamond purchase.
It does seem a little extreme!
Instead, there are some great visual tips that I would give you that will help steer you in the right direction.
After all, no matter what you learn, you don’t want to get ripped off.
The goal is to buy the best looking diamond that your money can afford, and my goal is to help you achieve that.
So look and listen, or should I say, look and see. :)
How to Judge a Diamond with your Eyes:
You won’t need any pen or paper for this post. You’ll only need to remember a few points and look at a few diamonds.
Let’s begin with a little (just a little needed) background… But not too much. :)
Take a very quick peek at the 4C’s chart below…
So it’s easy to understand that if a diamond is really high in one category, the price will go up. That just makes sense.
Higher ratings (or Grades) in all categories will get you into the really expensive diamonds (like this Flawless, D Color, Excellent Cut Diamonds).
The good thing is, you don’t need to learn all of the letters and numbers of the 4C’s… You just need to become familiar with them so you know what the salesperson is talking about.
And one of the easiest “C” to learn is clarity…
You can easily judge a diamond with your eyes when it comes to clarity. You can instantly see if the flaws and inclusions inside the stone are visible or not. Just by looking at the stone, from the top view or the side view, can you see any lines, clouds, spots, cracks, foggy areas, pinpoints…???
If you can see the flaws without magnification (with a microscope or a 10x jeweler’s loupe), then the clarity of that diamond is low. Probably an I1, I2 or I3 diamond, but it could also be an SI2. That’s why I generally say to stick with SI1 clarity diamonds or higher…
That way you won’t get any visible flaws in your stone, and you won’t have your girlfriend or fiancee saying “Hey, there’s a huge black spot in my diamond!“
Although, I will say, you can get some really nice low quality diamonds if you look hard enough. Some stones mask the flaws well and face up much better than they really are. I highlighted examples of these in yesterday’s post: beautiful low quality diamonds.
Take the diamond, or ring, and tilt it in the light. You’re looking for the amount of sparkle it has. In fact, you want the diamond to sparkle like crazy.
Sparkle is all dependent on how good the diamond is cut. A great cut gives you great sparkle. Simple as that.
Look at any GIA diamond report and see what cut grade the diamond has. If it says “excellent“, then that’s the best there is and your diamond will not only sparkle, but look bigger and brighter. Look for excellent as shown below.
To compare, ask to view an “excellent” cut diamond up against a “good” cut diamond. Put them side by side and see for yourself. The difference in sparkle is amazing. You won’t want any other cut of stone. Ever!
If you’re looking at a one carat diamond, you’ll want a one carat to look like a one carat. But sadly, diamonds are not cut the same. Some are cut deep, others cut shallow. And the result is not only a loss of light (less sparkle), but the diamond will also look dark and dull inside. Plus… The diamond will also appear either way too small or way too big.
(Do note that if you buy a diamond with an “excellent” cut, you can skip this step since it will be cut to correct proportions already).
Put two 1.00 carat diamonds side by side. Compare the width of the stones. Does one look bigger than the other? Some one carat diamonds will actually face up and appear more like a 3/4 carat stone. That’s not good since you’re paying for a one carat.
You don’t want your fiancee to get her engagement ring and say “This diamond looks small!” Like so…
While you’re comparing stones, look at the color of the diamond as well. Does one diamond look whiter than the other?
Diamonds come in all difference hues and colors, and most of them are not white.
Pure white stones (like D, E or F) are the best there is and they really do make a huge visual difference. Pure white diamonds look bigger and brighter. For a comparison, put a J colored diamond next to an E colored diamond. The difference is amazing. The E colored diamond will look like there’s a spot light on it. It will knock your socks off (and hers). :)
I highly recommend colorless diamonds, I love how they look… I really do.
Microscope the flaws:
Even though you’ve viewed the stone for visible flaws and imperfections, it’s not enough. You really should see those flaws up close so you can really see what’s inside the stone. You want to know what you’re buying, especially if you’re spending thousands of dollars.
Scope the stone and look for the size of the flaws. Where the flaws lie (are they dead center?)
Look to see if the stone is cracked? Does it look foggy? Are there chips on the side of the stone? Can you view the inscription on the edge of the girdle?
View the stone under 10x magnification. That way there are no surprises later “There’s a crack in my diamond that I didn’t notice earlier.“
Ask about the company’s policies, warranties, returns, exchanges, service plans, finance plans… All these things can help make or break the sale…
Also, make sure you get a full appraisal on the diamond so you can get it insured. The appraisal should list all the good details, like color, cut, clarity and carat weight.
What ever you do, don’t buy from the first place you visit. No way.
You want to check out the competition. Take a look at 3-4 different jewelry stores, both independent and corporate, just to see what they have to offer.
Prices, styles, quality, policies and personalities will vary greatly. Shop where you feel comfortable, after all, you’ll be back to buy the wedding bands and anniversary gifts later…
Don’t be scared to shop online:
You can get unbelievable deals online, if you know where to shop. I recommend checking out James Allen.
James Allen Prices Rock!
So there you go…
These quick visual tips and tricks should make shopping easier. You won’t have to wrack your brain out when it comes to the hundreds of different possibilities with color and clarity.
Seeing really is believing.
The bottom line is, you want the prettiest little ring you can manage. One that will make her eyes light up and her smile big and bright.
Everything else is just icing on the cake.
If you need further advice or have a diamond question for me, Ask me here.
14k Wheat Chains
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