WHAT DIAMOND QUALITY IS IT?
WHAT DIAMOND QUALITY ARE THEY TRYING TO SELL YOU?
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Seriously, what Diamond Quality is it?
What Quality of Diamond are you paying for? (This is a rant from something I saw this weekend, but it serves as an eye-opener to all of us)
I’m looking online at a Jewelry Store’s Website and I see they are selling a One Carat Diamond Solitaire for $5,199.99.
I’m not going to give the actual name of the Jewelry Store, my main objective here is to only show you what to watch out for. For the purpose of this post, I’ll refer to this Jeweler as “Jewelry Store“, because really, it could be any of them!
I view the Product Details of the ring and I see the Clarity is listed as SI1 – SI2…
The Color of the Diamond is listed as J-K-L Color.
That’s 2 different Clarity Ranges and 3 Different Color Ranges.
So if you’re buying this Diamond Engagement Ring online or in the store, I’ll ask you once again:
What Quality of Diamond are you Buying?
The truth is, You Don’t Know!
I understand why Jewelers do these things, every Diamond is different and all will vary slightly in Color, Clarity and Carat Weight. It would be virtually impossible to list and show every single stone online or in a catalog. That’s why they group them all together, but still, this wide range makes no sense to me.
3 Different Color Grades?
What Diamond Color will you get? J? K? L? That’s a big difference in Color and Hue.
Take a look at the Diamond Color Chart below. You’ll see J is NOT in the same boat as K and L.
J is at the very bottom of the Near Colorless Chart. And K and L are in the next LOWER Color Range that’s actually called “Faint Yellow“…
I could understand if they were saying the Diamond was I or J Color. These are both in the Near Colorless Range, but J and L are NOT!
We’re talking about Diamonds that have a slight Yellow Hue to them (J), to Diamonds that are really Yellow looking (L).
If you go in thinking that you’re buying a Near Colorless Diamond (As you would seeing J listed there), and you end up with an L Color instead, you probably wouldn’t be happy.
One Thing Bugs Me MORE…
One thing about this Color Range bugs me more than anything else. Their online Catalog (and in-store Catalog), specifically states “Bridal Rings are all Graded Near Colorless or Better“
What does that make you think? The Colors are all Good? That’s what it makes me think.
K and L Colors are NOT Near Colorless Diamonds…
How can they say that ALL of their rings are Near Colorless?
And not only do they say they are ALL Near Colorless, but they say they are Near Colorless or BETTER!!!!
Better would be going UP the Color Chart (G,H,I, and maybe even D,E or F), but NOT lower.
I just don’t get it.
When a customer reads a bold
lie line like this, they believe they are getting a Near Colorless or Better Color.
It just goes to show you that if you don’t learn about the 4C’s or Color or Clarity, you would never know what a farce this was.
I don’t mind them trying to sell Diamonds in a variety of Colors and Clarities, but if you ordered your Diamond online, you would NEVER know what you actually bought until it showed up on your doorstep.
The Color you got was L Color. Hope you like it! :)
The range of Diamond Clarity isn’t any better…
Diamond Clarity Range
SI1 is a Good Quality of Diamond. SI2 is Questionable!
SI1 (Slightly Included Level 1) has small Inclusions or Flaws in the stone that are NOT visible to the naked eye (unaided). You’ll need a Microscope or 10x Jewelers Loupe to see the Flaws.
This Clarity Grade (or higher), is a great Clarity to buy for an Engagement Ring. You won’t see any Imperfections like Black Carbon Spots, Lines, Cracks, Clouds or Fractures in your stone.
SI1 Clarity is eye-clean and will look simply wonderful in a Diamond Ring.
SI2 isn’t so lucky!
SI2 can, and more than likely WILL, have eye-visible Inclusions in the stone (usually seen from the side). You WILL be able to see Flaws, Black Spots, Cracks, Lines, Clouds and Debris in the stone. Most people do NOT want to see these things, especially your Fiancee in a ring she’ll have to wear for the rest of her life.
SI1 or higher is a much better choice.
Which leads me back to this One Carat Diamond…
You could be getting an SI1 or an SI2. They don’t tell you which you’ll get and you won’t know if your Flaws are visible or not until the package arrives.
That’s not a nice way to find out.
There’s one more Surprise…
Carat Weight Surprise
The Carat Weight (as listed in the fine print of their Catalog) states that the Carat Weights sold may vary as much as 22 Points (for a One Carat Diamond). They could go from .95 Points all the way up to 1.17 Points.
22 Points is HUGE!
A 22 Point Difference is a hell of a range. That actually gives you 132 different Clarity and Color combinations… WOW!
The Jewelry Industry and the FTC DOES allow Jewelers to have a leeway of 7 Points one way or the other. This is because Carat Weights are almost never exact. It’s like trying to find a person that weighs exactly 150 lbs. Do you realize how difficult that would be? You would find 156 lbs, 147 lbs, 152… But hitting 150 right on the dot would be tough.
Diamonds are no different…
This leeway is necessary and common practice. And I will say that in this instance, they are actually doing BETTER than the average Jeweler, because you COULD end up with a much bigger Carat Weight. Realize this is a COULD only situation!
If you bought a One Carat Diamond (because that’s what Women want), and you thought your Diamond would be at least 100 Points (1.00 Carat), and you ended up getting 95 Points instead, it might leave a sour taste in your mouth.
This Carat Weight variance would happen at ANY Jewelry Store if you buy Diamonds that are APPROXIMATE Weight!!!
Buying Diamonds online this way, without knowing what Carat Weight you’ll get, is like rolling the dice and taking a gamble.
Do you feel lucky?
And it doesn’t stop here…
What’s the Diamond Cut?
This Jewelry Store’s Catalog talks about Cut on the pages. It says:
“…a well-proportioned Diamond brings out the maximum beauty…”
So what then are the Cut and Proportions of this stone (and every stone listed on their website and catalog)?
The only thing listed under the actual Cut of the Diamond is this one word: ROUND
Come on… People aren’t stupid!
Round is NOT a Cut. Round is the Shape of the Diamond. Shapes are: Round, Square, Rectangle, Triangle… CUT IS NOT ROUND!
Cut is Brilliant Cut, Ideal Cut, Princess Cut, Marquise Cut…
Round? That’s all you get?
How do you know what the Table Percentages are? What about the Pavilion Depth?
Do they give you any clue whatsoever?
That Diamond could be Lumpy, it could be Narrow (Weak and Brittle). It could be anything in between, you wouldn’t know until you got the stone home and had it checked out later.
This is what GIA classifies as Cut:
Do you see ROUND listed anywhere there?
Their Catalog talks about GIA (the Gemological Institute of America) and how they created “Scales to Measure Diamonds…” It makes you think that the stones they sell are GIA Certified and GIA has given them the stamp of Approval…
They’re Certified (actually just Appraised because there’s a Dollar Replacement Value listed right on the Report) by IGI (International Gemological Institute).
So is this GIA verbiage misleading? I believe so.
If I’m buying a Diamond, I want to know what it is I’m buying. I don’t want to guess and buy blindly “But it says GIA…“
My Rant isn’t Over Yet!
Here’s the real deal and the real show stopper…
This company is basically saying one thing loud and clear… All these different Colors (J, K, L) and Clarities (SI1, SI2), and Carat Weights (.95-1.17 Points) are ALL THE SAME PRICE! = $5,199.99 (can’t they just say $5,200???)
So let’s compare these different Diamond combinations from some trusted online Jewelers just to see if these Diamond qualities are in fact, all the same price.
I searched on both James Allen’s Website and Blue Nile’s Website just to see how this $5199.99 stacks up.
I will point out first, that this One Carat Diamond Ring from this unnamed Jeweler’s Catalog is pre-set in a Tiffany Style 14k White Gold Mounting.
Also note that this is something I would never advise anyone doing. NEVER buy a Diamond pre-set in a mounting! Buy your Diamonds loose so you can see what’s inside the stone with a Microscope or 10x Jewelers Loupe.
So back to the Tiffany Style Band… A 14k White Gold Mounting will generally run you around $250 – $400 depending on the thickness and weight of the ring. So I’m going to take this all into consideration and be fair when I’m doing these Diamond Price Comparisons. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and knock $400 off their Catalog Price. So this one particular Diamond that I’m comparing (One Carat) will now get an official price of $4,799.99. Sound fair? I think so!
I do this because the Diamonds I’m comparing them to online are all sold loose (as should be).
Compare Diamond Prices
I’m going to list these from the quality ranges of SI1 and SI2 and J, K and L Colors (what the Catalog says you could get).
Let’s have a look…
(Prices from James Allen Diamond Search and Blue Nile at the time of this post!)
|CARAT WEIGHT, CLARITY, COLOR, CUT, CERTIFIED||PRICE||VIEW|
|1.01, SI1, J, GOOD, GIA||$5,050||JA VIEW|
|1.01, SI1, K, PREMIUM, GIA||$4,250||JA VIEW|
|1.01, SI2, J, GOOD, GIA||$4,750||JA VIEW|
|1.01, SI2, K, GOOD, GIA||$3,900||JA VIEW|
|1.00, SI1, J, GOOD, GIA||$4,986||BN VIEW|
|1.02, SI2, J, GOOD, GIA||$4,616||BN VIEW|
Note: With the Blue Nile Diamonds Listed Above, you may have to do a Diamond Search to view the actual stones.
As you can see, a few of the prices are similar, but with James Allen and Blue Nile at least you know what quality you’re buying.
Are all the prices the same? Not hardly.
P.S. I can also give you an Affiliate Code “RINGSUM” from James Allen that would knock another 10% off their Ring Mounting Prices!
Note that there’s not even one L Color on the list… And the reason for this is simple: L Color is a very low Color Grade and most Jewelers don’t even carry them, let alone sell them. L Color looks YELLOW and most people do NOT want a Yellow Diamond for an Engagement Ring.
But, let’s assume you DID find an L Color stone out there, what would the price be? An L Color Diamond would look something like this:
|CARAT WEIGHT, CLARITY, COLOR, CUT, CERTIFIED||PRICE||VIEW|
|1.01, SI2, L, GOOD, GIA||$3,350||N/A|
Now that’s a Real Eye-Opener!
Still thinking all the Colors and Clarities are similar? I’m sure you’re shaking your head like I am. It’s almost shocking.
By ordering this One Carat Diamond online ($5199.99), you really could be losing a lot of money… That stings!
And it Gets Worse!
These Diamonds that this no-name Jeweler is selling are NOT GIA or AGS Certified (the top 2 Diamond Certificate Companies in the Country) (Blue Nile and James Allen’s Diamonds ARE), which means, these Diamonds that this Jewelry Store are selling are not strictly graded (triple checked). They could be off in both Color and Clarity! They could be off by one full Grade!
That would make their SI2 Clarity Diamond a I1 Clarity Diamond (and M Color) instead. OUCH! (I would send it to GIA to see what it really is).
If you ended up getting an I1 Clarity Diamond instead of the SI1 listed you would probably go through the roof.
Check out the price difference for an I1 Clarity, J Color Diamond below…
|CARAT WEIGHT, CLARITY, COLOR, CUT, CERTIFIED||PRICE||VIEW|
|1.01, I1, J, PREMIUM, GIA||$3,180||JA VIEW|
It Doesn’t Stop Here…
All these prices that I’ve been comparing are for One Carat (1.00) Diamonds.
As we learned above, the Carat Weights could be as low as 95 Points.
Does this make a Difference?
95 Points makes a HUGE Difference!
Dropping down underneath the One Full Carat mark puts the Diamond in a whole new bracket. A 95 or 96 Point Diamond could actually lower the retail value of the Diamond by another $600 or more!
Is this money that you’re willing to lose?
So What’s my Point?
I have Plenty…
If you’re buying a Diamond Ring online, or in a Jewelry Store, and the Color is listed as Multiple Colors… Ask what the REAL Color is. J-K-L is NOT a Color Range for one single Diamond!
If the Clarity is listed as an SI1-SI2, find out what the REAL Clarity is. Normally a Diamond will have only one Clarity Grade.
Now it’s true that Diamonds can be borderline Diamonds (Diamonds sitting on the line between two different Clarity Grades), but good Certification Companies (like GIA or AGS) will lean one way or the other, not stuck in the middle like a big dumb question mark. If they don’t know what the Diamond is they’re grading, who does? You can’t compare and price Diamonds if they list more than one Clarity Range…
You must also look at the Carat Weight of the Diamond. Check out the fine print. If the Diamond is listed as Approx. Carat Weight, then find out what the true Carat Weight is.
Ask about the Proportions and Symmetry while you’re at it. Compare them with an Ideal Cut Diamond below…
A GIA Certificate or AGS Certificate (the only two I’d ever Advise Buying), will list everything on the report that you’ll need to make an informed Diamond purchase.
Blue Nile and James Allen sell GIA and AGS Certified Stones. You can even View the Actual Certificate online to learn all the juicy details of the Diamond.
P.S. James Allen also allows you to view their Diamonds close up with a Super Zoom (very cool). See image below…
I really don’t want to dog on this unnamed company (hence I refuse to list their name). I just want to open your eyes and show you what to watch out for, and what to be aware of.
Companies like this make everything look grand and sound great, until you really shop and compare. Then you’ll really start to see…
I’m sure that if you went into their retail store you could find out the exact Clarity and Color information of their Diamonds (should be listed right on their tags). But it still doesn’t justify not telling you online or charging you the same price for all of them (especially since they aren’t GIA Certified!).
The Bottom Line
Be smart when you Shop. Learn the the 4C’s: Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat Weight.
Be informed and follow your gut. Because all Diamonds are NOT created equal.
The information that you learn here should help you and hopefully not give you heartbreak.
Let me know what you think. :)
James Allen is a leader in diamonds. Their real time interactive diamond inspection is the best in the industry. View and rotate any diamond under 20x magnification. Their prices, selection, lifetime warranty, 24/7 customer support and hassle free returns are unbeatable. Visit James Allen today.
Blue Nile is the largest and most well known respected diamond dealer online. They are highly trusted, have a huge inventory, and low low prices (compare anywhere and see for yourself). If you want to save money, or build your own ring, this is the place to shop. Visit Blue Nile today.
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