Diamonds are a timeless piece of jewelry that never go out of style. Whether you’re looking for a fancy engagement ring or the perfect pendant necklace, you can’t go wrong with this stone.
However, you will find yourself disappointed if you spend more money on a diamond than it’s actually worth, or if you don’t know how to find a beautiful diamond within your budget.
Not everyone knows how to buy a diamond, but the guide below can help you figure out all the basics.
Understand the 4Cs
The most important things you need to know when buying a diamond are the 4Cs. The Cs stand for carat, color, clarity, and cut.
Let’s take a closer look at each.
Carat is a common term that gets thrown around when people are buying diamonds, although not everyone really knows what this word means. Some people associate the carat with the direct value of the stone. Others don’t pay much attention to the difference between a half carat or a 5-carat diamond.
The textbook definition of a carat is “a unit of weight for precious stones and pearls.” One carat is about 200 milligrams, making it incredibly light, but still, a significant determinant of a diamond’s overall value.
Jewelers measure and describe carats down to the smallest decimal possible. As carat size increases, the diamond price tends to go up as well, although there are other factors to consider. Two diamonds can weigh the exact same amount in carat but have differences in cut, color, and clarity that make them two different prices.
Once you’ve set a minimum requirement for the carat you’d like your diamond(s) to have, focus on the color. A diamond’s color and price typically have an inverse relationship – the lower the color, the higher the value
Diamond colors come in a range of noticeably yellow or warm tones to more clear shades. The rarest diamonds have only slight hints of yellow, which are invisible to the naked eye.
Jewelers use special tools to examine a diamond and a specific rating scale to classify each diamond’s color. The scale has a range of letters to describe each color, broken down as follows:
The list above is from highest to lowest. You don’t have to know every single requirement of a D diamond versus an E-F or G-H colored diamond. But, a good diamond buying rule of thumb is that a D will be worth more than an E-F, which is more than a G-H, and so on.
Just like a diamond’s price isn’t determined by carat alone, you can’t go solely off color, either. The next step of buying diamonds is to check the clarity of each option you’re considering.
Clarity refers to any blemishes, scratches, or other imperfections that may be on the diamond. These are minor details that the naked eye can’t pick up, but it’s still better to have a flawless diamond than one with a bit of smudging or staining.
Such imperfections usually occur naturally as a diamond transitions from carbon matter to precious stone. During this process, dark spots or small scratches may occur.
The final thing piece of diamond buying advice is to consider the cut of your diamond. Diamonds can be shaped and styled to fit a wide range of fashions. But, most women tend to have a preference between something like a round cut or a princess cut.
Here are all the most popular diamond cuts:
- Round Brilliant
Round Brilliants, Cushion and Asscher cuts have soft edges. They tend to be wider diamonds which can be set on small ring bands or on thick necklace strings. Emerald and Radiant cuts tend to be more square, while Oval, Pear, and Marquise cuts are entirely unique.
Princess cuts are very popular for engagement rings and wedding bands. These are square shapes, similar to Emerald and Radiant cuts, but with pointed corners for more sparkle and shine. They are made to stand out.
Note – some cuts may be easier to find than others.
Explore Your Options
Once you get the technical diamond-buying stuff out of the way, take a step back. Consider what you really want, regardless of what jewelers say is more valuable or extravagant. Then, begin the search for your new diamond(s).
Shop Local and Online
Whether you have a bunch of jewelers in town or you live in an area without many options, try to shop in person and online. Going to visit a jeweler’s store allows you to get an up-close look at the diamond rings, earrings, tennis bracelets, and/or necklaces you’re tempted to buy.
Shopping online, though, gives you many more options to choose from. Plus, you won’t have to worry about a co-worker or another class mom having the same piece of jewelry as you!
Search for professional jewelers within the U.S., but don’t be afraid to check out some opportunities abroad, too. Below are some common search phrases for diamonds you can type in French, Spanish, and Italian to help you find the accessories you’re looking for.
- boucles d’oreille en diamant
- bijoutier diamantaire
- pendientes de diamantes
- anillos de diamantes
- collana di diamanti
- negozio di diamanti
It may sound a little strange to input these search terms, but you never know what you’ll find! Instead of buying from the same large diamond retailer everyone goes to, a unique search can lead you to the most beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces.
Ask About Certifications and Warranties
Regardless of if you’re buying a diamond ring from the store down the street or getting brand-new diamond earrings shipped overseas, always protect your investment. Make sure what you’re buying is from a certified, professional dealer.
Also, ask about any warranties that may come with your jewelry. This isn’t necessarily to fix/replace a diamond, since diamonds are the strongest natural material in the world. But, if the chain of your expensive necklace breaks or you need a ring re-sized, it’d be nice to know you have this covered.
How to Buy a Diamond: Know What You Want
Some people spend months looking for the perfect engagement ring before they actually propose. Others only stick to one kind of diamond cut, making their search for new jewelry much easier.
Either way, always try to have an idea of what you’d like a diamond to look like, and of course, set a budget. Doing this beforehand makes the process of how to buy a diamond easier to enjoy and have fun with.
To start searching for jewelers around you (or afar!), click here.