How to Buy a Diamond
Submitted On 2008-10-31
Buying a diamond is one of the most expensive purchases you will make. This diamond buying guide explains how to get the highest quality of diamonds for your money as well as how to take care for your diamonds. We also teach you about diamond treatment and how to protect yourself. C's of Diamond Quality Diamonds are graded by four characteristics: cut, carat (weight), clarity, and color. All four of these properties determine how much a diamond is worth. • Cut - What is the proportion of the diamond? Round brilliant diamonds are commonly cut with 58 facets. The better proportioned these facets are on the diamond, the more light will be reflected back to the viewer's eye. This is extremely important. When cut properly, the diamond will sparkle more. Diamond cuts are measured by the table percentage, so always ask for it. A good table percentage is between 55-60%. Cut also refers to the shape such as: round, pear, and oval. If you are having a diamond mounted, write down the measurements of your stone. Measurements never change. Measures the stone after it is mounted and verify that it matches the appraisal and/or certificate. • Carat - How big is the diamond? Larger diamonds often cost more per carat due to their size. There are 100 points to a carat. Hence a 50 point diamond is 1/2 a carat. (There are 5 carats to a gram.) Always get the actual point size of a diamond rather than a fractional weight. Sometimes jewelers will try to sell a .90 diamond as a 1 carat diamond. A .90 diamond should be substantially less expensive. • Clarity - How clear is the stone? Clarity ranges from flawless (perfect) to I (included). Here is a chart: Flawless: perfect inside and out Internally Flawless: may have minor blemishes on the outside VVS1, VVS2: have very very small inclusions. VVS1 inclusions can only be seen through the pavilion. VVS2 inclusions are more visible. VS1, VS2: have very small inclusions. VS1 inclusions are harder to see than VS2. SI1, SI2, SI3: have small inclusions I1, I2, I3: have inclusions visible to the naked eye • Color: Diamond colors generally range from D - X for white and yellow diamonds. D is the whitest. Around S they become "Fancy" yellow Diamonds. One can also find green, pink, red, blue and brown diamonds - though these are usually irradiated. Be certain to ask: Do you guarantee the color and clarity of your stones? Many states allow dealers to be off by one color and/or one clarity.
How to Examine a Diamond To accurately judge the quality of a diamond, it is advisable to use more than the naked eye. Here are common ways to examine a diamond. • Microscope/Loop: To examine inclusions, one uses either a microscope or a 10x magnifying glass called a jeweler's loop. This enables one to see inclusions in stones. Most dealers will let you use theirs. • Diamond Tester: A diamond tester uses light to verify that the stone you are examining is really a diamond. It does not guarantee quality -- just the type of stone. Most testers will still work when the stone is mounted. Jewelry Mall Diamond Tester Search Results • Certification: If you are unsure of your diamond knowledge or the jeweler you are buying from, get a certified Diamond. The best known and reliable certification is from GIA (Gemological Institute of America) or EGL (European Gemological Laboratory). Be aware that certificates will cost you an extra $100-$200 on average.
How Diamonds are Treated Diamonds are often treated. If you are concerned about getting true value for your money, know what you are getting. • Filled for clarity: Diamonds with inclusions are sometimes filled with glass to make them appear clearer. Yehuda Diamonds have undergone this treatment. Filler can be damaged by heat, ultrasonic cleaning, and by re-tipping. The filling does not repair the inclusion; it just makes it less visible. If you look at a filled diamond closely, rotate it under light, you should be able to notice a bluish flash. Yehuda will usually refill your diamond for free if it is ever damaged. Check for guarantees before buying such a diamond. • Irradiated for color: Can be affected by heat. • Painted for color: Can be painted to offset a yellow tinge. The paint wears off rather quickly. • Ask if the diamond you are considering buying is treated. Getting a notarized statement from your jeweler saying that your diamond in not treated is recommended. This is like having the jeweler swears under oath that to his/her knowledge that the diamond is not treated. Several states have disclosure acts requiring dealers to tell you about these treatments.
How to Care for your Diamonds Diamonds are often thought to be unshatterable. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Here are some useful handling and care tips. • Diamonds are brittle: If you hit a diamond hard, they WILL crack or chip if mishandled. Don't wear your diamond when doing rough work. • Storage: Store diamonds separately. When stored with other jewelry, diamonds may scratch other jewelry (or each other). • Cleaning: The best method for cleaning is a jeweler's polishing cloth. Most jewelers will clean your diamond ring for free if you are making another purchase in the store.
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