Diamond shopping can be an enriching personal experience. When you buy your first diamond, you are usually clueless about the various attributes you should be comparing and about their importance. This can be a journey from total rookie to savvy consumer, should you decide to inform yourself on things such as carat weight, clarity, color and cut. These attributes are known as the 4Cs and they can help you choose the best gemstone you can afford. Let’s see what you are going to learn along the path of diamond shopping, one step at a time.
What is the right diamond size?
The carat weight is the measurement of how much a gemstone weighs. In the metric system, one carat equals 200mg. As you can see, this is a pretty steep scale. This is why carats are further divided into 100 points. This subdivision is actually what most jewelers use to describe their diamonds. You can safely say a 0.20 carat diamond is a twenty pointer. If this is the first time you shop for a diamond, you may be clueless about the correlation between the size and the carats of a gemstone. You may know what diamond size you intend to buy, but you wouldn’t be able to tell its weight in carats. This is something you can easily figure out by using online scales available on various websites. You are offered the possibility to move a slider along a scale to view the diamond carat weight in real size. However, you need to be aware that what you see on the screen depends on the monitor size and resolution.
How much should you spend?
All other things being equal, the price of a diamond is in direct relationship with its size. Larger diamonds are rare, and this makes them more desirable. Scarcity works, all psychologists can tell you that. However, two diamonds of equal carat weight can be extremely different in terms of price, as the other three factors, the cut, the clarity and the color, have a direct influence on its value as well. You should never buy a diamond based solely on its carat weight. As a matter of fact, if you need it to mount it in a jewelry item, you probably know how large you’d like it to be.
Which color grade should you choose?
The color is one of the attributes you have to consider when doing your research. There are many color grades, going from absolute transparency to a brown shade. However, you can safely choose a gemstone that appears colorless to your untrained eyes, without fearing you are ever going to be bothered by the fact that it is an F or a G. There are diamonds that aren’t colorless, and yet you can’t see this unless you observe them on a white background.
What about the right clarity grade?
The clarity is also very important, as it gives the beauty and the brilliance of these gemstones. If you want to be happy with your purchase, you shouldn’t compromise on the clarity level. However, you have to know that flawless diamonds are extremely rare, thus being very expensive. Besides, a layman wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between such an expensive piece and an SI2 graded diamond that appears to have no imperfections. You may not see the physical difference between the two, but you are surely going to notice the price difference. On the contrary, the color is an attribute you are able to appreciate with your bare eyes, so it makes sense to strive for a better color grade, if possible. You are going to see the difference between a G and a J, so your preference will surely go towards the better one, without any advice from expert graders.
Choosing the right diamond cut can be tricky
The cut is the last of the 4Cs, but this doesn’t make it less important. If you are new to diamond shopping, you may believe the cut is the actual shape of the diamond. Indeed, diamonds can have various shapes such as round, emerald and pear, but a diamond’s cut grade refers to the way its facets interact with light rather than its shape. The GIA cut scale includes five grades, excellent, very good, good, fair and poor. In order for you to make yourself an idea about these grades, you can use an online app that enables you to move a slider across a scale which reflects the cut grade of a gemstone. The cut is a very complex parameter, thus being extremely difficult to analyze. You have to assess various visual effects such as brightness, fire and scintillation. These effects are influenced by the proportions of the facets, the reflections within the diamond, the quality of polish, the symmetry of the facet arrangement and the weight relative to the diameter.
Other things to consider
All these details together give the beauty of a diamond. You may find the perfect one in terms of desired clarity and color, yet be unhappy with its cut grade. The best advice one could give to any beginner in diamond shopping is to take it easy. Give yourself enough time to study all these attributes and the way they influence the beauty and the price of a diamond. Once you understand these concepts, you need to acquire some hands-on experience before being able to make an informed choice. You may have to visit many jewelry shops and many expert graders in order to have a clear image of these grading scales and levels. Even though it seems very complicated, you can find a real challenge in learning how to tell a good gemstone from a poor quality one, without needing to make use of expert advice. Nonetheless, if you still feel confused about certain details, you can seek for professional help before taking the credit card out of your wallet. It is possible to feel a lot of stress and fear, as such purchases are never cheap. It’s not a shame to check and double-check your data before making the final decision. Your main purpose should be to find the highest quality diamond to fit within your budget limits, provided they aren’t unrealistic.