7 Tips for Foolproof Loose Diamond Buying
By Devorah Isenberg , Thursday, March 17, 2011
Diamonds mean different things to different people. Besides being the proverbial girl’s best friend, diamond is the hardest known natural substance and the ultimate symbol of strength, durability and love, and one of mankind’s most treasured natural resources. To own a diamond is to hold all of that value in the palm of your hand.
You can buy a diamond in many forms—from the classic engagement rings to diamond encrusted watches—but the simplest and most direct way to buy diamonds is to buy a loose diamond. A loose diamond is simply a diamond that has not been set into a piece of jewelry. Once you buy a loose diamond, you can have it set into the jewelry item of your choice, or simple treasure it for its singular beauty.
Buying a loose diamond is easier than most people think. These seven tips make it convenient and safe.
1. Before you even start diamond shopping, you set a budget. Decide how much you can afford to spend on a diamond right now, based on your financial status and the purpose of the diamond. If you plan to get the diamond set or have a piece of custom jewelry made for it, factor that into your budget as well.
2. To find the best source of loose diamonds, ask around. Talk to friends or coworkers who have bought diamonds in the past, and frequent several online diamond forums to find out where the best loose diamond merchants are. One friend may have had a great experience at a neighborhood jeweler, while online reviews may point you towards an e-tailer with great prices and customer service. Some vendors may carry proprietary brands not available elsewhere. For example, the internationally acclaimed A CUT ABOVE® Hearts and Arrows diamond is available exclusively at Whiteflash.
3. To ensure that you are shopping in a safe, secure and trustworthy environment, whether online or in a physical store, look for loose diamonds certified by a reliable gemological laboratory such as the GIA and AGS. In-house appraisals can provide additional information, but your loose diamond should come with an independent lab certificate to ensure that you are getting what you pay for.
AGS diamond report
4. When you find a reliable vendor, ask to see different kinds of diamonds within your price range. You will notice that as you decrease one factor, such as carat size, the diamonds in your price range will increase in other factors, such as cut quality. Which factor you emphasize is up to you, ultimately, but loose diamond experts recommend always buying the highest quality diamond you can afford, even if it is slightly smaller than a stone or of slightly lower color or clarity. But educate yourself well—sometimes increasing factors like color or clarity makes no visible improvement beyond a certain point.
5. Besides the 4 C’s, diamond shape is an important decision to make when choosing a loose diamond. The classic round brilliant diamond is a top seller for a reason, but you may decide that a princess cut diamond suits your needs better. Fancy shape diamonds can be a great choice as well, depending on how you plan to use your diamond. An oval or pear shape diamond can look slightly bigger than its actual size, while a marquise or emerald shape can visually elongate the fingers when set into an engagement ring.
6. Once you have your heart (and mind) set on a particular diamond, place your order. Make sure that all your questions have been answered and you know exactly what you are ordering. Since there is no setting to be done, your order should be delivered quickly. Within a day or two, you will be holding your very own loose diamond in your hand!
Loose diamond box
7. Once your loose diamond arrives, you may want to insure it, even if you plan to keep it in a safe. Some prefer to ensure on their homeowner’s policy while others prefer a specialist in personal jewelry insurance. If you decide to ensure your loose diamond, make sure you understand your coverage and any deductibles that might apply.
For more specific questions ask our experts