Diamond Buying Guide: How to Buy a 1 carat diamond
By Debi Wexler , Monday, October 29, 2012
Every diamond is unique, and every person who sets out to buy a diamond or diamond engagement ring is unique as well. Some diamond buyers have their hearts set on genuine hearts and arrows diamonds (ideal cut diamonds with a hearts and arrows pattern visible when viewed through a special viewer). Others are looking for a matching pair of ideal round cut diamonds for a pair of custom earrings. Some are looking for round shape diamonds, others for loose diamonds in square, rectangular, oval or even pear shapes. Purchasing diamonds can never be distilled into just a few rules and guidelines, because every diamond, diamond buyer, and diamond engagement ring hunt is completely unique. That being said, a good diamond buying guide can provide some valuable direction for the first-time diamond buyer. This basic diamond buying guide will be helpful to you if you are looking for a 1 carat diamond engagement ring—which is the most common diamond jewelry purchase of all!
The first place to start in your search for the perfect 1 carat diamond engagement ring is a website or store that sells loose diamonds. But we’re not just talking about any diamonds. To make your diamond engagement ring dazzling, it is recommended that you find a high quality diamond for the center stone. Ideally, choose a hearts and arrows diamond, or another ideal round cut stone. Hearts and arrows diamonds are exceptionally well-cut ideal round diamonds that exhibit a pattern of hearts when viewed through a special tool called an Idealscope.
The beauty of hearts and arrows diamonds is not the pattern itself but the skill and precision that the cutter has achieved. As any good diamond buying guide will tell you, light performance is the single biggest indicator of the overall beauty, quality and value of a diamond—and when purchasing diamonds online, knowing that a stone has hearts and arrows is the best way to know that it will reflect and refract light perfectly, creating a dazzling show of light. Although 1 carat diamonds are certainly not small, they can look even bigger and more impressive when the quality of the diamond causes it to sparkle and glitter in all light conditions. In fact, if you have a choice between a 1 carat diamond with top light performance, or a larger diamond without, diamond experts will consistently recommend that you choose the smaller stone with the better cut quality.
The next step is to ensure that you buy a certified diamond. Every diamond buying guide will walk you through the “Four C’s” of diamond quality, but the only way to know for sure that you are getting the diamond you think you are getting is to ensure that it has been graded by a reputable independent lab. You’ll find diamond buying guides and online forums that debate the relative merits of certification by the GIA vs AGS, but the truth is that both of those agencies provide reliable independent certifications to diamonds. Don’t worry as much about GIA vs. AGS—if your diamond is certified by either of those labs, you are in good hands.
Finally, find a setting for your diamond engagement ring. A 1 carat diamond engagement ring can look ho-hum or incredible—alot depends on the setting. If you really want to make an impact even with a relatively modest stone choose a designer ring embellished with dozens of tiny pavé stones. If you want to highlight the elegance and simplicity of an incredible stone, choose a solitaire setting. There are as many options of diamond engagement ring settings out there as there are jewelry styles, so be patient and keep looking until you find the one for you!
For more specific questions ask our experts