Loose diamond secrets
By Ashley Bailey , Monday, March 21, 2011
Shopping for diamonds—whether you want to buy a perfect loose diamond or a stunning engagement ring—can be scary or intimidating. There are so many factors to keep in mind, so many different kinds of diamonds out there, and when was the last time you spent a month’s salary on such a tiny little piece of rock? But with a few of these pro-level tips under your belt, you will be shopping for loose diamonds like a seasoned professional in no time.
Choosing the right jeweler is the single most important decision you will make when you set out to buy a loose diamond or engagement ring. The right jeweler can make all the difference between an exhausting, process and a smooth, exciting experience. The right jewelry store or website can help you find the loose diamond of your dreams without all the hassle, anxiety and confusion.
The next crucial component to choosing a good loose diamond is certification. A reliable, reputable third party grading certificate is the only guarantee that the diamond you are purchasing is the one you are paying for. Labs like the Gemological Institute of America and American Gemological Society have been around for decades, testing and grading millions of diamonds. When you buy diamond, make sure it is certified by one of these agencies, and make sure that the genuine certification accompanies your diamond purchase.
The key mantra that experts know when they shop for loose diamonds or engagement rings is this: study, search, and select. After thoroughly researching all the factors involved in grading loose diamonds and the best stores that sell them, you will be ready to select the perfect loose diamond that you will treasure for years to come.
Everyone’s heard of the Four C’s, but few people know that not all of the C’s are equal. Most people think of carat size—or weight—first when they start researching diamonds, but the truth is that carat size should be the last factor in your considerations. How big does your loose diamond need to be? There is no right answer. A higher quality diamond can often look even bigger than one that is of a higher carat weight but lower quality. Sparkle and light performance is the most important factor in determining the “wow” factor of your diamond, not size.
Expert tip: Diamond prices jump at certain “round” carat sizes, like .75 and 1.00 carats. Choosing a stone just shy of those marks, like .74 or .98, can be a way to get the same look for a lot less.
Color and clarity are both often-misunderstood factors in determining the beauty and sparkle of a diamond. A colorless appearance is important to the classic diamond look, but a colorless color grade is not the only way to get it. The style and material used in the setting will affect the color appearance, as will fluorescence and cut quality. Expect a jump of about 10-15 in price for every increase on the color scale. Clarity refers to the presence of inclusions, or small natural imperfections, in the diamond crystal. What this ranking may not tell you is whether those imperfections are visible to the naked eye. You can spend significantly more on a Flawless stone when a VS diamond would look the same to your eyes.
Expert tip: Pay more attention to whether your loose diamond is Eye Clean than whether it is internally flawless.
Cut is widely considered to be the most important factor in creating that “wow” factor that diamond shoppers are looking for. Cut refers to the physical characteristics—like polish and proportions—and the performance characteristics—like light leakage, brilliance and fire.
These behind-the-scenes tips and secrets will help you choose a loose diamond or center stone for an engagement ring with confidence and expert skill.
For more specific questions ask our experts