By  , Monday, March 02, 2009

Diamonds

Whether they're for your engagement or for an anniversary, you can't go wrong with a diamond ring, necklace, bracelet, or even a watch. The problem is that men don't necessarily enjoy shopping for them.

So, to make this dreaded task easier on men, I've compiled a list of common questions and concerns men have about buying diamonds for their special ladies. I then went to expert Debi Wexler from WhiteFlash.com for the answers. Debi shared her knowledge on how to avoid getting hustled when buying a diamond, which "C" is more important, how to insure your rock, and more.

Here is what every man should know before shopping for a diamond.

Q: What's the difference between a cubic zirconia and a diamond?

A cubic zirconia (CZ) is a man-made crystal with a different refractive index (the degree to which a substance can bend and impact light, making the substance look more or less brilliant) than a diamond. CZ is not as durable as a diamond. It also weighs 60% more, so if she likes to trade rings with her friends to compare, you could get busted.

Q: Which of the 4 Cs (cut, clarity, color, and carat) is the most important characteristic to consider when buying a diamond?

The most important characteristic is cut. The cut is the quality of a diamond's proportions, described in angles and percentages. It is not merely how symmetric the diamond is, as described by the "symmetry" grade on the lab report, as you may be told. Cut has the most impact on a diamond's overall beauty. Many consumers are kept in the dark about the finer details of cut. Find out more information about diamond cut .

After cut, our money is on clarity, then color -- because great cut quality can make a stone appear more colorless. As for carat weight, we all want size (and so do our women), but given a choice, the stone with the best cut quality wins.

What questions should you ask and how much should you spend?

Q: What type of information and documentation should I demand when purchasing a diamond?

You should insist on knowing these details of the cut: Table %, Depth %, Crown angle, and Pavilion angle (see diagram below). These measurements will allow evaluation of a diamond's cut quality.

diamond proportions



Note: You can e-mail these four proportions for any round diamond to one of our representatives for a fast, free evaluation of its cut quality and predicted light performance.

Independent laboratory certification is a must. We feel very strongly about this. It is a pedigree of quality that should come with the diamond. We prefer American Gemological Society (AGS) reports, because they include cut proportions, but Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and European Gemological Laboratory, USA division (EGL-USA) are reputable as well.

Q: Is it true that the price of a diamond increases exponentially as its carats increase, especially as it gets close to 1?

Prices fluctuate, but the short answer is yes. The dramatic increase is because larger pieces of a rough diamond are needed to produce larger sized diamonds. These pieces of rough cost more. The good news is that prices you've seen in the "real world" are inflated. In this day and age, you can get a higher quality diamond for similar or better prices from a reputable Internet vendor.

Q: What is an Whiteflash A Cut Above Hearts & Arrows diamond?

Hearts & Arrows is a term used for a round, brilliant diamond that exhibits a kaleidoscopic pattern of hearts in the pavilion (bottom) and arrows in the crown (top) due to the precision in its cut. These diamonds are considered the best-cut diamonds in the world.

To earn the
Whiteflash A Cut Above name, the stone must have the planet's highest cut grade of AGS 0 "Ideal." Further, the physical alignment of each facet must be perfect. Less than one in three million diamonds displays Hearts & Arrows, and only a fraction are good enough to be branded Whiteflash  A Cut Above.


Because of the very specific proportions, each
 A Cut Above has a harmonious blend of white light, colored flashes and sizzling scintillation. Expressly dynamic in all lighting conditions, this marriage of crisp brilliance and robust fire makes Whtieflash  A Cut Above the most visually balanced diamonds in the world.


Q: What's the most popular metal used when creating a diamond ring?

These days, it's platinum, which we recommend for its durability. Gold is always in fashion, too.

Q: What's a reasonable budget for buying a diamond? Is it really three months' salary as advertised by some?

The short answer is to buy what you can afford.

Finding the perfect diamond is personal. The traditional figure is three months' salary, but who's to say that's right for your circumstances? We are guessing that if she's ready for you to pop the question, she wants it to be popped soon. Don't wait needlessly. No budget is too small or too large, but you should look for the best value in craftsmanship and performance for your money, whether it's a 15 pointer for $150 or a 7-carat Superideal True Hearts & Arrows cut for $250,000.

How to insure your diamond and avoid getting hustled.

Q: Do diamonds have a resale value once they've been cut and purchased?

Only at a slight percentage over wholesale cost. Your best security is to make sure the vendor has sound return, trade-up and/or buyback policies. Of course, WhiteFlash.com offers all three, including a unique lifetime trade-up policy: We'll give you full value for the purchase amount if you ever want to upgrade! We want customers for life, including future birthdays, anniversaries, and simply for getting out of the doghouse.

Q: How should I care for the diamond?

Diamond is one of the hardest known substances, so just keep it clean and degreased. Dish soap, warm water and a soft brush do the trick. The setting may require more delicate care.

Q: How can I insure the diamond?

Often, your jewelry can be added to your homeowner's or renter's insurance. Separate policies can be obtained through Chubb, Jeweler's Mutual and similar companies. You will need an independent appraisal for insurance purposes. WhiteFlash.com provides an independent appraisal with each diamond purchase.

Q: Is there a foolproof way to avoid getting hustled when buying a diamond?

Be smart. Follow these four key words: education, information, communication, and reputation.

Demystify the element of cut. Insist on obtaining all the information and don't accept excuses. Ask questions and be certain the answers make sense and aren't "feel good" tactics. Investigate vendor reputability and find the best-cut stone with qualities of clarity, color and weight you are happy with at the most competitive price.

If someone tells you that you don't need to know proportions, dodges your requests for information, or tries to claim that grades in polish or symmetry indicate cut quality, you should run and take your business elsewhere.

If someone tells you the Internet is a scam, ask them for all of the same analytic information and lab certification we provide, compare overall quality, prices, guarantees, return, buyback and trade-up policies, and then make your own choice.

There you have it, the basics of buying a diamond. With your newfound knowledge, shopping for a diamond shouldn't be such a difficult task anymore. Visit
 for more information


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