Diamonds, specifically diamond rings, are among the most popular pieces that we sell in the Fine Jewelry department. Purchased for significant occasions; buyers want the “perfect” stone. The internet is full of information, which can sometimes be overwhelming. Here are the five crucial things to keep in mind when purchasing a diamond.
The diamond color grading scale progresses from D-Z. D-F color diamonds are what we call “colorless,” which means they have the least amount of yellow or brown tones. G-J color diamonds are called “near-colorless,” K-M is “faint,” N-R is “very light,” and S-Z is “light.” Most people that are new to diamonds begin to see the difference at about J/K color. Price can vary widely depending on color. For instance, a 1.00-carat diamond can range from $2,000 to $10,000, with the only difference being color.
Diamonds form over long periods of time deep under the earth subjected to extreme heat and pressure. The process that creates diamonds results in most stones having small natural birthmarks on the surface or inside. The fewer inclusions or blemishes, the rarer and more highly priced the diamond. The clarity rating system begins with Flawless, then to Internally Flawless, followed by Very Very Slightly Included, Very Slightly Included, Slightly Included, and finally Included. All clarity grading is done under 10x magnification, so most often you will not be able to see any clarity characteristics with the naked eye.
3. Carat weight
We weigh diamonds using carats. This weighing system originates with ancient gem traders that used carob seeds as counterweights in balance scales. Sometimes at auction, you will notice that we use an approximate carat weight. That means we have not taken the stone out of the mounting and have estimated the weight using measurements. When buying a diamond, it is useful to know that there are significant price differences if a stone is over or under a certain amount. For instance, a round, 0.99 cts diamond with F color and VVS1 clarity is worth approximately $4,500 while a diamond with the same grading but a slightly higher weight of 1.01 cts is worth approximately $6,000. Those .02 carats can make a big difference!
The cut refers to the shape of the diamond and the quality of the cut. Round is the most popular shape, and all other shapes are categorized as “fancy” and included marquise, oval, pear, and emerald-cut. Rounds tend to be more expensive than the fancy shapes. A cut grade of the diamond measures how well the diamond is fashioned to ensure the maximum return of light to the viewer’s eye. The proportions are calculated and then ranked from excellent to poor.
5. Give yourself the freedom to ignore 1-4
I sometimes see clients purchase a diamond based upon the stone’s gemological report without even looking at the stone. At the end of the day, you’re not buying the report; you’re buying the diamond. Make sure that you love it! Many clients prefer the old European-cut diamonds used in pre-1940s jewelry. Those stones seldom get a stellar cut grade, but they have a unique way of reflecting light that draws the eye in. Some very pleasing yellowish diamonds have a low color grade. Have confidence. What you like is more important than anyone else’s opinion.