Top 10 Tips When Buying A Diamond
1. Meet Your Budget
Traditionally, a gentleman is expected to spend at least two months of his salary on a diamond engagement ring for his fiancée. But regardless of how you allocate your budget, it’s important to meet that budget by choosing the metal and diamond size first. Optional metals are platinum, white gold and yellow gold. Platinum is the most expensive, but it resists tarnishing and won’t need expensive maintenance. Keep in mind that an engagement ring is worn everyday over a lifetime; wear and tear is expected. Make sure you also look at the different cut, colours, clarities and carats (or sizes) of a diamond, as the cost will vary according to the quality. Once you have selected the diamond and metal, you can gauge whether a complex or customised ring design is still possible, or if a simpler setting will best suit your budget.
2. Colour – The Four ‘Cs’
The colour in a diamond can range on a scale from “D” (colourless) to “Z” (fancy coloured). The premium selections of white diamonds, ranging from D to H, are the most valuable, because they allow more light to pass through them, making them more brilliant to the eye. Choosing a diamond with a good colour is a good investment.
3. Cut – The Four ‘Cs’
The cut of a diamond determines its shape, angles and proportions. Specifically, the
Gemological Institute of America (GIA) refers to cut as the relationship between the table size, crown angle and pavilion depth. A well-cut diamond will have maximum scintillation and what we call “fire”, which returns a lot of light to the eye. This is what gives your diamond its sparkle and shine. Traditional cuts and shapes for diamond jewellery include brilliant, princess, heart-shaped, marquise, emerald, radiant, oval and pear. [Show pictures of all these in the e-newsletter.]It’s important to pay a little extra for a handcrafted ring rather than a mass-produced (or “cast”) ring, as handmade jewellery is heavier, stronger and of a greater density. There is a massive difference in the workmanship of a handcrafted ring, which involves many hours of work by a highly skilled jeweller. The gold or platinum is heated and then rolled, drawn, shaped, hammered, cut and joined to form a beautiful masterpiece. It is then polished and cleaned, resulting in an incredible display of craftsmanship.
4. Clarity – The Four ‘Cs’
Natural diamonds contain tiny imperfections, or inclusions, most too small to be seen with the naked eye. The fewer the imperfections, the more valuable the diamond; truly flawless diamonds are extremely rare. The clarity grading scale ranges through:
IF (internally flawless)
VVS1, VVS2 (very very slightly included)
VS1, VS2 (very slightly included)
SI1, SI2 (slightly included)
I1, I2, I3 (included)
5. Carat – The Four ‘Cs’
Diamonds are measured by weight in “carats”: one carat (abbreviated to “ct”) is equal to 0.2 grams. Larger diamonds are more valuable, due to their rare occurrence in nature. But the brilliance of a diamond depends on its cut and symmetry, so size alone is not the only indicator of value.
6. Get A Certificate Of Appraisal
Every diamond you purchase should come with an internationally recognised certificate of appraisal that proves its authenticity, shape, cut, weight (carat), measurements, clarity, colour and finish. Your certificate should be from one of the following independent diamond certifiers:
Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Belgium’s Hoge Raad voor Diamant (HRD), also known as the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, or The International Gemological Institute (IGI).
7. Buy Conflict-Free Diamonds
Make sure you are buying and investing in a certified, conflict-free, ethically traded diamond. What does this mean? Conflict-free diamonds are mined and sold in compliance with United Nations resolutions and their sale directly benefits their country of origin. By contrast, unethical diamonds, also known as conflict diamonds or “blood diamonds”, are illegally traded to fund wars in developing countries.
8. Buy From An Established Trader
Be sure to buy your diamond from an established diamond trader. Diamonds are best bought in person, from certified brokers and jewellers who are experienced, have a longstanding reputation to uphold, and can be contacted for insurance purposes or to carry out complimentary cleaning services. Do not buy from a fly-by-night internet business that sells diamonds online without reliable, commercial premises. A diamond is a sentimental and financial investment, and one of the highest net-worth purchases you’re likely to make in a lifetime.
9. Ask For A Lifetime Guarantee
Check you have a lifetime guarantee when you purchase your diamond ring, covering any manufacturing defects, complimentary lifetime inspection and a free lifetime cleaning service. Your jewellery mounting and setting should be guaranteed to be free of any manufacturing defects. If any of the diamonds or gemstones become loose, your jeweller should repair is immediately, absolutely free. This shouldn’t be negotiable.
10. Buy Handcrafted Jewellery
It’s important to pay a little extra for a handcrafted ring rather than a mass-produced (or “cast”) ring, as handmade jewellery is heavier, stronger and of a greater density. There is a massive difference in the workmanship of a handcrafted ring, which involves many hours of work by a highly skilled jeweller. The gold or platinum is heated and then rolled, drawn, shaped, hammered, cut and joined to form a beautiful masterpiece. It is then polished and cleaned, resulting in an incredible display of craftsmanship.