An increasing number of people are opting to purchase their diamond over the internet because the prices online are extremely good, even after accounting for insured shipping and any custom duties that might need to be paid for if purchasing from overseas. Most online jewelers don’t even charge for the insured shipping. And I am talking International Shipping, too.
If you do choose to buy online you’ll quickly find yourself looking up what various terms mean so you know what you are getting. Every single natural diamond is unique. The diamond you buy will have no other like it. It will be special. One of a kind. Not another one like it. Just that one. As I often tell my kids “You are unique, just like everyone else.” That uniqueness makes it necessary to describe a diamond in detail.
Everyone has their own idea of how much they want to spend on a diamond. A diamond’s price will be determined by its characteristics. All the characteristics combined result in how the diamond looks to the eye. Some larger diamonds are cheaper than smaller diamonds due to whatever characteristics have combined to make that diamond the way it is. So this means you will need to familiarize yourself with some diamond industry terms if you are going to benefit from the extremely good prices being offered online. If this seems a daunting task remember that most online jewelers give you a 30 day money back guarantee.
Now I am not trying to scare you off, but if you read this next part over too quickly you may come away a little confused. So slow down and take your time.
Some of the same words are used to describe two different things. It’s almost as if the diamond industry wanted to keep some things secret, only for the initiated. I wonder why?
Okay, enough cynicism. Are you ready to arm yourself with the knowledge to grab yourself the best diamond for your budget?
Let’s begin with the 4 characteristics that combine to make up a diamond’s value.
The most well known terms are: Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat.
Carat is the weight (1 carat is equal to 200 milligrams). This characteristic has the greatest influence on the diamond’s size. When talking about diamond engagement rings , 1 carat diamond ring immediately springs to mind. And this is the size that is most frequently sought after. It seems to be just right, not too big not too small. Though anything between 1 and 10 carats is not too big. Elizabeth Taylor did have a 33 carat diamond, but it was most likely a rather unwieldy piece of jewelry since she did refer to it as her “skating rink”. If you are looking at the other end of the size spectrum, half a carat is about the smallest you want to go. Diamonds 1 carat and larger generally come with a more detailed report (called a grading report or diamond certificate).
Some shapes appear bigger than others of the same weight, like the marquise cut, which is an almond shape. If the budget does not permit more than a 0.80 carat diamond you could possibly consider a marquise cut diamond which will appear larger than a 0.80 carat round brilliant or princess cut. This could be applied to any weight as the marquise shape will give the impression of being bigger than round cut diamonds and princess cut diamonds of the same weight.
Just remember that shape is a personal thing and if you are buying for someone else make sure they are a fan of the marquise shape.
A diamond’s cut grade refers to a rating which the diamond has received from a laboratory which has examined the diamond in detail and rated the diamond according to how well the diamond has been cut. There are mathematical checks that are done on round diamonds to see if the cut has been done in such a way to maximize the diamond’s sparkle when looked at from a distance of about 25 to 30 cm in a properly lit space. A diamond only reflects and disperses the light which is available so this makes sense. You won’t see much sparkle without some available light.
The diamond’s cut is the term used to refer to the diamond’s shape. The classic diamond shape you might see in illustrations is known as Round Brilliant. This shape has been very cleverly designed and is known to provide the best sparkle, or light performance. All other shapes are called Fancy Cuts.
The shape of the diamond is usually the one thing which the person who is going to wear the diamond may want to have some say in choosing. Round Brilliant is often a good choice if input from the recipient is not available. Princess cut diamonds are also popular, but make sure you get a light performance report.
Color grade. The diamond with the least color is going to let the light through without obstruction and create the best sparkle (if the diamond is well cut). The slight coloring of a diamond will affect a diamond’s brilliance. The less color the greater the brilliance. However there are diamonds which have a very intense or vivid coloring. These are also quite striking and some people like the idea of a vividly colored diamond, or a diamond in their favorite color. Since these intensely colored diamonds are rare they will be priced much higher than diamonds with only vague coloring. Diamonds with intense or vivid colors are called Fancy colored diamonds. Completely clear diamonds are also quite rare and will be priced accordingly. The majority of clear diamonds that are sold are not a completely colorless grade though they do appear to be colorless. Admittedly it is difficult even for a trained professional to notice the coloring unless compared side by side to a completely colorless diamond.
Clarity. This one is quite an interesting factor. The term Clarity refers to little microscopic flecks inside a diamond. These tiny crystals are called inclusions. They are not all bad. They show you that it is a real diamond, a natural diamond, that is. However if you have too many flecks or they are situated in a very obvious place within or on the surface of the diamond, it may detract from the stone’s beauty. As you probably have already guessed, the less inclusions found in a diamond, the higher the price will be due to its rarity.
So the most important factor is the diamond’s cut. Consider buying diamonds that have a Good, Very Good, or Ideal cut grade.
Go for diamonds with less color, and less inclusions, though a few very tiny inclusions shouldn’t be an issue.
Once you know what to look for you can find some real bargains online.
I have generally been very conservative when I tell people that I can help them save $3000 on the cost of a high quality diamond ring. Depending on the type of diamond the savings can range much higher into the tens of thousands. The way I do this is by directing them to the websites that are in my opinion the best online jewelers whose goal is to provide quality at an affordable price. Many of the companies I have listed are not huge mega corporations. They are well run and efficient companies who provide a personal service and keep their overheads low, passing on great savings to their customers.