How to Buy a Diamond
Before you start looking for a diamond, you want to have all of the necessary information that’s available to you, after all knowledge is power. With this guide you will understand the four Cs of a diamond – cut, color, clarity, and carat weight.
Then you can select your diamond based on the same criteria jewelers use to grade and evaluate them. After reading through this guide, you too will be ready with confidence to choose the diamond that’s right for you. Before explaining the four Cs, we’d like to introduce you to the grading report, or more commonly known as the Diamond Certificate.
This certificate documents the attributes of a diamond, including the four Cs, as noted by a gemologist. The weight of a diamond is measured in carats. The value tends to rise exponentially with carat weight, since larger diamonds are more rare. The cut of a diamond has an absolute affect on its brilliance. Even if the diamond has perfect color and clarity, a poor cut can make a diamond look dull and muddy.
Diamonds totally free from internal flaws, or inclusions, are extremely rare and very highly valued this is discussed in the Clarity section of the tutorials. As for color, this is also something worth considering, the whiter the diamond, the more rare, therefore the stone increases in value. Clarity is graded based on the number of inclusions found in a diamond.
Many people confuse cut with the shape of a diamond. Most diamonds are cut round with a full 58 facets, and a good cut, or make, has more scintillation, more sparkle. The shape of the diamond, however, is largely a matter of personal preference and does not directly affect the value.
It is the work of a master cutter that allows the diamond to be cut in such a way as to permit the maximum amount of light to be reflected through the diamond, and that’s a great reflection on you. It is the cut that enables a diamond to make the best use of light.
The absence of color gives a diamond its great value. If any color is detected, even slight, the diamonds value is depreciated. Some of the “fancy” diamonds can be valued for their color. For example a yellow diamond.
There are 2 categories of diamonds in respect to color:
1. White Diamonds – These are diamonds falling within GIA’s D to Z color grading scale, traditionally used for engagement rings and fine jewelry.
2. Fancy Natural Colored Diamonds – These are diamonds with faint to vivid saturations of hues such as blue, yellow, or pink, frequently used for fashion jewelry.
White Diamonds graded D through F are naturally the most valuable and desirable because of their rarity. If there is a budget in place diamonds graded G through I, do not have any color that can be detected by the untrained eye.
Diamonds graded J through M, have color that can often be minimized or almost completely hidden by carefully selecting the right setting or mounting style and color. For example, yellow metals will hide traces of color in a colorless diamond, while white metals will enhance it.
With fancy color diamonds, however, there is a large difference. The discussion turns to the purity and richness of the diamond’s color. Yellow is the most commonly-occurring fancy color. Red and green diamonds are extremely rare to find. The price of fancy colored diamonds is dependent on several factors: the particular hue, or spectral color, of the diamond (the rarer the color, the greater the cost); the richness or saturation of the color (ranging from very light to light to intense to vivid); and the purity of the color (i.e. whether the color is bright and clear, or ‘muddied’ by the presence of other color-causing trace elements).
There are laboratory created diamonds. They are either heat/radiation treated or chemically created. They are of lesser value than authentic fancy diamonds.
CLARITY refers to the presence of any identifying characteristics on and within the stone. Some of these occur naturally and some occur because of the stress put upon the stone during the mining process. All diamonds are graded based on their appearance–that is, the presence or absence of blemishes and inclusions–fewer than 10 x magnifications. They are graded on a scale that ranges from Flawless to Imperfect.
Caratage means CARAT, the measurement used to weigh a diamond. One Carat= 200 milligrams, or 0.2 grams. 142 carats adds up to one ounce. Carats are further divided into points.
The price of a diamond will constantly rise proportionately to the size of the stone. The larger diamonds are very rare and have a greater value per carat. For example when discussing points, remember that a one-carat diamond will cost much more than a 95 pointer. The word carat is taken from the perfectly matched carob seeds that were once used in ancient times to balance scales by merchants.
So uniform and symmetrical in shape and weight are these little seeds that even today’s sophisticated and complicated devices cannot detect more than three one-thousandths of a difference between them.
The truth about diamonds is that size is sought after, naturally; but overall quality is the determining factor in the end. There is a balance of size and quality that makes up much of the artistic nuance of a professional gemologist or gem cutter. It is the cutter’s job to produce a gorgeous lavish diamond, while giving the consumer the highest Carat Weight for their money.
* diamonds demonstrated above are not to actual size due to image resizing
Only a fifth of all rough diamonds mined are suitable for gem cutting. Rough diamonds is the raw material that a cutter works with. The cutter must follow precise set of formulas to cut each popular stone shape. A diamond shape doesn’t greatly affect a stone’s worth. The cutter’s skill is ultimately the determining factor in maintaining and preserving the infinite beauty of a diamond. He must maintain its size and value while creating each original diamond. When the certificate is acquired, the professional evaluation will give you the diamond’s exact measurement and weight, as well as the details of its other attributes, cut and quality. For exact authenticity, this analysis must always be done in an accredited laboratory.