Carats, Clarity, Color, and Cut
When you are ready to enter the market to buy a diamond engagement ring, it can certainly be an overwhelming experience. However, if you arm yourself with some useful information and use a little common sense you most certainly CAN buy a diamond with confidence. Here is an outline of the 4C's. Carat Weight Clarity, Color and Cut. These four factors determine how large or small the diamond looks, how white and clear it appears to be and how much it will cost you.
1. Carat Weight
The carat weight is the easiest and the most tangible factor for the consumer to compare from store to store, because there is no judgment in determining the weight of a diamond. Diamonds are weighed on electronic scales that are extremely accurate. The weight of a diamond is broken down into a unit of measurements called points. A one carat diamond consists of 100 points and a point to a carat is like a penny to a dollar. The weight of a diamond should always be expressed to you as accurately as possible. For example, many jewelers will take a diamond weighing .44 carats and state that the diamond weighs 1/2 carat, leading you to believe that the diamond weighs .50 carats. Always ask for the exact weight.
Most gem quality diamonds contain small birthmarks call inclusions. The amount, size, color and location of the inclusions are what a competent gemologist uses to determine the clarity grade of a diamond. Below is a diagram of today's clarity grading system which was developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and is the most widely used grading system in the world.
(Mouse over to see a diagram demonstrating this grading system.)
Most diamonds appear to be colorless to the average person, however, most diamonds contain traces of yellow, brown or gray. Colorless diamonds are the rarest, but a diamond does not have to be colorless to be beautiful. Below is a diagram of the GIA color grading system. The eyes of an average person would have trouble seeing color in a diamond at J or above.
(Mouse over to see a diagram demonstrating the color grading scale.)
A diamond has to be cut and proportioned at exact depths and angles in order to achieve maximum sparkle and brilliance. Two diamonds having the same color and clarity grades can still appear to be different, depending on how they are cut.
Ten Common-sense Tips on How to Buy a Diamond
1. Ask the jeweler behind the counter what his or her credentials are.
Do they have any gemological training or are they just order takers? A doctor, lawyer or accountant would display their credentials to show that they are schooled professionals. Your jeweler should do the same.
2. Never buy a diamond on the basis of a certificate alone.
There are dozens of grading laboratories, but many differ as far as grading standards go. The same diamond can get 2 very different grades depending on which laboratory does the evaluation. Be sure that the jeweler provides a written guarantee that allows you to have the diamond checked by a competent third party and offers a full refund if you find that your diamond is not as it was represented to be.
(Click here for our guarantee.)
3. Walk out of any store that offers a phony discount.
Advertisements of 50 to 75% off are insulting to everyone. If a store offers a 50% discount ask yourself "50% off of what?" Who would ever shop at this store when they aren't having a sale?
4. Always buy your diamond from a reputable establishment where you can ask questions face to face with a real person.
There are literally thousands of grading variables, you need to see and compare diamonds side by side and to have a professional there with you to explain those variables.
5. Ask if the jeweler offers "Interest Free Financing".
Take advantage of our Interest Free Financing! We offer many different purchase options, with up to 12 months same as cash! (for qualified individuals) Please contact us or stop in for details!
6. Beware of jewelers that ask you to leave a deposit on a diamond when you are not ready to buy.
Some unscrupulous jewelers use this tactic of having you leave a refundable deposit to get you to come back to the store after you've shopped around and found something else for less. At that time, the jeweler will drop the price to get you to commit to his diamond. A professional jeweler that offers you a great value today will offer you the same great value tomorrow.
7. Ask about a return policy.
You should be able to get a full refund within a given amount of time, with no questions asked from a reputable jeweler.
8. Never buy a diamond from a so called "wholesaler".
A wholesaler doesn't sell to just anyone without making a profit. Many consumers have been burned buying a diamond from a "wholesaler" on a "cash only" basis only to find that they bought a diamond that was not what it was represented to be and were left with little or no recourse.
9. Don't buy a diamond as an investment.
You will not profit by selling a diamond a year or two after you purchased it, but over the years it will hold its value. Remember, you are investing in your relationship, not to realize a profit.
10. HAVE FUN! This is a lifetime purchase.
Come and visit DeSumma and Wexler Jewelers. We give the best value, selection and service that Jewelers Row has to offer, all in a friendly and relaxed environment. You'll be glad you did.