How do I know I'm paying a fair price for my diamond?
Make sure you're as well-informed as possible. Read through all the educational material on the International Diamond Laboratories website for a thorough understanding of the qualities of a diamond that will impact the price. The most important advice to remember is if a deal is almost too good to be true, then be wary. Make sure your diamond is certified either by the International Diamond Laboratories or another reputed gemological laboratory to have a third party opinion on the quality. Research the seller. Buy only from reputed jewelers or diamond dealers. And, if you still have a nagging doubt about the stone, become convinced before you buy.
I've set a budget, but how do I choose a stone? how do I decide which is the best one for the price?
Take stones of various color grades and compare them so that you can learn to tell the difference. Try to view in sunlight if possible. Some stores will have educational material that will help you in choosing your desired color. Once you have decided at which point you can detect yellow tinges, you have determined a limit on your desired color.
Use a jeweler's loupe or microscope and view various grades of stones so you can see the inclusions. Now view the stones without magnification. Even knowing the locations of the inclusions, they should not be visible if the stone is SI2 or better. If you are a collector or are buying the diamond for a special occasion, you might want to go for the highest purity. Remember that inclusions are normalities, not abnormalities in a diamond. They are useful in helping one identify a particular stone.
Ultimately, the cut has the greatest overall impact on the appearance of the stone. The further the cutter has deviated from the optimum cut, the more dead spots there will be in the diamond.
Finally speak to your jeweler. Don't simply tell them how much you're willing to pay. Explain your budget and your preferences in the 4Cs and work together. Discuss the kind of jewelry you want the diamond to be set in. Examine the gemological certificate and make sure an independent lab such as the International Diamond Laboratories has graded the stone so you absolutely sure you're getting what you expect.
How does an International Diamond Laboratories certificate help me?
A diamond grading report by independent labs, such as International Diamond Laboratories are recognized worldwide. These quality assessments are used by appraisers to determine the insurance or replacement value of your diamond. If you purchase an uncertified diamond, there is no guarantee that the appraiser will appraise your diamond at the same level as the jeweler who sold it to you did a diamond grading report adds an increased comfort level to your purchase. Because the quality of your purchase has been independently verified, you can feel assured that you have made a wise purchase and that you have received exactly what you have paid for.
I've heard of the 4C's but don't truly understand what they mean. In layman's terms, what are a diamond's 4C's?
The carat weight is simply the mass (size) of the diamond. One carat is defined as exactly 200 milligrams. All else being equal, the value of a diamond increases exponentially in relation to carat weight, since larger diamonds are rarer. This being said, other factors (such as Cut, Color and Clarity) come into play when determining the price of a diamond. The price of a stone is not based on the size of the diamond alone. In a store you may see two stones, one slightly larger than the other, yet the larger carat weight diamond may be the same price or even cheaper than the smaller diamond. This is because the grades of the color, clarity and cut of the smaller diamond will be better.
This refers to the proportions and finish of a polished diamond. Proportions are the size and angle relationships between the facets and different parts of the diamond. Finish includes polish and details of facet shape and placement. Cut affects both the weight yield from rough and the optical efficiency of the polished diamond. A well-cut diamond will internally reflect light from one mirror-like facet to another and disperse and reflect it through the top of the stone. The better cut the stone, the better the sparkle, or 'brilliance'.
The color of a diamond is ranked on a scale from ‘D' down to ‘Z'. A ‘D' color is the top color grade (colorless) and a ‘Z' - would mean that stone has a noticeable tint of color, typically yellow. If though, the stone has a greater color saturation than a ‘Z', it is considered a Fancy Colored Diamond and is graded on a separate scale. It is also far more valuable. Most colored diamonds are yellow and brown. More rare are pink, blue and red.
Most diamonds, with the exception of flawless diamonds, have natural imperfections, commonly referred to as ‘nature's fingerprints'. Inclusions can be white, black or colorless. Most inclusions are undetectable by the human eye and can only be seen with 10x magnification. Diamonds are ranked on a scale from ‘internally flawless' (no inclusions visible under 10x magnification) to ‘included ‘(eye visible inclusions).
What type of cut is the best?
It's all down to personal preference. The most common is the brilliant or round cut diamond. Other cuts include Emerald cut (rectangular shape), Marquise cut (elongated shape with points at each end), Pear cut (resembles a teardrop), Princess cut (square or rectangular shape), Radiant cut (square or rectangular shape with the corners cut off) and Trilliant cut (triangular shape). The best way to decide which type of cut you prefer is to simply look at loose diamonds in a variety of shapes and choose your favorite. You should also take into consideration what ‘look' you want from your stone. For example, fancy shapes tend look larger than others, yet round brilliants hide defects and yellow tints the best.
What is the difference between a "certified diamond" and a "non-certified diamond"?
There is no physical difference between a diamond that is certified and one that is not. The difference is that, with the certified diamond, you have a third party assurance as to the particular nature and quality of the diamond you are purchasing. A certified diamond comes with a diamond grading report from a gem lab. This report assures the customer that the diamond is independently recognized as possessing all the qualities specified by that report.
How do I know that it is a real diamond?
There are several tests, but in reality, unless you're a gemologist you can't really tell 100% whether the diamond you're looking at is a simulant, synthetic of even ‘fake'.
If you can not easily find inclusions under a 10 times magnification you should become suspicious, most likely it is not a real diamond. But be aware of the fact that some gas bubbles in cubic zirconium may appear like inclusions if you do not look carefully. Diamond grading reports do give you certainty on the nature of the gem.
Is a diamond a good investment?
The answer depends on whether you are investing in the diamond itself, or in what a diamond represents. Diamond prices have been steadily increasing for the past decades and diamonds tend to hold their value.
Can a diamond break or chip?
Even though diamonds are extremely hard, they can still be damaged from abuse. Diamonds can scratch each other and all other gemstones, such as sapphires, rubies, emeralds, and pearls. You should store your diamonds away from other gems in a jewelry box and don't wear any valuable gemstones while doing hard work.
How should I clean my diamond?
Anything that cuts grease will help remove the build-up of oil and dirt from a diamond. Commercially prepared jewelry cleaner is perfectly suited for this purpose as is a simple dishwashing detergent and a bit of ammonia. You can of course also ask your jeweler periodically to clean your diamond jewelry. He will on the same occasion verify the setting to make sure your diamond remains in place.