How to Buy Loose Princess Diamonds That Are Certified

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The princess cut diamond is one of the most popular choices for engagement rings all over the world. The style has certainly earned this honor. The princess cut diamond combines classic and modern trends to present a diamond with a chic, geometric shape and all the fire you'd expect, making it one of the most beautiful diamonds in history.

A stone like this looks absolutely breathtaking in just about any setting. This is one reason why some shoppers consider buying a loose princess cut diamond, rather than one that is set into a ring. With a loose diamond, you can focus on the quality of the stone itself, plus you have the freedom to create the perfect setting for the person you love. But how do you go about finding that perfect, certified, princess cut diamond? Here are a few helpful hints:

Step 1: Find the Right Jeweler

 

An engagement ring is one of the most important pieces of jewelry you will buy in your lifetime, so it’s important that you know who you’re buying from. The folks at the Gemological Institute of America, or GIA, suggest that you shop around for a jeweler with as much fastidiousness (and with much the same process) that you would when looking for a doctor.

Ask for his or her credentials. Check out the store’s reviews online. Sure, anyone can spout some knowledge about the 4Cs, but an educated and trained jeweler will offer you much more assistance throughout the buying process. Ultimately, you’ll want to find someone knowledgeable and understanding who makes you feel comfortable as you make your purchase.

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Step 2: Find the Right Diamond

 

Believe it or not, finding the perfect jeweler can often be more difficult than finding the perfect diamond. Of course, the ideal diamond comes down to those infamous 4Cs - cut, clarity, color and carat - but diamonds of all types also have certain standards that separate them into categories: excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor. Better yet, these standards are based on percentages, so you can find an excellent diamond in any carat size.

When you’re shopping for a princess cut diamond, try to keep these values in mind to find an excellent stone:

  • The diamond’s depth (the height measurement from top to tip) should be between 60 and 75 percent of the diamond’s width.
  • The diamond’s table (that flat part across the crown, or top of the diamond) should be between 53 and 57 percent of the diamond’s width.
  • The diamond’s width to length ratio should be between 1.00 and 1.05: 1.00.
  • The girdle (the small area around the diamond, connecting the crown and pavilion) should be medium sized and faceted.
  • Your diamond should be an I or better on the color chart.
  • Your diamond should possess a clarity ranking of SI1 or better.
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Step 2.5: What To Avoid

 

Even when your diamond meets every one of these requirements, you may still find flaws that make the stone less than ideal. For example, one problem you might discover on your search is a pavilion bulge, which occurs when the gemologist has cut the pavilion, or lower half of the diamond too steeply. This cut affects how light reflects through the diamond’s many facets; too steep a cut can make the stone look dark and weighty instead of brilliant and fiery.

Talk with your jeweler about what you’re looking for, and don’t be afraid to ask them to pull out the 10x loupe! Look at your diamond under different lighting - even take it outside (if the jeweler allows it) so you can see how it sparkles under the sun. It is important, particularly when shopping for loose diamonds, that the piece you purchase is exactly what you want, so feel free to get picky.

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Step 3: Get the Grading Report

 

If you buy your diamond from a fine jewelry retailer (or even an online retailer) you’ll often receive your GIA Diamond Grading Report with your purchase. This indicates that your diamond has been analyzed by the GIA and assessed for the 4Cs, as well as for the stone’s proportions.

 

With this report in hand, you can be confident that the diamond you’re going home with is a certified beauty. However, if for whatever reason you don’t receive a grading report, you can submit your stone to GIA for grading after the fact (this process will incur a charge from GIA, based on the diamond’s weight).

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As you shop for a loose princess diamond, make sure to take your time looking for that perfect stone. Whether you plan to set it in an engagement ring, a groom’s wedding band, or an anniversary upgrade ring, this diamond should be truly lovely - something as beautiful as the person you’re giving it to.

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