Buying diamonds on a budget might sound daunting, but if you have the right diamond buying advice, it can be easy and painless. The assortment of stunning diamonds to choose from online has made deals on diamonds realistic at any price point.
According to the International Gem Society (IGS), diamonds are not so rare after all. “All gem grade materials are rare, composing just a tiny fraction of the earth,” explains the IGS. “However, diamonds actually number among the most common.”
This makes diamonds very affordable if you know how to leverage the 4Cs: Color, Clarity, Carat Weight, and Cut. The shape of a diamond can play an essential role when sticking to a budget, too.
Use the following diamond buying advice to your advantage when making the purchase of a lifetime.
Many first-time diamond buyers simply don’t know how shape affects price. You may think a diamond’s shape is the same as its cut. However, the two are quite different, even though sometimes used interchangeably by mistake.
“A diamond’s shape refers to the general silhouette of the stone and is not to be confused with cut, or the stone’s facet arrangement,” explains the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
Round brilliant diamonds are the most popular among diamond buyers. But diamond buying advice for budget friendly diamonds points to other shapes. For instance, an oval diamond can save you up to 30 percent over a round of the same quality. And choosing an Asscher diamond over its round cousin could save you up to 40 percent.
The clarity rating is the number of inclusions and blemishes in and on a diamond. Inclusions are internal; blemishes are external. The more inclusions and blemishes the lower the grade, which lowers the value and price.
However, most inclusions and blemishes are unnoticeable to the naked eye, and some can even be covered by a ring setting. Diamonds without inclusions are internally flawless (IF), and the rarest and most expensive clarity ratings are flawless (FL) diamonds.
A good bit of diamond buying advice is to opt for a lower clarity grade. A slightly included (SI1 and SI2) diamond can be as much as 30 percent less than a FL or IF diamond, and no one but a jeweler would know the difference. Slightly included stones have inclusions only visible under magnification.
Here’s the ultimate diamond buying secret: Stop focusing on the carat weight.
That’s right, you read that correctly. Most people get hung up on the carat weight thinking it is a statement of size, but this isn’t totally accurate. While a good indication of size, carat weight isn’t what determines the visual size. The actual size of the diamond is determined by its measurements, i.e. the length and width or diameter of the diamond.
That being said, diamonds are priced by quality and billed by weight, and those prices typically increase at half and whole carats. So by staying just below common weights, you can save a lot of money.
Can you tell the difference between a one-carat diamond and a diamond with a carat weight of 0.96? No. No one can without a scale. But buying diamonds below common carat weights can save you up to 10 percent.
Color is certainly one of the most essential characteristics of a diamond, as it’s one of the most obvious characteristics. It’s important to consider color when making your diamond purchase, it could end up saving you money. However, keep in mind that people perceive color differently. Be sure to choose the diamond that is most beautiful to you.
The color grade of a diamond refers to the saturation and tone of the diamond. The less apparent the color, the higher the price. A color grade of D is the highest grade for colorless, diamonds. Diamonds graded D to F are the most expensive. These grades are considered the “colorless” range.
Diamonds graded G to I have a touch of color, but to the untrained eye, may seem colorless. If you opt for a color grade of G to I, you will stay well within budget. Some diamond shapes even allow you go below an I color and still appear colorless to the naked eye.
Selecting a different metal type could help you stay within your budget. If your ring setting is yellow or rose gold, buying a colorless diamond is pointless. Color metal settings add a hint color to the diamond as light reflects back into the stone. This means that you can mask a lower grade stone by choosing yellow or rose gold settings, making it appear more colorless.
The most vital diamond buying advice is to invest in diamond cut. A diamond’s cut is certainly worth the concessions you made on color, clarity, and carat weight. The cut is what gives a diamond its unique sparkle. Brilliance, scintillation, and fire of a diamond are all part of the cut quality.
Cut grades range from excellent to poor. Gemologists examine depth, table, culet, and girdle, and a number of other factors when determining the cut grade. Round diamonds are the only shape to receive official cut grades, but other shapes should be examined based on their overall proportions, symmetry and polish. If you are shopping for a fancy shape, ask your jeweler if they have a way to summarize cut characteristics, like Brilliance.com’s Make Grade.
There are a number of factors used to distinguish one diamond’s value from another. The right diamond buying advice and education is vital to ensuring you stay within budget when you buy your perfect diamond.
Browse Diamonds with HD Images by Shape: