When buying a diamond for the first time, most buyers have no clue what they’re doing. They may know a bit about diamonds but they don’t understand what they’re buying or how to ensure they’re getting a good diamond. By educating yourself before you buy, along with asking the right questions, you can buy the diamond of your dreams. Let’s look at four things everyone needs to know about buying a diamond to get the best possible bling for their buck.
4 Things Everyone Needs to Know About Buying a Diamond
Diamonds are typically judged by the 4 C’s. That means color, cut, clarity, and carat. Let’s learn a bit about each one before you buy a diamond.
The best possible diamonds you can buy will always be colorless. While colored diamonds exist are a different category of diamond all together. Diamond color is often graded by professionals who certify the diamond, such as the Geological Institute of America (GIA) and the IGI (International Gemological Institute) IGI. These grades include:
- D-F: Colorless
- G-J: Near-colorless
- K-M: Faint yellow
- N-R: Very light yellow
- S-Z: Light yellow
D-G graded diamonds will look identical to most buyers. Around H, you’ll start to see a color that will grow until you reach Z-graded diamonds. If you’re looking to buy a “white diamond,” you’ll fall between the D-I grade range. Although, an H or I diamond will be much cheaper than a D-I graded range diamond and you may not even be able to notice the color.
Most stones in the D-G range are going to look almost identical to an untrained eye. At around H, you may start to see what professionals call “warmth” in the stone: you’ll see a very slight tint. After H, that tint becomes much more pronounced. The yellows here aren’t exactly a desirable shade: the diamonds often just look dirty (see above photo).
For a white diamond, you’ll probably want to stay in the D-I range. An H or an I color diamond won’t look too different from a D, but it could be a lot less expensive.
The clarity of the diamond talks about the internal characteristics, which may include inclusions or blemishes. Clarity is always graded under magnification, ensuring that even the slightest blemishes or inclusions can be seen. Here’s how clarity is graded:
- FL-IF: Flawless
- VVS1-VVS2: Very, Very Slightly Included
- VS1-VS2: Very Slightly Included
- SI1-SI2: Inclusions visible under magnification
- I1-13: Included
An FL-IF, flawless, diamond is internally flawless and the rarest of diamonds. These are the most expensive diamonds you’ll ever see or buy. A VVS1-VVS2, very, very slightly included, diamond has some inclusions that are difficult to see under magnification by trained professionals. A VS1-VS2, very slightly included, diamond has some inclusions under magnification that are easier to see when magnified more than 10x. SI1-SI2 diamonds have inclusions that can be seen with less than 10x magnification. An I1-13, included, diamond have inclusions that can be seen by the naked eye. I1-13 are the cheapest diamonds to buy.
The cut of the diamond is considered the most important aspect of the 4 C’s and buying diamonds in general. The cut of a diamond gives the stone its story, which is what makes it sparkle with prismatic color. While many have an idea of the cut they want in a diamond, it’s not always the best fit for the ring, pendant, or earring in question until they see what it looks like in person.
Even the most mediocre of diamonds can be cut in a way to give it sparkle and shine. A well-cut diamond allows light to enter the top and exit the top. It absorbs light as it enters then is reflected back out the same way it came in. Diamond cuts that are too deep or shallow can’t reflect light in this way, making the cut bad to the trained eye.
The carat of a diamond is often the most “known” aspect of the 4C’s, even if you aren’t a fan of diamonds. Carat is a unit of weight measurement. The carat of a diamond only determines the size and the weight of a diamond with one carat equal to one-fifth of a gram. The larger the carat, the more expensive a diamond can be when combined with the other C’s of diamonds.
When it comes to buying a diamond, understanding the 4 C’s can help you buy a better diamond for your budget. It can also help you work with a jeweler to ensure you’re getting the best diamond possible for your significant other.