DIAMOND RING BUYING GUIDE
For most people buying a diamond is a first time experience. Buying a diamond can sometimes get as complicated as buying a car. There are so many different variations to choose from and sometimes a diamond which looks quite similar to another one comes with a different price and buyers are left wondering why.
Our guide below will try to take out some of the complexity in buying a diamond.
THE 4C’s OF A DIAMOND
The most important criteria to understand while buying a diamond is to understand the 4C’s criteria of a diamond and how they affect your selection.
The 4C’s are as follows:
UNDERSTANDING COLOUR OF DIAMONDS
Natural diamonds are usually found in a wide range of colours but the most popular diamonds are colorless. Diamonds can range from colorless to tints of yellow and brown.
GIA the leading laboratory which certifies diamonds, grades diamonds from D colour to Z where D represent colourless and continue with increase of colour to the letter Z which exhibits some light yellow or brown.
Keeping other diamond criteria as constant, a near colourless diamond commands a premium price over the next range of colour. So a D colour diamond will have a higher price than say an E colour or F colour. The price of a diamond rises in proportion to the colourless-ness of a diamond.
However diamonds ranging in colour from D-E-F are almost identical in lack of colourless so unless you need the best, a F colour will almost look the same to the eye as a D colour diamond.
A colour range from G-H is the most popular because although they do have a tint of colour, it is almost not visible to the naked eye and cost much less than a similar D-E-F colour diamond.
For the more budget conscious diamond colour I-J offer a very good option and the hint of colour in these diamonds can well be disguised by placing it in a suitable yellow gold setting.
Diamonds ranging from K to Z come with a visible tint of colour and if you do not mind a bit of colour, these are priced much lower than the colourless diamonds range.
UNDERSTANDING CLARITY OF DIAMONDS
Diamonds are formed deep inside the crust of earth and because of the heat and pressure present below the earth’s surface most diamonds have some kind of blemish or inclusion present in them.
The clarity of diamonds is graded by the GIA laboratory as below :
The price of. Diamond rises in proportion to how clean the diamond is from imperfections. A flawless diamond will cost more than a Very slightly included diamond and included diamonds will much more easy to the pocket.
It is important to understand that every imperfection makes the diamond unique from each another so imperfections should not be considered undesirable. However some imperfections may sometimes diminish the look of a diamond so a diamond with no inclusion or less inclusion will almost certainly look better than a one with many inclusion. Heavily included diamonds cause the light reflection in a diamond to disperse and may not show the brilliance and fire a diamond is associated with.
So where dos one draw the line. Those looking for a perfect diamond should opt for a Flawless or Internally flawless diamond which are at the high end of the price range.
However VVS and VS diamonds also have a very few imperfections which are not visible to the naked eye and are good value for money. A VS graded diamond is comparatively cheaper than a VVS graded diamond.
Those with a limited budget can choose between an SI or I graded diamonds.
UNDERSTANDING CARAT OF DIAMOND
Carat refers to the weight of a diamond and is measure in carats. One carat is approximately 0.20 grams. Diamonds are sometimes also referred to in points and 1 carat is divided into 100 points. So a 0.50 carat diamond may be referred to as a 50 point diamond and a 0.25 carat diamond as 25 points.
Also do not confuse carats with karats. Carats is a measure of diamonds while the more popular term karats refers to the purity of gold like 22 karat or 18 karat gold.
The higher the weight of a diamond, the more it will cost than a lower weight diamond. It is important to remember that diamonds are rare and bigger sizes diamonds are more rare than smaller size diamonds. Also the price of a diamond rises more than proportionately to it size. So the price of a 1 carat diamond will not be double that of a 0..50 carat diamond but probably 3 to 5 times more.
Your budget will play a very important part in determining what size diamond you can buy. If you can accept say a lower colour diamond and a lower clarity grade, you may be able to buy a bigger carat weight in your proposed budget but if you want a better clarity and colour diamond, you may have to settle for a smaller diamond carat. It is a thin balance between these criteria so do consult with your diamond expert to understand what you can get.
UNDERSTANDING CUT OF DIAMOND
The cut of the diamond is probably one of the least understood criteria of a diamond.
The cut prefers to the proportions of the diamond in which it has been crafted and determines the fire, sparkles and brilliance of the diamond.
More than 7 factors are evaluated by experts before grading a diamond for its cut. These factors are brightness, fire, scintillation, weight ratio, durability, polish and symmetry.
The cut grading of a diamond also plays a very important part in determining the price of a diamond. While keeping all other criteria constant , an Excellent cut graded diamond is relatively more expensive than a Very good cut. Good and Fair cuts are easy on the pocket but may take away from the beauty of a diamond.
If you are looking to buy smaller diamonds it is recommended to stick to Excellent or Very good cuts. However in larger sizes over 1 carat, Good and Fair cuts can offer considerable savings.
While we have tried to briefly explain the 4 main criteria which determine the value of a diamond, you may still be confused on what diamond to buy. In such a scenario your budget becomes a veery important determining factor and the reason why most jewellery shops will ask you your budget. Depending on what you are willing to spend you may have to choose between the different factors. If you want a bigger size, then you may have to go in for a lower colour or clarity but if need need a near colourless diamond, you may need to sacrifice on the carat weight. Below are some of our recommendations but they serve only as guide.
The Best - Go for D-E-F colour with a IF - VVS clarity with an Excellent cut grade
Value for Money - G-H colour with a VS or SI clarity with Excellent or Very good cut
Tight Budget - I-J colour with a VS-SI clarity with Very good cut grade
Can't afford it but need it - Try J-K-L-M colours with SI-I clarities with Good cut.
Bling bling but bigger sizes - K-L-M colours with I clarity and Good or Fair cut.
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STILL CONFUSED WHICH DIAMOND TO BUY ?
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