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Diamond Buying Guide: How to Choose a Diamond?

Diamond Buying Guide: How to Choose a Diamond?

Choosing a diamond may seem like a walk in the park, but trust us – it’s all but that. Whether for yourself or a loved one, picking a diamond or diamond jewelry isn’t as easy and simple as it may seem.

But don’t feel discouraged, we’re here to help!

Below you’ll find anything and everything that you’ll need to know in order to pick out a perfect diamond for any occasion. Size, shape, cut, color, and everything else you need to take into consideration when picking out a precious rock.

So, without further ado, let’s jump straight in and see what you need to look for when buying a diamond.

Dive into our diamond step-by-step buying guide and learn how to choose a diamond under the perfect circumstances!

1. Set Up Your Price Range

The majority of people do overlook the importance of a budget. That’s not something that should be overlooked, yet it happens more often than not.

We’re not telling you that you should decide upon a number and stick to it no matter what – on the contrary, we’re telling you to set up a price range.

When buying anything, especially something as expensive and important as a diamond, you should have a level of flexibility regarding price.

“How is this done?” you may ask. Well, it’s not all that complicated. Here, let’s take a look at a plan that might help you to set up a price range when going diamond shopping:

1st Step – Decide Upon The Max Price

Deciding what you’re willing to pay for a diamond at most is the most important part of devising a plan. If you don’t know what your limit is, you might get carried away when picking and choosing and end up with a precious rock that you absolutely love but can’t afford.

That’s not something we want. So, to prevent something like this, you need to have a max price in your head.

2nd Step – Set The Lowest Bar

Something as important as the maximum price you’re willing to pay for a diamond is the lowest you’ll go.

If you have, for example, the cut and weight of the diamond in mind, and you don’t know which clarity grading you’re going with, setting the low end of your bar might help you not end up with a diamond that is of lower quality than you hoped for.

So, be sure to set up a bar that you won’t go under when it comes to the price so you don’t spend your money on something that won’t meet your standards just to save up on a few bucks.

3rd Step – Don’t Be Afraid To Negotiate

Negotiating the price of a diamond might not be the first thing you’re inclined to do when diamond shopping, and for a good reason.

These rocks are precious, and their worth is indisputable. But what if there’s some wiggle room? What if you could lower the price of a diamond just enough so you have more money to spend on embedding that diamond?

Well, that’s why you should always try to negotiate the price, but not in a manner that will show any disrespect to the seller.

It’s very important to do your research and set up your price range long before you go diamond shopping. If you go hunting for diamonds in the dark, without a price range, you’re more than likely to come home empty-handed.

So, be sure to set the most you’re willing to spend and the least you’re looking to spend on a diamond.

Related Read:

Diamond Certificates

When buying a diamond, a certificate is a must. Not all people know that, so we have to emphasize how important a valid certificate is.

Diamond certificates are very complex expertise since not all certificates mean your diamond is valid.

There are countless institutes that give out diamond certificates, but there are only a couple that you should be looking for.

Here’s the list of diamond certificates that you should consider valid:

  1. Gemological Institute of America (GIA)
  2. American Gem Society (AGS)
  3. International Gemological Institute (IGI)
  4. European Gemological Laboratory (EGL)
  5. Hoge Raad voor Diamant (HRD)

There are a few more that guarantee the diamond’s value and authenticity, but these 5 are the most well-known around the world and generally accepted as the best gemological institutions that can validate a diamond.

When buying diamonds, especially when buying them from a third party, meaning you aren’t buying them from a jewelry store, it’s always smart to ask for a diamond certificate.

Even when buying from diamond dealers, asking for a certificate is almost mandatory. It doesn’t have to be one of the five certificates above, but it can be a simple certificate from the manufacturer.

Depending on the certificate, the information related to the diamond in question can change, but all of the certificates hold similar information.

That information is related to the physical characteristics of the diamonds, such as:

  • Weight (in carats)
  • Diameter
  • Cut
  • Clarity
  • Color grading
  • Potential damage

These are all crucial pieces of information that determine the value of a diamond, and that’s exactly why it’s important to have one when buying a precious rock.

When buying a diamond, and we’re not talking about a brand new one in a jewelry store, if you don’t get a certificate for inspection, don’t bother going through with the purchase.

It’s commonly known that con artists try selling illegal or even fake diamonds by presenting them as real but without a certificate.

Do yourself a favor and dodge that bullet – only buy certified diamonds.

Related Read: What Is The Difference Between Certified And Non-certified Diamonds?

Buy Online Or In Person

In today’s climate, it’s common to buy things online. Heck, some people buy brand-new cars online without even seeing them!

But should you buy a diamond online or in person?

Well, that depends. It depends on many factors, such as the website, the availability of getting a certificate for your diamond, the country from which you’ll be supplied with a diamond, etc…

As with all other things related to diamonds, you have to be careful and take all and any indications into consideration.

First of all, let’s take a look at what you should pay attention to when buying a diamond online.

Online purchases are bound to outnumber the purchases in person (on a global level), not only with diamonds but with everything else.

A few websites are widely known as safe when it comes to purchasing diamonds online. Some of them are:

These four stores are some of the most well-known online diamond dealers. They’re sure to sell you the real deal, and you don’t have to stress about getting scammed.

We didn’t mention other stores, but the list of legit online diamond stores is too big for us to list them in full.

The great thing is that if you’re looking to buy diamonds online, you can actually do that! Some online stores even give you the opportunity to see the diamond you’re looking to purchase in 3D which really helps you make a choice when you don’t have diamonds in front of you.

The obvious downsides to buying a diamond online are that you can’t see the diamond, you can’t examine it in person, and you can’t test it.

Of course, if you buy from a valid dealer or website, you don’t have to test it, but it does help to have the diamond you’re looking to buy in front of you.

We might be old-fashioned in this sense, but we do highly recommend that you go diamond shopping in person instead of online. This will maximize your efforts, but it’ll also maximize the outcome.

You’re more likely to buy a diamond according to what you’re looking for in person since you can hold and examine the diamond while also having the option to decide later.

You can also buy a diamond online and be perfectly happy with it, and there’s no doubt about that. But there have been many instances where people bought diamonds over the internet and were displeased by what came in the mail.

While we’re on the topic of mail, that’s another reason to consider buying diamonds in person. Of course, diamonds that are sold online are shipped in special containers that ensure the safety of your precious rock, but there are always flukes, meaning you can always expect there’s a small % of possibility that your diamond will arrive damaged in some sense.

But, whichever option you go with, remember not to buy diamonds impulsively but to think over your options and take your sweet time.

Related Read: How To Buy A Diamond Ring Without Getting Duped?

Loose Diamond Or Mounted Diamond

Now, let’s talk about loose diamonds vs mounted diamonds or diamond jewelry. It’s not the same when buying loose diamonds and diamonds that are embedded in some sense.

But before we do, let’s get one thing out of the way. Mounted diamonds are diamonds that are permanently embedded in a setting, but not the whole jewelry piece.

Those settings are then added to the rest of the jewelry, so mounted diamonds aren’t the same as the diamonds in jewelry.

Loose diamonds are what we recommend. Even the majority of websites that we named earlier sell loose diamonds, meaning diamonds without anything else around them. No settings, no pieces of jewelry – just the diamond.

Those diamonds are cut, polished, and ready for sale, but without any additional precious metals around them.

Generally speaking, we recommend buying loose diamonds because buying mounted or embedded diamonds, as well as diamonds in jewelry, is quite complex and requires you to be personally present when buying because of the complexity of those diamonds.

We also recommend loose diamonds for another simple reason – they can be re-embedded. This means that they can be put in many different pieces of jewelry if that’s what you’re looking to do with your diamond.

Also, if you’re not looking to embed a diamond that you’re buying, it’s always better to buy loose diamonds since they’re much more beautiful to display than mounted diamonds.

Loose diamonds are also easier to sell, and you can ensure them by spending less money on premiums than if we’re talking about mounted or embedded diamonds.

Lastly, if you’re in search of a diamond that’ll serve as the main piece to an important piece of jewelry such as a wedding ring, or a milestone necklace, we highly recommend buying mounted diamonds instead of loose ones.

If you’ve already decided what you’re going to do with the diamond, and you know which setting you’d like, there’s no harm in getting the mounted diamond – it’ll save you money and require less work to attach to a jewelry piece.

Related Read: Can You Buy Setting And Diamond Separately?

Diamond Cut

Now, let’s dive into the basics. When you’re buying a diamond, you have to know what you want. There are some characteristics of a diamond that you have to be introduced to in order to buy a diamond.

The first is cut. Diamond cutting is an old profession, and it has been around forever. But, it resulted in many different cutting methods that produced different diamond shapes.

Some like the more oval ones, and some like the square and rectangular ones better. It’s important that you know what you like before you go diamond shopping.

Because of that, if you keep reading, you’ll find all the basic pieces of information that will teach you about diamond cuts, so you can decide upon the best cut for yourself.

First of all, there are a few “subcategories” of diamond cuts, and those are:

  1. Round Cuts
  2. Square Cuts
  3. Custom-shaped Cuts

These aren’t the official names of these cut categories, but it makes it easier to remember.

The most popular round cuts are:

  1. Round Brilliant Cut
  2. Oval Shape Cut
  3. Marquise Cut
  4. Cushion Cut

The most popular square cuts are:

  1. Princess Cut
  2. Emerald Cut
  3. Asscher Cut
  4. Radiant Cut

The most popular “custom-shaped” cuts are:

  1. Pear Cut
  2. Heart-shaped Cut
  3. Trilliant Cut
  4. Lily Cut

Depending on what you like and what you’re expecting from a diamond, you should pick one of these categories and stick to it.

Generally speaking, the most popular diamond cuts currently are the round cuts, or to be more precise – the round brilliant cut.

If you’re looking to buy a diamond that’ll look trendy on someone’s ring finger, the previously named cut is definitely the popular option at the moment!

On the other hand, if you’re aiming for something more timeless, maybe you should consider the Emerald cut, the Asscher cut, or the Marquise cut.

These timeless classics will last for a lifetime, so if you’re worried that the current trends will die down, any of these three options will suit you perfectly.

But, if you’re aiming for something more original and unusual-looking, then any of the “custom-shaped” cuts will do just fine.

Not every day do you see a heart-shaped cut diamond on the street. The only thing worth mentioning is that all of these cuts, but most commonly the Trilliant (or the Trillion) cut have some problems with embedding and can easily fall out of a piece of jewelry.

Diamond Clarity

Diamond clarity, alongside diamond color that we’ll discuss shortly, are the points where you should ask yourself “Should I compromise?” and with perfect validity.

Compromising with diamond clarity is very popular, meaning that people will go for a diamond that has a lower clarity grade and save some money.

If you’re looking to learn everything about diamond clarity, check out our diamond clarity chart article.

If you go, for example, with an included diamond, so I1, I2, or I3 clarity diamond, you’ll most definitely pay less than for a VVS1 or IF (internally flawless) diamond.

But that comes with downsides. An I2 diamond has some visible inclusions making it less appealing.

Also, there are many types of inclusion, and some are more visible than others. That’s why you should be careful and always examine a diamond with a low clarity rating – just to make sure that the inclusions are not too visible.

But we recommend going for the golden middle, meaning a VS1 or a VS2 diamond. These Very Slightly included diamonds or even Slightly Included (SI1, SI2) diamonds can be beautiful.

Most inclusions aren’t visible to the naked eye. This means that you’ll most likely need a special magnification device to see the inclusions.

For something so fine and unnoticeable, you’d think that it doesn’t affect the price as much. But that’s where you’d be wrong. Clarity is one of the deciding factors when it comes to the price.

Those certificates that we mentioned earlier tell the exact clarity level of a diamond, and that’s why they’re important. If you’re paying for a VVS, FL, or even IF diamond – you need to make sure that those diamonds are of exceptional quality – like advertised.

But now, let’s talk numbers for a bit. Before we go ahead and do that, we have to tell you that because of so many varying factors when it comes to the price of a diamond, you’ll have to keep in mind that these numbers aren’t exact.

If we take a 1-carat diamond and look at the price of a VVS1 and a SI1 diamond, there are too many factors such as cut, color, and embedded that it’s too complex to put an exact price on those two.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s take a look at some numbers.

If you’re looking to buy a 1-carat VVS1 diamond, you will most likely spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $5,500.

For the same diamonds, but with an FL rating, you’ll most likely spend up to $9,000 depending on other factors.

On the other hand, if you decide to go with an SI1 or SI2 diamond, you should put anywhere from $1,300 and up to $4,000 aside.

Related Read: What Are The Most Popular Diamond Colors And Clarities?

Diamond Color

As we’ve said, diamond color is the second diamond characteristic that people decide to save money on. It’s important that your diamond has a good color rating, but it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t.

Now, the problem with color grading is that every gemological institution that does certification has its own modified system of grading a diamond’s color.

But, for the sake of argument, we’ll take GIA’s color grading list.

It goes something like this:

  • Colorless: D, E, F
  • Near Colorless: G, H, I, J
  • Faint: K, L, M
  • Very Light: N, O, P, Q, R
  • Light: S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z

These color gradings are very precise and tell you exactly how colorful or colorless your diamond is. Just to be noted, colorless diamonds hold the biggest price, and they’re the most sought after.

This color grading scale is applicable for diamonds that are yellowish in color. So a T-rated diamond has a light yellow color to it. The Z-rated diamonds are considered yellow diamonds.

Colored diamonds have a different scale of color grading, but just remember that the lower the diamond is rated on this scale, the more yellow it is.

If you’re looking to buy a Faint (K) color-graded diamond that weighs 3 carats, you’ll spend just under $23,000, which is a reasonable price for a diamond that big.

Most people go for Faint-graded diamonds since they’re in the middle and have the best price-to-quality ratio.

If you go under that and go for very light or light-graded diamonds, there is a chance you’ll see a yellowish hue in it. This isn’t undesirable, but the majority of people go for colorless or near colorless diamonds.

We recommend you go for a diamond that has a grading of I, J, K, L, M, N, or O. These are the diamonds with the best value, meaning that you’ll save a few bucks but won’t be disappointed with what you get.

Conclusion

Now that we’ve told you everything you need to know about buying diamonds and completed our diamond buying guide on how to choose a diamond, let’s do a recap.

First of all, decide upon your price range. This is a crucial step and will save a lot of nerves and time. It might seem silly, but trust us – you’ll see the benefits right away. This doesn’t mean only setting the high bar, but also knowing what’s the least you’ll spend.

Then, you should remember never to buy diamonds without a certificate. You’ll easily find a similar rock that’s certified, and the few dollars that you’ll save (even though it may seem like a lot) aren’t worth it.

Also, if you’re looking into online diamond shopping, that is a viable option, just remember what we advised you!

And lastly, pick and choose – loose diamonds or mounted diamonds. The majority of you have already made the call, but it’s important to know what you want.

Lastly, you should know what you’re looking for in your price range. If you’re willing to spend a few thousand and best, you shouldn’t be hoping for high color and clarity ratings, so get yourself familiar with them.

Finally, all that’s left is to go shopping, so..

Happy Shopping!