The Diamond Pro

What you need to know before buying a diamond

By Michael Fried
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Buying a diamond can be an extremely daunting task for the uninitiated. Along with educating yourself about all the different factors affecting diamond prices, equally important is learning how diamond sellers attempt to increase their profit margins by cheating the consumer. We will help you accomplish both.

What Carat Weight Range Should I Choose?

This is probably the most important question you will ask yourself when buying loose diamonds, because compared to all the other factors, carat weight has the greatest effect on a diamond’s price.

If you can’t speak to her about it, try to speak with her friends or family.  In most cases, the answer will be “the larger the better,” but it’s always good to know what her expectations are.

What Shape Should I Choose?

The second most important issue you’ll have to figure out is what shape is your girlfriend expecting?

For this question especially try consulting her friends. If you can’t get the answer then the safest bet is the Round Brilliant, the most common shape.

OK to Risk It

Most sites have a 30-day return policy, so if you order it close enough to the proposal date, you can always send it back and buy what she really wants.

Keep in mind, however, that all else being equal, round diamonds cost more than the other shapes.

What Cut Quality Should I Choose?

Now that you know how big of a stone you need and what shape it should be, you need to decide on the Cut Quality.

Reviewer’s Advice

My advice for cut grade is this: If you are looking for a round brilliant diamond, only search for “Ideal/Excellent” grade diamonds.  If you are searching for a fancy shape, however, then you can disregard the cut grade altogether.

This is not to say that cut grade is not important, it’s simply that many vendors don’t correctly report fancy shape cut grades.

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What Color Grade Should I Choose?

More so than Clarity, Color has a serious effect on both a diamond’s appearance and price.  For recommendations as to the best color to choose, shoot us an email.

It is important to remember that different shapes reflect color at different strengths, so your choice of optimal color will depend greatly on what diamond shape you’ve chosen and the color of the metal of the setting.

What Clarity Grade Should I Choose?

As opposed to Color and Carats, I evaluate Clarity not in terms of a sliding scale of grades, but as a binary grade.  All I care about when evaluating clarity is whether or not a diamond is clean to the naked eye.

You’re best off buying the lowest possible clarity grade that is still clean to the naked eye.

Evaluating Clarity Online

With most vendors, this isn’t possible because you can’t see the diamond before you buy it.  James Allen, however, lets you get beyond this hurdle.   With their “Virtual Loupe” you can evaluate a diamond before you buy it.

If you have any doubt as to whether or not a stone’s inclusion pattern will be clean to the naked eye or not, please feel free to email us a link to the stone.

Which Diamond Lab’s Certificate Should I Look?

You should consider only GIA Certified Diamonds and AGS Certified Diamonds in your search for a loose diamond.

Follow these general guidelines, and you’re sure to land a beautiful stone at a great value.

About the author
Michael Fried
Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, PeopleMoney, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more.
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