What to know when buying diamond jewelry

Noah Love
February 19, 2020

Buying a diamond is a big purchase, and with that you should have a full understanding of the piece that you are buying. The easiest way to gain an understanding is with the 4C's of diamonds - cut, color, clarity and carat weight.Buying a diamond is a big purchase, and with that you should have a full understanding of the piece that you are buying. The easiest way to gain an understanding is with the 4C's of diamonds - cut, color, clarity and carat weight. Our mission is to always provide amazing diamond education so that you can buy any engagement ring or piece of jewelry with full confidence.

A diamonds cut is often the most important element in the cost of the diamond. It is the largest factor in creating the desirable sparkle and flashiness characteristic of a diamond. Poorly cut diamonds will be dull. Factors such as the depth of the cut, number of facets and the size of the girdle all affect the brilliance of the stone.

Diamonds are also cut into different shapes, which effect the price as well. This is more of a personal decision, based on what style you prefer yourself. The brilliant round is by far the most common, but also carries the largest cost per carat (size) because of the strong demand. This means that choosing another cut, such as an oval or pear will bring down the cost.

Diamond color is often considered the second most important characteristic when choosing a stone. The highest quality diamonds are colorless, while lower quality stones have a noticeable color, creating a pale or dull yellow.

The Gemological Institute of America, from which J.B. is certified, grades diamonds on a scale of D (colorless and most desirable) to Z (light yellow or brown). Diamonds with a grade of D-Z are white diamonds, even though the stones will begin to appear yellow at a K-M grade. Even diamonds with H or G color can show varying amounts of color.

Other diamonds, known as fancy diamonds, will have a strong and vibrant color, such as pink, green or blue. These stone are only 1 for every 10,000 diamonds. The prices on these stones can be upwards of a million dollars per carat.

As shown in the chart above, diamonds graded D-F are the highest quality and appear colorless. Diamonds G-H are near colorless, and usually appear white to the naked eye. These are the most recommended stones we sell. Diamonds I-J are slightly tinted yellow, but can still look wonderful especially in a yellow gold setting.

Clarity is the third C out of the four. Clarity assesses the small imperfections on the surface of the stone (blemishes) and internally (inclusions). Tiny and natural blemishes and inclusions can only be seen with the help of a highly powerful microscope (such as the one we have in the store), and do not have an affect on the brilliance of the diamond.

Clarity is usually considered the least important aspect when buying a diamond because many diamonds have blemishes. However, this is also the area where many jewelry stores can greatly overprice diamonds! It is always good to look through a microscope at your diamond before purchasing!

According to standards by the GIA, the clarity scale ranges from FL to I3. FL or flawless diamonds have no visible inclusions or blemishes even under 10x magnification. Less than 1% of diamonds are FL clarity. It is also fairly rare to purchase such as high clarity diamond, as the money could be used elsewhere.

The scale then moves to internally flawless diamonds (some small surface blemishes may be visible), VVS (1 and 2) are very very slightly included diamonds, with minuscule inclusions that are difficult for even the trained eyes to see under 10x magnification. It is an excellent quality diamond and a common purchase. VS is very slightly included, with SI (slightly included) and I (1-3) being included to varying degrees.

We usually recommend VS or SI diamonds for the best efficiency of your dollar.

Finally is the characteristic most people are familiar with, the carat weight of the diamond. However, the carat is not the diamond's size, its actually its weight. Many franchise stores sell larger carat diamonds that are poorly cut so they appear to be much smaller diamonds than a higher cut grade.

To maximize your budget, buy just below the half carat marks. A .99 carat diamond will be significantly cheaper than 1.01 carat stone, even though the difference is not notable.

Please come into our locally owned store next time you are considering making a purchase. Feel free to bring in pictures from other stores and ask if we could make the same ring and what our price was. We can usually beat most anyone else's prices, even larger retailers such as Costco.

Can I use my grandmothers diamond?

The answer is yes, we can mount any diamonds you have. However, it will likely not sparkle like a new diamond would. While diamonds themselves haven't changed, the cutting process of them have. The angles have been refined and bottom now comes to a point.

Old mine cuts and single cuts just nearly don't shine the same, and lose a lot of their brilliance through the bottom of the diamond. The current brilliant cut will shine far more.

Compared to the older European and single cuts