Buying a diamond engagement ring can be one of the most stressful parts of the wedding process for a guy. Spending so much money on such a small item naturally makes one nervous; how much more so with diamonds which are a part of its their little world that few from the outside truly understand. Without properly educating oneself, it’s only too easy to overspend, not to mention getting taken for a ride. Follow these 5 tips to make sure you get the most for your money.
1. Choose Your Setting
Before you start looking into the color, clarity, and carat weight, you need to pick a setting. By selecting your setting, you can get a rough estimate of how much it will cost and then you will have a budget for the loose diamond. Also, depending on whether you pick yellow gold or platinum/white gold, you can be more or less flexible about the color of the diamond — thereby saving you money. In general, yellow gold settings allow you to downgrade the diamond color (K/L) whereas platinum/white gold settings require higher color grades.
2. Pick the Diamond’s Shape
Next, choose your diamond shape. Keep in mind that in terms of the brilliant cuts, those that make diamonds appear the most sparkly, princess cuts are cheaper than round cuts with all other factors being equal. That is because princess cuts get a higher yield of diamond-from-rough than do round diamonds. Round diamonds generally yield about 45% of the original rough whereas the princess cut gets a 80-90% diamond-from-rough yield since its shape is essentially the same as a piece of rough diamond. Better diamond yield means a better price tag for you.
3. Choose the Diamond’s Color
Color is graded according to a system whereby D is the highest grade, or perfectly colorless. Then each subsequent letter in the alphabet signifies another gradation toward yellow. Now just because you want your diamond to look colorless does NOT mean that you need to buy a D color diamond. Why pay the extra cost of a perfectly white diamond when you can choose a J color that still looks colorless to your eye? The difference in price is huge. And finally, consider the shape of your diamond. There are essentially three categories when it comes to shape and its relationship to color: (1) round brilliant (J or better will still appear white), (2) princess, Asscher, and emerald (stay with H or I), and (3) everything else, like pear, marquise, and oval (H or better only).
4. Focus on Clarity
Again, don’t pay for a feature you really can’t appreciate. I do not recommend wasting your money on buying a FL, or flawless, diamond. Your goal should be to buy a diamond that is, what we call in the industry, eye-clean. That means that your average person on the street can’t see any imperfections, also known as inclusions. If the diamond looks clean and sparkly with a clarity grade of SI2, then why pay more for FL? You might also be able to hide a small inclusion with the prong of a ring or an earring. Ultimately, the clarity grade you choose should be based on the shape you choose. Just like with color, different shapes allow you different amounts of flexibility with which clarity grade you can safely get away with and still walk away with a crystal clean diamond. Emerald and Asscher cuts aren’t cut to be sparkly, so they show off everything that’s inside. With these shapes, you’ll need to get a high clarity diamond. With the other brilliant shapes, you can generally be more flexible.
5. Buy Online
Diamond e-retailers have better selection, quality, and prices than conventional walk-in stores. Brick-and-mortar stores simply can’t compete with the sheer size of inventory that is possible online with vendors from around the world showcasing their diamonds for a fraction of the cost for the consumer. Most importantly, websites have much less overhead to pay — like rent, employee salaries, insurance, utilities, etc. — and as a result, can keep prices much lower than an actual jewelry store. Reviews of Brian Gavin Diamonds and reviews of James Allen are almost universally positive. Other diamond sites such as Blue Nile and Adiamor are also well regarded.
The bottom line is, be an educated consumer and do your homework before you buy the bling! You’ll be able to save money and get a larger diamond for your money!
Ira Weissman+ is a diamond industry veteran with a decade of experience at one of the world’s largest diamond polishers. He has traveled the world buying and selling diamonds and now dedicates his time to helping consumers make the most of their diamond buying decisions. He has been featured on Anderson Cooper, CNBC, The Huffington Post, and has been quoted by MarketWatch, The Village Voice, and BankRate. Visit Truth About Diamonds to educate yourself about diamonds.
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