How to select the best quality diamond for your engagement/wedding ring? Here are four simple and quick ways:
“I am a novice, I want to buy the best quality diamond for my engagement/wedding ring but don’t know how to go about it” this is the most relevant and frequently asked question that I come across every now and then. If you want an expert answer then save five minutes of your time and read it till the end.
In this blog you will know:
- Important things to remember before buying a diamond or a diamond ring for your engagement/wedding.
- 4Cs’ quality chart at a glance and buying advice.
- Four simple & quick ways to know what are the best quality diamonds
A Diamond is something that is not bought so often. So it is obvious that few people know about it. Some of you may have heard about the 4Cs’ of the diamond but nothing more than that.
Now all of a sudden when the big day is fast approaching you are in a hurry and a little bit nervous too. You want to know everything about the diamond at once. At the same time, you do not want to rush through it as it might ruin your D-day.
Do not worry. I am here to give you all the information and tips that you want to know. I have been in this industry for the last eighteen years. I am going to share all my experiences and expertise with you so that you will understand it better and quicker.
I am also going to share a few secrets with you so that you can save some money at the time of buying your favorite diamond for your engagement/wedding ring and that too without sacrificing quality.
Step by step guide:
The ‘four simple and quick ways’ to understand diamond and its quality that I am going to explain to you are:
- 4Cs’ Quality Chart At-a-glance and buying advice
- Certification or the 5th C: why you should buy a certified diamond?
- Fluorescence: How to know which Fluorescence is good and which is not?
- Ideal-Scope/ASET image: Light Performance report of the Diamond.
Before I explain it to you about the four ways mentioned above I would like you to know certain important things so that the process of buying a quality diamond for your engagement/wedding ring or any other jewelry can be easy and smooth.
If you are in hurry you may skip reading these important points and go directly to the “Four simple and quick ways- section” by clicking the skip button.
Things to remember before buying a quality diamond for your engagement/wedding ring:
First and foremost is your budget. How much you want to spend on an engagement ring or jewelry. Remember one thing that what needs to be spent should be spent. You cannot limit it to a specific amount. The only thing you should remember while thinking of the budget is that you should not overspend on it.
Remember there is another big expense that follows is your wedding expenses. So, just be a little bit careful while spending on your engagement ring.
- In “saving tips chapter” I have given some amazing tips on how to save money on engagement ring without compromising on quality.
Next thing is selecting the shape of the diamond.
You should know that an overwhelming percentage of buyers choose Fancy Shape diamonds over round for engagement ring. Because Fancy shape or cut diamonds are unique, attractive and less in price than the round brilliant cut diamonds.
See the graphs to know the difference in price between Fancy shape/cut or round shape diamond. This will give you a fair idea about the price of Round shape diamonds and Fancy shape diamonds. Princess, Cushion, Emerald and Oval shape/Cut diamonds are the most popular Fancy shape diamonds for engagement or wedding ring other than the round shape diamond.
Select a size:
After choosing the shape of the diamond for your ring it’s time to select the size. It is directly related to your wallet. Diamond’s price is based on its carat weight. The more the carat weight the more the price is.
A 1.00-carat diamond’s price is not exactly double the price of a 0.50-carat diamond but maybe three to four times higher than that.
Remember the price slab of carat-weight or the “Pointers” that I have stated in the “Carat” paragraph in the next section. It will give you a fair idea about why you should not follow the crowd by selecting a diamond of 1.00-carat and why you should buy a diamond of 0.95-carat instead.
- In “carat-weight” and “saving money on carat-weight” chapters I have mentioned in details about it. Please read it to know how to save money without sacrificing quality.
Choose a ring-setting and design:
Selecting the design is another important thing. According to a survey conducted recently, it was found that 49% of women’s first choice is ‘design’ over the size of the diamond ring. She expects it to be unique and beautiful.
Setting style of the ring comes next. The most popular setting style is solitaire followed by halo setting. Almost 53% of engagement rings are from these two setting-style segments.
The selection of metal for your ring or jewelry is also no less important. Which combination of metal is the right match for the diamond? Which metal is suitable for her skin-tone? All these things are to be kept in mind at the time of selecting the ring.
- To know details about the designs and setting of engagement/wedding ring read my post of “ring designs and settings”.
I am trying to bring your attention to this subject because almost 30% of men do not give a thought about it. They also do not compare when they buy an engagement ring.
When you are not well-informed and not comparing then there are chances of getting ripped off in quality and price. So it is advisable to compare and be informed before buying a quality diamond.
Whether you decide to buy it from an online store or from a brick & mortar store is totally up to you but at least you should know the basic things about your ring, its quality, and its price before you put your money on it.
I would suggest you to visit reputed online stores like Jamesallen, Bluenile, Tiffany & Co, Ritani, Cartier, Liebish or any famous stores that you may think is suitable for you to get the first hand knowledge about the price and quality.
Back to the main point of how to choose the best quality diamond in a quick way.
The purpose of this article is to make you aware of the quality of the diamond based on the 4Cs’. I have prepared an at a glance chart to make it easy for you. So that when you go to choose your diamond ring you are well informed. You can interact with the jeweler like an expert. It is very simple and you will remember it at one look.
Which quality diamond is good and which quality diamond you should avoid buying?
In my eighteen years career in the diamond industry, I have seen thousands of diamonds of different colors, clarities, cuts and carat weights. As per my experience and practical knowledge in this field I have divided the quality of the diamond into two categories. i.e. Best or Excellent & Very Good. Rest of the diamonds belongs to low to lowest quality categories.
You should choose your diamond from these two categories only as per your acceptability of quality, and budget. Read the chart carefully and learn about the quality of Color, Cut, and Clarity. This is what is known as “The 4Cs’ “of the diamond.
When it comes to the quality “The 4C’s” is the beginning. There are other important things you need to know beyond 4Cs’. I have covered all those things in this chapter in simple ways, so please read it till the end.
#1. 4Cs’ Quality Chart At-a-Glance:
*SI2 Clarity is good quality, most people prefer it for engagement ring
Quality to Avoid:
After going through the chart if you have any doubt or you want to know more about it then you can go to ‘4Cs’ in detail’ chapter.
|Price Slab of Carat weight|
|0.18 – 0.22 ct||0.23 – 0.29 ct||0.30 – 0.44 ct||0.45 – 0.49 ct|
|0.50 – 0.69 ct||0.70 – 0.89 ct||0.90 – 0.99 ct||1.00 – 1.49 ct|
|1.50 – 1.99 ct||2.00 – 2.99 ct||3.00 – 3.99 ct||4.00 – 4.99 ct|
|5.00 – 5.99 ct||10.00 – 10.99 ct|
How to read the above Carat-weight chart?
The above carat weight-chart, also known as “Pointer Chart” in diamond language, is very useful in understanding how the price of the diamond works.
Here the price slab of a diamond that weighs between 0.18-carat to 0.22-carat is less than the price slab of a diamond of 0.23 to 0.29-carat. As the carat-slab increases so does the price per carat.
Remember this important thing: Diamond’s price is determined by price per carat basis.
Diamond’s price = carat (diamond’s weight) x price per carat
Here other parameters of the diamond (color, clarity, and cut) remain same.
Let’s understand this with an example:
Suppose the price per carat of a diamond that falls into the price slab of 0.90 to 0.99-carat is $4000 and the price per carat of a diamond that falls into the price slab of 1.00 to 1.49-carat is $5000.
Then a 0.95-carat diamond’s price would be 0.95 x 4000 = $3800,
Similarly, a 1.01-carat diamond’s price would be 1.01 X 5000 = $ 5050
Now, look at the price difference, a whopping $1250 whereas the difference of carat weight is a mere 0.06. If you know the price slab then you can save a lot of money following this simple tip.
The price difference from one slab to another may vary from 5 to 40% depending on the carat weight. This is a very good way to save money on your diamond.
In my saving tips on “Carat-weight”, I have illustrated this with the real price taken from a reputed online store. Please do read to get a clear idea of how carat-weight impacts the cost of the diamond and how you can save decent amount by following the tip.
Compromising with diamonds’s size?
Now you may think if I buy the diamond that weighs 0.95-carat then it will look smaller than 1.01-carat diamond. But this is not true.
Believe me, I am saying this because of my years of practical experiences. If these two diamonds are given to you, you will have a hard time to judge which one is 0.95-carat and which one is 1.01-carat.
I know you will not believe my words unless you see it.
Have a look at the following images of two diamonds. See the difference in its diameter. It is only 0.03 mm while the difference of carat-weight is 0.10-carat. Visually it looks almost identical.
Diamond’s size is measured by its diameter in mm (millimeter).
I hope you get the point. If not then read the following article to know more.
“Do more carat-weight means larger size diamond?” – read this chapter to know in detail why you should not consider carat-weight as the only parameter of diamonds size.
How to Choose Best Quality diamond based on the 4Cs’ parameter?
- Color (White diamond): There are two categories Best or excellent and Very Good in the white color category. If you want the best quality then choose from “D to G color-grade”.
If you want second best or Very Good color quality than you have the options to choose from “H to J color”. These are the best quality-diamonds in “white color” category. From K to Z the color quality belongs to low to the lowest quality category. You should avoid it.
Look at the following images to understand the quality of diamond’s color.
Fancy color or Color diamond:
Diamonds are colorful too. It is available in all colors. They are also known as “Fancy color” diamonds. Color diamonds are very rare that’s why they are exponentially high in price.
Fancy color diamonds are divided into eight categories depending on the intensity of color saturation and hue in the diamond. They are: 1.Fancy Dark, 2. Fancy Deep, 3. Fancy Vivid, 4. Fancy Intense, 5. Fancy, 6. Light, 7. Very Light, 8. Faint
See the following image to see how it looks.
If you love color diamond then you can choose from the above color categories. Natural color diamonds are very rare that’s why they are exponentially high in price. If you want color diamonds within your budget then the best option is to go for lab-color diamonds. They are 30 to 40% cheaper than the natural color diamonds.
They are equally good but the only difference is that their colors are lab-made. However, the color is permanent in nature so no worry about it.
If you want to know more about it then go to “Color” chapter by clicking here.
2.Buying Advice: Clarity:
FL and IF clarity grades are best of the best. VVS1 to VS2 clarity diamonds are considered as excellent in quality. SI1 diamonds fall into very good clarity category. From VVS1 to SI1 these are also known as “Eye-Clean” diamonds. You cannot see inclusions in the diamonds in your naked eyes that’s why these are called eye-clean diamonds.
You can choose from the clarity grade that is acceptable to you as per your choice and budget. SI2 diamonds are not eye-clean diamonds but good in quality. You can consider it at the time of buying.
See the following images to understand what to choose and what not.
3. Buying Advice: Cut:
This is one of the most important things people tend to ignore. Remember, in the other three Cs’ (Clarity, Color, and Carat) you have a wide range of options to choose from and still, you will get a good quality diamond.
Let’s know first the CUT quality of the diamond.
But here in the CUT section, there is the limit. Though there are five cut-grades (Excellent or Ideal, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor cut) but you cannot go below Very Good Cut. Otherwise, the beauty of your diamond is severely compromised.
See the following images and you will know why you should not buy a low-cut grade diamond.
Remember this “Never ever compromise on CUT”. People are often lured to do this mistake to buy a larger diamond in the low CUT category. This is not smart buying. You should never do this. Read this chapter to know more.
4.Buying Advice: Carat-weight:
Carat-weight impacts the price heavily. Remember the price slab of the carat-weight and choose your diamond accordingly. Everybody wants a larger diamond but here more carat-weight does not mean a larger size diamond.
For example, contrary to the popular belief a 1.00-carat diamond is not twice the size of a 0.50-carat diamond. Diamond’s size is measured by its diameter. It may surprise you that a 1.00-carat diamond’s diameter is only 25% bigger than the diameter of a 0.50-carat diamond.
So don’t think you are getting a larger diamond just because its carat-weight is higher.
As the nature of this blog is to make you understand quickly I restrict myself to elaborate it. If you want to know more about it then read my “saving tips on carat-weight” chapter.
#2. Certification or the 5th C:
Why should you buy a certified diamond?
In diamond industry, the rule of the thumb is “do not trust a word on the diamond unless it is certified by a reputed Lab”.
Whether you are a novice or you have some knowledge about the diamond, a certified diamond from reputed labs takes care of all your genuine concerns. It gives you the surety that your investment is in the right place. It tells you that your diamond is real and not a fake one.
The certificate provides in-depth analysis of the diamond in a scientific method. The certificate tells you what quality the diamond is?
You can be relaxed after buying a certified diamond as it takes care of all your fear of not knowing about the diamond. The most important thing is that a certified diamond always has a resale value which is not in the case of a non-certified diamond.
In a non-certified diamond, you wouldn’t know what you are getting except an assurance in words from the vendor that “trust us, we are a reputed company”.
You will never know what you are getting whether a low-quality diamond, a fake diamond, a synthetic, a CZ (Cubic Zirconia) or a Moissanite or a piece of glass. You are on your own.
Hence buying a certified diamond from a trusted and reputed lab is what gives you peace of mind and guarantee of resale value across the counter.
Now let’s know who are the reputed and trusted Labs in the diamond industry.
Best Labs for Certification of the Diamond: GIA (Gemological Institute of America, AGS (American Gem Society) and DeBeers Forever are the best, tried and tested Labs for certification. Buy always diamonds certified by these Labs and you won’t regret.
- See Excellent quality GIA & AGS certified diamonds here.
To understand it quickly my suggestion would be to avoid buying diamonds having Fluorescence in it.
If a diamond’s color turns blue when put under ultraviolet rays or in direct sunlight then the diamond is called a fluorescent diamond.
Fluorescent diamonds are divided into four categories. They are Faint, Medium, Strong and Very Strong. See the image to know how it looks.
Diamonds having no fluorescence is marked as “none”. You should avoid buying Medium, Strong, and Very Strong fluorescent diamonds as it affects the transparency of the diamond in many cases.
Why I am suggesting you to avoid buying medium to very strong fluorescent diamond is that at times it may appear cloudy.
On the other day while answering a query from a lady who is having a Medium fluorescent diamond I noticed her concern about diamond’s appearance. She was not happy with it.
She was considering exchanging it with another non-fluorescent diamond. So if you are not sure then don’t go for it.
However, there are some Fluorescent diamonds those are worth buying especially in low color categories (from K to N). I have written a full chapter on it. Please read ‘Fluorescence’ chapter to know the details.
- Brian Gavin’s hand-picked blue fluorescence diamonds are worth looking. Click here to see some of the best fluorescent diamond from Brian Gavin.
#4. Light Performance Report or Ideal-Scope/ASET image:
A light performance report is the latest addition to assess the quality of the diamond. This is considered to be the most logical and scientific way of judging a diamond’s sparkle, brilliance, and fire.
Here in this report if a diamond is lacking in brilliance then the image will show you from where the light of the diamond is leaking out. It clearly indicates the area in white where the diamond is less shinning due to light leakages. Red specifies the good light return that results in the sparkling of the diamond.
To understand it quickly I suggest you ask for Ideal-scope or ASET image report of the diamond from the vendors especially if you are going for Hearts & Arrows or Super Ideal cut diamond.
See the following images of two diamonds and you will understand why an Ideal-scope or ASET-scope report is necessary for upper cut-grade diamonds.
(Hearts & Arrows diamond- Light Performance Image
Look at the two diamonds above, both are excellent cut (all other parameters same) but the diamond in the left is dispersing more light than the right one. This is due to light leakages from the pavilion. See the ASET image it clearly shows in white from where the light is leaking.
I have written a full article on light performance of diamonds. Read to know why you should not buy a “Hearts & Arrows diamond” without seeing its Ideal-scope or ASET-scope report.
I hope I have made it clear all the aspects of the diamond. Keep the above things in mind and you are good to go.
Now that you get a good idea about the diamond and its quality it’s time to know how you can save a good chunk of money by following some simple tips.
No, I am not talking about the discount coupons or the special offers by the vendors. What I am saying is totally different and doable tips. Many people like you have been benefiting from it and saving a lot of their hard earned money without compromising on quality.
So jump in and see what it is? To know click here.