There are a number of factors to consider when buying a diamond, especially if you want to be sure that you are getting a great deal on your purchase. Let us take a look at what you should be looking out for, what you should be prepared to compromise on, and what, if anything, you should stick to your guns about.
The Four (or Five!) Cs
Mainly what you will be looking at will be covered by the traditional four Cs of diamond trading: carat, clarity, color and cut – but you will also need a fifth C, certification to have complete peace of mind that what you are buying is authentic, ethically sourced and exactly what it claims to be. Read on for more.
A carat is 200mg or one-fifth of a gram, and this weight is standard in the jewelry industry. A good weight for a diamond is anything from half a carat upwards, with every increase in size (if the stones remain of a similar quality) increasing the price exponentially due to the relative rareness of larger, good quality stones.
The clarity of a stone refers to the presence of any internal flaws and blemishes, which are called inclusions, and any external cracks, fractures and issues with the stone (known as occlusions). While completely flawless stones are extremely rare, a very good stone will have hardly any inclusions, and the cutter will have removed any occlusions. This means the light will be able to flow through, into and around the stone to create a beautiful symmetrical sparkle and scintillation.
Color is something of a misnomer when it comes to diamonds, as the best stones have no color at all! These stones are rated D/E (A, B and C are not used in the diamond color rating scale) and will be more expensive than diamonds rated G and H – even though you cannot tell the stones apart by eye, especially when the diamond is mounted in a piece of jewelry. At the other end of the scale, when we get to X, Y and Z color diamonds, we are beginning to move into a diamond niche that swings in and out of popularity in decade-long fads and fashions. Beyond Z, the stones are rated as Fancy, Fancy Intense and Vivid Fancy Intense, with the latter giving the stone a strong hue in colors as diverse as violet, yellow, green, blue, red and pink. If you are going to opt for a vivid fancy intense stone, you might prefer to wait until they are less popular, so you pay less for it, secure in the knowledge that it will retain its value or increase in resale price.
The cut of a stone is perhaps the feature you should be most careful about. A careful, well-considered and symmetrical cut can add thousands of dollars to the value of your stone, giving you an asset that is well worth the money spent upon it, and ensuring that the value will stand the test of time.
When you are browsing stones from a reputable supplier, such as Whiteflash diamonds, you will always be offered a certificate with any stone over half a carat in weight. This is your provenance and a guarantee both of the quality of the stone, and its origin, so you can be sure your stone was ethically sourced and is worth the asking price. All certificates can be checked against the online registry for extra peace of mind: AGS and GIA both maintain an online registry of the stones they have certified.