Pick the Diamond that's Right for You

So you walk into a jewelry store and see dozens or even hundreds of diamonds - how do you choose the one that's right for you? The short answer is, don't let a sales person guilt you into spending too much for your diamond or selling you what they have in stock today instead of the perfect diamond that is right for you.

Here are some of my thoughts on choosing a diamond.

  • For me, it's all about how a diamond looks - not necessarily what a diamond certificate says. Compare diamonds side-by-side and choose the one that "feels" or "looks" best within your budget.
  • The ONLY diamond certificate that you can really trust is a GIA certificate. There are dozens of organizations that grade diamonds and produce grading certificates. Be warned - many of the grades on certificates other than a GIA certificate are not accurate. You can end up paying too much for a diamond that is something other than what it says it is on the certificate.
  • All but the rarest of diamonds have "flaws" called inclusions. The important thing to know about inclusions is how do they affect the look and durability of the diamond (yes, diamonds can break). When a diamond is graded at an SI clarity or above, that means that the inclusions cannot be seen by the naked eye - they require at least 10X magnification to be seen.
  • If you are buying for a gift or engagement ring, know what shape (round, cushion, marquee, oval, etc.)  the recipient likes. If you can't simply ask the recipient, then pay attention to the jewelry they wear now or ask a close friend or family member.
  • Do some online shopping with reputable jewelers to get an idea of what diamonds should cost, but keep a couple important things in mind - not all diamonds you find on the internet are what they appear to be and many of them are not actually available. The look of a diamond is the result of how light reflects and exits from the top of the stone so it is important to see the stone in person. Consider disregarding diamonds that are significantly cheaper than the average - just like anything else, something that looks too good to be true probably is.
  • Have a budget in mind and ask your jeweler to show you stones that are within your price range. There are almost an infinite number of characteristics that impact the price of a diamond. Start with shape and size and look at a variety of diamonds with various color, cut, clarity grades to see how they compare with each other. Often times you will find that one diamond stands out --- and it won't always be the most expensive one.
  • Don't let a jeweler "guilt" you into spending a percentage of your income or some other measure of how much you should spend on a diamond. Find the diamond that best fits your budget.
  • Don't let a jeweler push you into buying a diamond that they have in stock if it is not the right diamond for you. A jeweler that is interested in helping you buy the right diamond  will be happy to bring additional diamonds into their store (usually within a day or two) if they don't have the perfect diamond in stock. Except for unusual sizes, shapes, or other characteristics, diamonds are not as rare as most in the jewelry business would have you believe.
  • Work with a jeweler that you can trust and that will be there after the sale. Buying a diamond, choosing a setting, and setting the stones should be an enjoyable process - not a pressure-filled, agonizing task. Find someone that you enjoy working with and is interested in a long-term relationship; not just a one-time sale.
  • We frequently redesign engagement or wedding rings for couples to either completely change the look of the ring or increase the size or quality of the center stone. The message here is that I don't believe it's necessary for anyone to go into significant debt to purchase their engagement ring - for couples that are meant to be together there will be plenty of opportunity to reward yourselves later in life when you may have more disposable income.