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 jump the gun and purchase what they have in stock today instead of waiting for the perfect diamond that is right for you.
Here are some of my thoughts on choosing a diamond.
Compare diamonds side-by-side and choose the one that "feels" or "looks" best within your budget.
The ONLY diamond certificate that you can trust is a GIA certificate. There are dozens of organizations that grade diamonds and produce grading certificates. Be warned that many of the grades on certificates other than a GIA certificate are inaccurate. 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 critical thing to know about inclusions is how they affect the look and durability of the diamond (yes, diamonds can break). When a diamond is graded at an SI clarity or above, the naked eye cannot see the inclusions - they require at least 10X magnification.
If you are buying a gift or engagement ring, know what shape (round, cushion, marquee, oval, etc.) the recipient likes. If you can't, ask the recipient to 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 of essential things in mind - not all diamonds you find on the internet are what they appear to be. Many of them are not 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 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 diamonds with various color, cut, and clarity grades to see how they compare. Often you will find that one diamond stands out --- and it will only sometimes be the most expensive one.
Don't let a jeweler "guilt" you into spending a percentage of your income or measure how much you should spend on a diamond. Find the diamond that best fits your budget.
Shop with a jeweler that values your needs. A jeweler 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 need 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 you can trust, which will be there after the sale. Buying a diamond, choosing a setting, and setting the stones should be enjoyable, not a pressure-filled, agonizing task. Find someone you enjoy working with and are interested in a long-term relationship, not just a one-time sale.
We frequently redesign engagement or wedding rings for couples to completely change the ring's look or increase the size or quality of the center stone. The message is that everyone can avoid going into significant debt to purchase their engagement ring.