Good Diamond Quality: Know What You're Buying
Diamond Engagement Ring
The 4 C's
Diamonds are the most sought after precious gem in the world. People associate them with money, power, and love. Most women and some men have a piece or two of diamond jewelry. Did you ever wonder how to know if the diamond that you are considering is of good quality? You don't have to be a jeweler to buy good quality diamonds, but it helps to know what to look for.
The most common factors to consider when measuring diamond quality are: color, carat, clarity, and cut. If you know a little bit about these four factors, there is less risk of spending good money for a defective diamond. Try and get a certificate of authenticity for the diamond that you are buying, although it may cost you an additional few hundred dollars. You can obtain reliable certificates from the Gemological Institute Of America, (GIA).
Appraising A Diamond
Carats And Cut
The cut of a diamond and it's carat weight is the criteria everyone looks for when considering a diamond purchase. Carat is actually a measure of weight rather than size. One carat is equal to 200 milligrams. A more precise way to measure the weight of a diamond is by points. One carat equals 100 points. It may not seem to matter, but some jewelers may try to sell a .90 point diamond as one carat. The former's value would be substantially less. Because larger diamonds are rarer than smaller ones, the value of a diamond rises exponentially with carat weight.
The cut of a diamond is simply it's shape. There are round, pear-shaped, heart-shaped, and marquis diamonds, among others. The different cuts reflect the light in different angles, which is how the fabulous rainbow phenomena is created. It is also important how well the cuts are made. The diamond must be cut in a geometrically precise manner in order to maximize the brilliance. It is truly a master's art to cut a diamond into a spectacular shape.
Once you haven chosen the diamond that you want, handle it with care. Diamonds are brittle; they can crack or chip if mishandled. When you store your diamond, store it separate from your other jewelry and clean it with a jewelers cloth.
Color And Clarity
Diamond color is the degree to which a diamond is colorless. It is graded alphabetically from D-absolutely colorless, to Z-considered a light yellow. The color usually is impossible to determine with an untrained eye; experts will compare it with an already graded diamond or place it on a white sheet of paper. The less color visible, the more valuable the diamond. Ask your jeweler if your diamond has been treated for color and get a notarized statement. Some diamonds are painted or irradiated to make them appear colorless. It doesn't make the diamond better quality, it only makes them appear to be so. Clarity is the presence of flaws, sometimes called inclusions, within the diamond. They are invisible to the naked eye, so the jeweler has a 10x magnifying loupe that he uses to determine the quality. The best quality diamond is virtually flawless and they are the rarest and most beautiful diamonds. Most jewelers will let you use their loupe to look at the diamond before you purchase it. The flaws look like tiny crystals, feathers or clouds. If your diamond looks like a very cloudy day, choose another one.
Princess Cut Engagement Rings
Choosing an engagement ring could be one of the most important decisions in your life. There are so many styles and settings that it is easy to become confused. One very popular diamond shape is the princess shape. In addition to the princess, there is the oval, pear, marquis, and heart shape to name just a few. While different shapes have different attributes, it is more a matter of personal taste than anything else.
A princess shaped diamond will have pointed corners and will be square or rectangular. It is a favorite for engagement rings due to it's unique cut, although there may be some visible color in the corners. Look at the length to width ratio to determine whether you prefer a square or rectangular shape.
Buying an engagement ring can be an expensive endeavor. Most retail jewelry stores have an enormous mark-up. You may do better choosing and purchasing your diamond online. There are many online sites that will sell you a diamond, but you must be sure that it is reputable. Do your research and don't be in a hurry. You also should consider carat, cut and clarity when you are choosing your diamond. A purchase of a lifetime like an engagement ring must be considered carefully so that there is no "buyer's remorse".
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© 2009 Mary Krenz
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