You are about to make a very important decision. You are going to buy a diamond. Whether it is an engagement ring to start a new life with someone special or a pair of earrings to signify twenty five years together, a diamond is something special. You want make sure you are getting the best quality diamond for the money you are spending. So, how do you know you are not wasting your money? Here are a few things to keep in mind while shopping for that diamond ring.
The very first thing you are going to want to look at is your budget. In years past, the rule of thumb was that you spend two months salary on a diamond ring. However, that rule generally no longer applies. Today, with people living together before the question is asked, it is much more a question of how much your budget will handle.
After you know the price range you are looking for and can afford, you can then move on to the four “Cs” of diamonds. Color, cut, clarity and carat weight. Let’s take a look at the first one.
Color is the overall color of the stone. Traditionally, diamonds will rage from colorless to yellow. The less color in the stone, the more desirable it is. This typically has a relationship to the purity of the gem, although some people prefer the yellowish tint to a diamond stone. I personally think the yellowish tint makes it look old and not as clean as it should be.
Cut is very important to how the diamond will shine. If it is well cut, it will capture all available light and reflect it back to the height of its potential. If the diamond is cut too shallow, it will not gather light. If it is cut too deep, it will take light and not reflect it back. There are various different kinds of cuts, and a knowledgeable jeweler should be able to explain this to you as well as show you the same piece in different cuts so you can see the difference for yourself.
Clarity refers to how flawless the stone is. Diamonds that are flawless are going to be very rare and, therefore, very expensive. Usually, you can get more bang for your buck if you go down a couple of points on this category and get either a near flawless stone or one that has no visible incursions to the naked eye. Of course, the more visible the flaws, the less expensive the diamond. When you exmaine the gem with the naked eye, you should not be able to see “scars” or blemishes within the stone. If you can see scars but only when wearing a jeweler’s “loop” (the magnifying monacle microscope that any quality jeweler has on hand, which you can ask to borrow to examine a stone), then it is probably worthy of your consideration.
The last of the four Cs is carat. This is how big the diamond is. It is worth mentioning that the larger stones are more rare and are more expensive. Because of this, you can get the same amount of total carat weight for less money. As an example, two half-carat stones are less expensive than a single full carat ring.
When shopping for the perfect diamond ring, the setting will also come into play, as well as what type of metal the ring is made of. Gold is traditionally the metal of engagement and wedding rings, but silver; white gold and platinum have started to become more popular in recent years as well. This is more a matter of personal taste than anything else, although you want a quality setting.
One more thing to look for when shopping for a quality diamond ring – a quality jeweler. They will help you decide what your budget should be and show you a wide range of what you can afford. They will be able to tell you more on the four Cs, show you a variety of settings and help you through the buying process so you are comfortable with your purchase. Don’t be afraid to ask the jeweler to borrow his “loop” for a minute so you can get a close view of the diamond you are considering.