Posted on October 12 2010
Tips on Buying the Perfect Diamond
Which diamond should I buy?
It's best to start with the cut, or shape of the diamond. Pick two or three cuts that you like and, if you can, see which one the recipient prefers. You may need to enlist the help of one of her friends to do this on the sly!
Understand the differences in costs based on the four C's of diamond education and choose a combination that best fits your needs. For example, a diamond ring can cost $6000 in the D-F VS quality range and a similar ring in the G-J SI range can cost $4500.
What color diamond is the best?
The finest diamonds are either colorless or have "fancy color." The perfect colorless diamonds are class D, but if you want excellent stones you can get class E or F, which are still colorless. Class G, H, or I stones are larger for the same cost and are near colorless. If you prefer a faintly tinted stone, classes J, K, L, or even M will display a slightly yellow tint. Stones with "fancy color," such as fancy yellow or pink, are extremely rare and cost accordingly.
Which grade of clarity should I pick?
Although nearly every diamond has flaws of some sort if perfection is what matters to you and not the price you should pick a "flawless" or "internally flawless." Stones in the next class, VVS1 or VVS2 are still flawless, even when viewed under magnification, and VS1 or VS2 stones are still flawless to anyone's naked eye and show very minor flaws even under magnification. SI1, SI2, and even some SI3 stones are very popular since they appear nearly flawless to the naked eye, and give the buyer the most bang for the buck. If you don't mind some small inclusions and want a larger stone, I1 clarity may be your choice.
How big a diamond should I buy?
The weight of the diamond, measured in carats, determines its size. Although size is the most important of the four Cs in determining the diamond's cost, it has nothing to do with the diamond's beauty. Most people figure one to three month's salary as a good price range for a diamond engagement ring. A diamond in that price will both keep you out of the poor house and delight her!
How should I care for and clean my diamond?
Although diamonds are the hardest substance on earth, they're not immune to damage and still require care and attention. Since diamonds are subject to cleavage, which is how diamond cutters create the facets that make the stones so brilliant, a sharp blow may cause chipping or cracking if the stone is improperly set. You should protect the setting by removing your diamond when you garden or perform household chores that could damage the setting. Exposing the diamond to harsh chemicals or even perspiration can dull the diamond's surface, so periodic cleaning is advised to keep your diamond as brilliant as the day you got it. A soft bristle brush in a solution of alcohol will clean your stone, but periodic ultrasonic cleaning or steaming by a jeweler will remove even those hard to reach places that may reduce your diamond's fire.