How To Buy A Diamond
Larger diamonds are found relatively infrequently in nature. What also makes a bigger diamond so desirable is that it shows off a stone's fine color and cut, and therefore it's brilliance, to it's best advantage.
A diamond's size is measured in carat weight, and each carat is equal to 100 points. A .75 carat diamond is the same as a 75-point diamond or a 3/4 carat stone.
While larger diamonds are highly prized, diamonds of equal size may vary widely in value and brilliance, depending on their qualities of clarity, cut and color.
Virtually all natural diamonds contain identifying characteristics, yet many are invisible to the naked eye. Under the scrutiny of a jeweler's 10x-magnifying loupe or microscope, natural phenomena -- called inclusions -- may be seen. These are nature's birthmarks, and they may look like tiny crystals, clouds, or feathers.
Diamonds categorized as internally flawless reveal no such inclusions. Flawless stones are at the top of the diamond quality scale and are treasured for their rarity and beauty. Diamonds with very, very small inclusions are graded as V V S 1 or V V S 2. This quality level would contain inclusions very difficult for a trained eye to find under magnification. Diamonds with very small inclusions are graded as V S 1 or V S 2. This quality level would contain inclusions difficult for a trained eye to find under magnification. Diamonds with small inclusions are graded as S I 1, S I 2 or S I 3. This quality level would contain inclusions somewhat easy to for a trained eye to find under magnification. The S I 2 and S I 3 levels might contain inclusions visible from the underside of the diamond, but not in the face up position. Diamonds with inclusions very easy to see under magnification are grades as I 1, I 2 or I 3. This quality level may also contain inclusions visible to the trained eye in the face up position.
The number, color, type, size and position of surface and internal birthmarks affect a diamond's value. Major inclusions can interfere with the path of light that travels through a diamond, diminishing its brilliance and sparkle and therefore its value.
Diamonds are graded by color, starting at D and continuing through the alphabet. Truly colorless stones, graded D, treasured for their rarity and value, are highest on the diamond color scale.
While many diamonds appear colorless, they may actually have subtle yellow or brown tones. Although still beautiful, they will be less rare and therefore less valuable. To appreciate the simple beauty of each individual stone, you should compare diamonds side by side with a jeweler.
"Fancy" diamonds -- in well defined colors that include red, pink, blue, green and canary yellow -- are highly prized and particularly rare.
A well cut or faceted diamond, regardless of its shape, scintillates with fire and light -- offering the greatest brilliance and value.
While nature determines a diamond's clarity, carat weight and color, the hand of a master craftsman is necessary to release it's fire, sparkle and beauty. When a diamond is cut to good proportions (1), light will reflect from one mirror-like facet to another and disperse through the top of the stone, resulting in a display of brilliance and fire.
Diamonds that are cut too deep (2) or too shallow (3) lose light that spills through the side or bottom. As a result, poorly cut stones will be less brilliant and beautiful -- and certainly less valuable -- than well cut diamonds higher on the diamond quality scale.
A jeweler who is a diamond expert can help you select the right stone. Trustworthy jewelers, who establish long-standing relationships with customers, take pride in finding quality diamonds for them. These experts are knowledgeable and accessible and they are able to explain the 4Cs, as well as show you a selection of diamonds in a range of prices.
While all diamonds are beautiful, only by comparing stones will you be able to appreciate what makes one more rare and valuable than another. When you view stones side by side, you will understand why diamonds that look similar at a casual glance are priced differently. Keep in mind that there are no "bargain" diamonds; there are only diamonds of different value, weight and brilliance.