- Q?How to buy a diamond-Carat Weight
There is Carat weight. This is the weight of the gem. A Carat has 100 points in it like a dollar has 100 pennies. If someone says they have a 50 point diamond for example, that is a half carat. The term “points” is usually used for weights under one carat. One thing you will notice is that as weight increases, the price does not follow at the same rate. This is because of rarity of the size of the raw gem. Mother nature does not like to provide large raw diamonds to work with.
Here is something to think about. A cut and finished diamond that weighs 1.00ct represents 1 in one million crystals mined in one year and required the removal of approximately 250,000 metric tons of material to be removed to find it.
A 2.00ct diamond represents 1 of five million crystals mined..
- Q?How to buy a diamond – Clarity
The clarity of a diamond is important.
This refers to the number, size, and type of inclusions in a diamond. Inclusions are not a bad thing. These are like birth marks that distinguish one diamond from the next. Let’s start with the bottom end of the scale and work up.
There are the classifications of I1, I2, and I3. In these categories the diamonds have some type of inclusion visible to the naked eye.
The I3 diamond has no clarity and looks like dirty shattered glass. These are very cheap and in my opinion are more suitable for drill bits than jewelry.
The I2 clarity has about half the diamond clear and half included. This looks more like a gem for jewelry but not very good at that.
The I1 diamond has some small inclusion that is visible to the naked eye but not bad. The I1 diamond is the average clarity sold in America.
The clarity of SI1, SI2 and up requires 10x magnification to see any inclusion in the diamond. The SI stands for slightly included meaning too small to see with your eye but large enough to find with magnification. I should mention that all diamond grading is done with 10x magnification. There is no need to use more than this.
A diamond with VS1 or VS2 stands for very slightly included. To the untrained eye these will be hard to find with help from an associate. Any of the diamonds at this level and above increase exponentially in rarity and price.
Next is VVS1 and VVS2 this is very, very slightly included.
If you don’t work with diamonds for a living you probably will not find an inclusion, even with a lot of help. At this level of clarity, even dust on the surface is suspect to inspection. The diamonds that are higher than this in clarity are the stuff of legends.
There is IF that is internally flawless meaning that the crystal itself has no inconsistencies of any type but the surface may have a polish mark or something only diamond professionals would recognize about the cut of the diamond.
Then there is IF; flawless. This says it all.
What does all this mean? In general terms if you see it with your eye its not that good and you may sacrifice to save money. Also with your naked eye you can not see the difference between a VVS, a VS, or a SI clarity diamond. .
- Q?How to buy a diamond – Color
The next term is Color. The diamond color scale starts with the letter “D” and goes on from there.
A “D” color diamond is extremely rare. The colors D, E, and F are generally called colorless, very rare and commanding a good price. The colors G, H, and I are called near colorless. When these colors are compared to a white back ground, they will still look white. This is very good. The colors starting with J and beyond are visibly yellow to the untrained eye. .
- Q?How to buy a diamond – Cut
The cut of the diamond refers to two things.
The first is the shape of the diamond; such as marquise, radiant, round, emerald cut and so on. It also refers to the proportions to which a diamond is cut.
It is these ratios and proportions that determine how well a diamond will take the light that comes in and bounce it around inside and send it out through the top into that prismatic array of colors that makes you go WOW.
A marquise cut can get two dark triangles on each side called a bow tie effect if the cut is a little off in the depth.
The round brilliant cut is the ideal shaped for a diamond but if it is cut so that it is too deep or too shallow it will have no life and you think that looks nice, but it will not grab your attention.
How can you tell if a cut is good? If you are looking in the showcase and say “Wow look at that one” you’re probably right.
How important is the cut? It is 60% of the value of the diamond. .
- Q?How to buy a diamond -Documents
Here is something you may run into but may not understand.
Ask about clarity enhancements. If the diamond is described as “natural” ask if the diamond has been laser drilled. This is an enhancement that does not have to be disclosed because it is obvious. The diamond professional you are working with must tell you if this has been done but only if you ask. The clarity enhanced diamonds are less in price but will also have less trade in value down the road. There are other types of clarity enhancements that involve drilling and fill cavities with an epoxy like substance that makes the diamonds look very good. These types of enhancements must be disclosed before the sale is made.
There is a down side to this type of enhancement. If you need repair work in the future and you do not tell the craftsman that this is an enhanced diamond, the heat from the torch will discolor the epoxy in diamond.
This will not be the responsibility of the craftsman to fix or replace. You too are required to tell anyone working on the jewelry about the enhancement. Many of the companies that enhance diamonds also have a way to repair this problem.
If the diamond has a certification from an independent source, this is nice; it is like a birth certificate. This will cover all aspects of your diamond and show a map of all the different types of inclusions.
There are a number of diamond certification places but the two to look for are GIA and EGL. This is not to be confused with an appraisal. Not all diamonds have this but it is a good feature if it does.