This is my view on the diamond world, and I think most jewelers and gemologists would agree. However, there are opportunities for sellers to make more money by convincing you to put your money in less important factors – so be sure to check the specs of each diamond and know why the diamond is priced the way it is so you choose the right diamond for your unique piece.
I should also let you know I am a very conservative grader when it comes time to choose the right diamond. Gems that have been sent to GIA (Gemological Institute of America) or AGS (American Gem Society) are the best and have the best reputation. I base my grading reports from these organizations. Other certificates (such as EGL and IGI, etc.) require each gem to be taken on their own merit and seen before decided.
GIA developed a grading scheme for diamonds that they named the 4 C’s which stand for clarity, color, cut, and carat. This is my breakdown of the 4 C’s of a diamond:
How clean a stone is from natural inclusions. I don’t like calling them flaws… they are really birthmarks… like small crystals that grow within the gem. Anyway, clarity is way over rated. When it comes time to choose the right diamond, too many people pay way too much for something they’ll never see and are sold VS (very slightly included) or VVS (very very slightly included). Some jewelers will say, ”well, it is even finer and it is a better investment,” I don’t agree with the term investment… you are not buying this to re-sell. They can make more profit on these and it’s not necessary. Thus, I think SI 1 (slightly included) is fine. It is still clean to the naked eye. Some SI2′s are ok if they are borderline SI1. My wife has an SI1, which is very stunning. It’s best to put your money in the other categories.
The whitest diamond is a D (A-B-C does not exist) and as it goes along the alphabet it takes on more and more tinges of yellow. Most people have a difficult time seeing the difference between an E-F or a G-H, which is especially true in a finished setting. When it gets to a K-L or M the color becomes very noticeable. So there is nothing wrong with a G-H-I or even J if budget and size is critical.
The most important factor is the cut. You ask any woman what she wants to see in her diamond, and the reply is “I want to see it sparkle!” That brilliance comes from the cut. There are certain proportions that are going to result in maximum performance. A “hearts and arrows” is a cut that is perfect. I don’t believe in all of the branding names… these demand high premiums when I can achieve the same cut for a lot less. (I refuse to pay for all that marketing such as a “hearts on fire”, etc.). A perfect cut, also called an “ideal” cut will give you the most brilliance and when buying a diamond that you want to “sparkle”, I suggest getting as close to an ideal as possible. You definitely pay more for a well-cut stone… (A poor cut is greatly discounted)… the cut or brilliance is something you see everyday!
Spend your money where it matters – cut. By budgeting more money towards the cut of a stone, you will choose the right diamond, one that looks bigger and sparkles more, no matter the setting!
Cost and Carat
I have several diamond brokers that I’ve dealt with for years. If I need a perfect hearts & arrows cut then I work with a dealer that specializes in Belgium cuts and has the same philosophy as mine of using SI1-2 (many other jewelers only offer perfect cuts in high VS+ clarity). Or, if a customer is interested in a diamond from North America then I have an exclusive contract with a Canadian source to obtain diamonds mined, cut and polished in the Northwest Territories, Canada.
How Much Do Diamonds Cost?
An approximate price guide (remember – 100 points equal 1 carat… so just like a dollar is divided, a 1/2ct is .50 points a 3/4ct is .75 points, etc.) depending on each variable.*
- 1/4 ct. (.23ct. – .27ct.) $550 – $700
- 1/3 ct. (.30ct. – .36ct.) $800 – $1,400
- 1/2 ct. (.48ct. – .55ct.) $1,700 – $2,000
- 3/4 ct. (.70ct – .78ct) $3,500 – $4,300
- 1ct. (1.00 – 1.09ct) $5,600 – $6,800
*As size goes up price goes up exponentially! Price ranges updated April 2016
I also don’t believe you have to have the biggest or the best. I am a firm believer in designing around the gem I have to work with to make a unique and beautiful ring that results in something that is appreciated and admired. Thus, when working within a budget, my reasoning must be practical when picking out the featured diamond. This allows me to create the highest quality work of art that will be treasured for generations. I work closely with every client and piece of jewelry as if I were making it for my family.
I hope this information on how to choose the right diamond is helpful, and encourage you to ask questions and leave comments. If you are interested in reviewing gemstones or designs, feel free to contact me at 518-587-6422 or email [email protected] to arrange a consultation. To learn more about the GIA diamond grading scheme, visit http://www.gia.edu/diamond-quality-factor.
© Dennis deJonghe