Shopping for diamonds is a ‘once in a lifetime thing’ for most of us. There are so many interesting things to know about diamonds but getting a good education to learn how to buy a quality diamond takes a considerable investment of your time. So here is a quick checklist to ensure you get the best quality for your dollars.
Checklist #1: Find a good reputable Jeweler.
Much like how you would not entrust your health to a quack doctor, do not invest your time and money with a shady jeweler. Like good doctors, all reputable jewelers are certified by various bodies such as GIA (Gemological Institute of America), AGS (American Gemological Society) etc and will belong to various diamond industry trade associations.
Checklist #2: Certified diamonds
Always look for diamonds that are certified by known laboratories (preferably GIA or AGS) and are accompanied by a document report grading the diamond. Certifications by unknown labs are usually not trust worthy and their grading will not be consistent. Also learn differentiate between appraisals which such as G.G (GIA Gemologist) which is made by a graduate of GIA and GIA GTL (Gem Trade Lab) which is made by the actual GIA Lab.
Checklist # 3: Learn your basic 4Cs
The four Cs are Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat. All diamonds are graded based on these four criteria. Knowing them will help you decide on the quality of the diamond you want and also help you decipher the document report of the diamonds. Remember if you want a quality diamond you should stick to high grades on all the 4Cs however if you are okay with a diamond that ‘looks’ high quality then you can downgrade a step or two in the clarity, color and carat without getting discernable reduction in quality appearance wise.
Checklist # 4: Get them Loose
If you want to ensure that you get the best quality, loose diamonds are the way go. They are not only cheaper, allowing you to upgrade to higher quality but they can be more precisely appraised by your independent appraiser.
Checklist # 5: Use TIA
I mean use a Truly Independent Appraiser (not the- This Is Africa TIA). Always get your diamond appraised and do not use an in-house appraiser or use a recommended appraiser rather you should choose your own.
What you also need to remember is that a truly independent appraiser should not be selling anything to you nor making recommendations.
Checklist # 6: Say ‘I’ll be back’
Treated diamonds are difficult to spot for a novice, however if you use an independent appraiser (as recommend in checklist # 5) they will catch it pretty easily. However you could be stuck with a buying a low quality diamond if you didn’t check for a return policy. Make sure that your jeweler does have one and you understand the terms clearly or you wont be able to ‘go back’ to return it.
I know, it is a long check list, but diamonds are forever and if you want to buy a quality diamond that’s a small price to pay for something that will never depreciate nor lose its beautiful allure with time.