GEMS How to Save Money On a Diamond
5 Minute Read
Nowadays diamond prices show up on the internet promising to find you the "best deal". It can be tough to know what aspects of a diamond are worth putting your money into. Color. Clarity. Carat. Cut. So many C's to keep track of and each one has a unique and in-depth description of them. So are there ways to utilize the 4 C's to save money on a diamond?
Diamond shopping isn't exactly like bargain hunting; everyone loves a good deal but it is important to keep in mind when shopping that not everyone is looking for the same thing. Each individual is going to have a personal preference when it comes to what they value and want to place money into. Here are a few things to consider when shopping for a diamond and potential ways to save money.
First things first, cut. The cut of the diamond not only pertains to the shape (ie. round brilliant, cushion, radiant) but it also has to do with how well the diamond cutter was at fashioning the diamond. This is the only aspect that we humans have control over and the cut quality typically represents over 50% of the price of the diamond. This aspect is often overlooked when shopping for a diamond online. So much effort is put into exploring the carat weight, clarity, and color, that consumers overlook the cut of the diamond. The only diamond shape that will receive a cut grade is the round brilliant. This is because the round brilliant is the only diamond shape with definitive dimensions that are desirable….as round as possible.
The other diamond shapes have some variance when it comes to shape. For example, you can have a long, narrow oval, or you can have a more rounded out oval. Both are ovals and both have a place in the market. So, when evaluating cuts for non-round brilliant diamonds, take a look at the symmetry and polish. It is obvious that most people will opt for that "excellent" or "ideal" polish and symmetry, but sometimes consumers cannot tell the difference between the two. This is an aspect that can drastically affect the price of the diamond. If you cannot tell a difference in sparkle or "symmetry" between two diamonds, you can save a bit of money by choosing the "very good" (or similar grading if using a different scale) over the "excellent".
A second way to save money is going to be the carat weight of a diamond. It is very common for individuals to have a certain "number" in mind when shopping for a diamond. Numbers like 1- carat or 1.5-carats are very sought-after carat weights, and therefore demand a premium on price. So, one way to save a little money is to opt for a diamond that weighs slightly less than those high-demand weights. It is important to remember that the "carat" is strictly a weight measurement. Oftentimes, the difference between a .95 carat diamond and a 1.01-carat diamond is only less than a millimeter. Those few fractions of a millimeter may not really be worth shelling out extra money for when it is almost impossible to tell a difference.
Another grading aspect of a diamond that often gets a lot of attention is the clarity grade. With songs and shows always talking about "VVS" or "flawless", it is very easy to get caught up with clarity. The reality of clarity is that almost all diamonds are going to have some sort of characteristics in them; this is part of their unique footprint and a way to identify which diamond is yours. It is also important to remember that the clarity grading is done in a lab, under good lighting, and with a zoom of 10x magnification. When you put it into perspective, you can imagine many things would look much different if they were under a 10x zoom. With this in mind, opt for an SI1 or "eye clean" SI2 to save a little money. If you want to save even more, sometimes you can find a diamond graded at an I1 but the inclusion is off to the side, potentially difficult to see under all of the sparkle or even has the potential to be covered up with a prong. Be honest with your sales associate and let them know that you're willing to look at the SI and even I1 range. See if you notice any inclusions - you may not be able to see a difference and that will save you some money!
The last aspect to look at that can help you save some money on a diamond is the color. Color on a diamond is actually graded face down because all of the facets up top give so much sparkle that it can be difficult to determine the color in the diamond face up. With this in mind, first, take a look at the metal color of your ring or piece of jewelry: If you have a yellow or rose gold mounting, opt for a diamond in the "near-colorless" to "light tint" rather than a colorless diamond. Colorless diamonds are much more expensive because of their rarity and all diamonds tend to pull in color from their surroundings. So, spending extra money on a colorless diamond but setting it in a yellow gold mounting may not be the best choice because the diamond will pull in the warmth of the yellow gold anyway. If opting for a white gold or platinum mounting, choosing a diamond in the near-colorless range to save a bit of money can also be a great idea. The differences between color can be so subtle but the price difference between an H-colored diamond and an E-colored diamond can be so large that the slightest tinge of warmth in the diamond may be worth it to save money.
Trying to find ways to save money on a diamond may seem impossible but it isn't. You can still get a fantastic ring and diamond using some of the tips outlined above. If working with a sales associate or helper, be honest about your budget and let them know you'd love their help trying to utilize some of these money-saving tips. If you have never looked at diamonds before, take some time and try to see a range of colors and clarities if possible. The differences in color, clarity, and carat may seem so large on paper, but they can actually be very minute. Be realistic about what really matters to you and your partner, and go from there!
Katy Tezak is a Diamond Graduate from the Gemological Institute of America and a diamond and engagement specialist. She loves educating the consumer about all things diamond and helps them create anything from their dream engagement ring to everyday one of a kind jewelry.
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